Liar Liar

“Mama! Guess what? I had hot lunch today!”

I gritted my teeth as Joseph bounced into the car. After seeing what the hot lunches consist of, I’m not too fond of Joseph getting his mid day meal from the cafeteria line.

Gone are the days when I was in school and the lunch ladies gathered hours before school started and began rolling out crust for apple pies and mixing dough for cookies with real butter rather than shortening. Now, it’s more or less airplane food.

Or at least what airplane food used to be before they stopped serving complimentary in flight meals. But that’s another issue.

“You would be so proud of me,” Joseph continued. “I got extra green beans, no dessert, and white milk instead of chocolate.”

“Wow! I am proud of you!” I couldn’t help but be impressed that he chose at least one item not saturated in sodium and sugar.

“I was going to get the salad bar but there weren’t any croutons and I can’t eat a salad without crunch.”

“I’m so proud that you even thought about it. It makes me feel like a good mom when you make healthy choices. I think you’re listening to me.”

“I do,” he said. “I know there’s too much sugar in chocolate milk and it should be a special treat. But Jason got it instead of white milk.”

“That’s for Jason’s mommy to talk to him about.”

A half hour later, I stood in front of the stove, putting the finishing touches on dinner.

“Mama?” I looked up as Joseph walked up to me, his face pale and his eyes teary.

“What’s wrong, baby?”

“I lied,” he whispered, his expression agony.

“Oh honey.”

“I got the chocolate milk,” he confessed, looking down at his feet. “I’m so sorry I lied!”

I struggled not to laugh. What torture it must have been to listen to me rave about what a good job he’d done. “Thank you for telling me the truth,” I said solemnly. “It’s hard to tell the truth after a lie.”

“I’ll make better choices next time.”

I’m sure he will.