Cabin Fever

I’m not going to be that mom who complains about having her kids home for snow days. I’m not going to mention how they start the day getting along and doing for each other and, by lunchtime, it’s like we’re in a psychological experiment to see how long it takes to break the human spirit. I half expect to stumble upon scientists in lab coats making notes on clipboards as they watch us through two-way mirrors.

 

It would do no good to describe the piles of wet, snow-crusted clothes and gloves and boots and scarves sitting in puddles all over the house from their 15-minute excursions outside. And I’m too big a person to dwell on the stacks of dirty dishes and glasses from them eating all day long. I mean, I want my babies to eat, preferably something with vitamins since we’re on the road to contracting rickets with all these consecutive days indoors without sunshine. These kids are just so precious, even if their baked-on oatmeal bowls and microwave popcorn bags are not.

 

I refuse to speak of how difficult it is to get anything done around here. Each time I sit down to work on the laptop or fold laundry (while watching TV alone), someone is in my room asking me to make a quesadilla or drive them to a snowy hill or asking me for the 100th time if I think school will be cancelled again tomorrow.

 

At some point of nearly every Facebook post about kids home for these snow days, you see something related to eating: hot cocoa or snow cream mostly. But my snow day snack of choice is less adorable. The idea of going back to the post-apocalyptic experience that is the grocery store is truly abhorrent to me. Instead, I head to the kitchen pantry and take out every chip or cracker bag with a handful of half-bites left at the bottom and eat them like a hungry squirrel storing away food for the rest of winter. I rifle through the Halloween candy and re-evaluate the rejects: Maybe I don’t hate Whoppers as much I remember? Would a chocolate Laffy Taffy really be that bad?

 

No. You won’t hear this mom complain about snow days because I am trying to see these days as opportunities. A chance to snuggle with my African-born son who needs extra hugs to warm up. A chance to observe my twin daughters watch TV and laugh instead of studying and running around to all their various high school activities. A chance to hang out with my nearly teenaged son as we cook together and play games.

 

I know I shouldn’t complain because what I’ve received this last week would be a gift to working parents who would love to spend time with their kids instead of skidding their way to work. So I’ll just say that I have (mostly) loved these snow days, but I’m truly grateful for sunshine.

Birthday Wishes

Per our family’s tradition, I asked our soon-to-be 7-year old son where/what he wanted to eat for his birthday. With our other kids, they’ve picked special home cooked meals with elaborate desserts or Chinese buffets followed up with frozen yogurt sundaes. It’s their once-a-year chance to make the family’s dinner plans without any input from siblings. (Disclaimer: Our daughters have actually made their choice together. It’s one of the unfortunate side effects of being twins.)

 

So I asked our youngest what he would pick. He thought for a moment and said, “Where is the place we eat in the morning when we drive to Mimi’s house (Knoxville)?”

 

“McDonald’s?”

 

“Yes. That is what I want for breakfast.”

 

“Okay.”

 

“And where is the place where you can walk up to get a hamburger? It is close to church.”

 

“Burger King?”

 

“Yes. You never take me there. I want to eat there for lunch.”

 

“Okay. I bet you have a plan for supper. What do you think?”

 

“I want to eat at the taco place.”

 

Now we’re talking, I think. Please pick Chuy’s. Please pick Chuy’s. Please pick Chuy’s.

 

But he further explained, “The taco place with the bell on the sign. You never take me there either.”

 

“Taco Bell?”

 

“Yes!” He answered excitedly, “That is where I want to eat supper!”

 

It promises to be a day full of indigestion! I thought.

 

His choices reveal a limited understanding. Picking three fast food meals when we’ve offered him all that’s available seems foolish. I know part of the appeal of his choices is that they appear somehow forbidden. These are the places mom refuses to bring him so they must be something extra special. I’m assuming that one day he’ll understand there’s food more remarkable than Egg McMuffins, Whoppers, and Taco Bell Grandes.

 

I wonder if this is sometimes how it looks to God when we pray. We have no idea the glorious riches He wants to offer us. When Jesus instructed his disciples how to pray, He reminded them that “your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!”

 

As a part of my New Year’s resolution to pray more, I’m going to try to remember to leave room for God’s plan in my petitions. I’m going to ask Him to meet my needs and consider my wants, but I’m going to add a default clause that goes something like this: “But You, Lord, are wiser and know better than me, so feel free to alter anything I just said.” Amen.