Cole has been feeling under the weather this week, so he has stayed close to home and had tea and lots of sympathy.
The other day as the dinner hour approached, I asked my ailing son what he would like for dinner. I was open to all suggestions that would taste good to him. I’m a good mother that way—ok, I hadn’t planned a thing for dinner, but I was willing to fix dinner and that has to count for something. Cole was undecided. I suggested our usual comfort foods that include soup, a baked potato, a grilled cheese sandwich, or eggs, but my suggestions were not met with any enthusiasm. I asked him if he wanted Mexican food, Chinese food or pasta. Still no enthusiasm. So I gave it some thought and said, “What about ice cream?”
A flicker of sparkle entered the boy’s eyes and he immediately agreed to ice cream. We made a quick ice cream run to our favorite ice cream parlor, where he chose a strawberry shake to drink and some strawberry ice cream to bring home.
I know that ice cream is not a proper dinner…but when you feel icky, who cares about proper, right? I patted myself on the back for being flexible and coming up with an idea that gave Cole a reasonably healthy dinner and was soothing to his throat. Ice cream is a reasonably healthy dinner. Ask anyone. Ok. Don’t ask my sweet mother, but ask anyone else. Ok. Don’t ask anyone else; just believe me. My dinner problem was solved.
About two hours later, Cole came in and asked me what we were having for dinner. DINNER?? I told him he had already eaten dinner. He seemed confused, and I reminded him about the shake and ice cream he had devoured. “But Mom,” my teen wailed, “I didn’t think that was dinner. What kind of mom thinks ice cream is dinner?” Trying to remain reasonable and not reach out and shake him to death (remember those “don’t shake the baby commercials” back in the ‘90s? They really must have made an impression on me), I reminded him that I had offered to make him dinner but nothing had sounded good to him except ice cream. It was now 8 p.m. and I was out of dinner ideas. “Mom,” Cole whined, “I can’t believe we are having this conversation. Moms don’t feed their kids ice cream for dinner.” Losing patience, I snapped, “Ice cream is a dairy product, and dairy is one of the food groups. Your shake had a cookie, which falls in the grain food group.” Then my kid started to cough, and his nose looked raw and miserable…and was it my imagination, or did he look weaker than he had two hours before? Damn. Joe would have made him homemade soup, buttered bread and sweet tea for dinner. Bastard.
FINE. I told him I would order a sandwich from Jimmy John’s for him and make sweet tea. He smiled weakly and said that sounded good.
The next night, while we were eating a meal that included a vegetable for dinner, Cole looked at me and said, “When I have kids I’m going to tell them, ‘Hey, eat your broccoli and be glad for it, ‘cause when I was kid I had to eat ice cream for dinner.’”
Mom, please remove the curse. God please give me strength.