We just got home from an afternoon of errands. New shoes for the child whose feet I swear needed new shoes a month ago, pet supplies, orthodontist for a new retainer and then Target where I almost managed to only get laundry detergent.
I am sitting still and mindlessly scrolling through my phone like I’ve dreamt of doing since about 10 am this morning. My youngest child, the one who can’t yet reach the microwave, has come to sit on my arm, majorly reducing my phone-scrolling speed. He’s hungry, he says. “Staaaaaaarving,” he tells me with a dramatic head on my shoulder.
About to ask him how he could already be hungry after his giant Target hot pretzel, I glance at the time on my phone. It’s 5:30, darn it! He’s hungry because it’s dinnertime and instead of five minutes of luxurious sitting I should be playing 20 questions with every child in the family to see what they will eat.
I know, I know. I’m supposed to just cook one meal and eventually they will eat it. Only they won’t. And then my two children who would be perfectly happy with a diet that is 95 percent sugar will head back and forth to the cereal and snack cupboards all evening, fulfilling the appetite they didn’t fill with the dinner I wasted time cooking.
It’s funny how you can do something for years and years and yet still forget, several times a week, that you need to do it again. Maybe being a short order cook every evening is a memory my mind tries to regularly repress.
“What’s for dinner?” It isn’t just a question that the kids ask me. It’s a question I ask myself sometimes when nothing comes immediately to mind.
Regardless of what my mind tries to block out I rub my little guy’s head as it rests on my shoulder and ask him what option he wants of the two he will eat these days. I hand him my phone so he can try level 297 of Candy Crush and call up the stairs to my preteens who are actively ignoring me in favor of making TikTok videos.
It’s time for me to feed these people again. I can’t forget it’s my job any longer. At least not until 5pm tomorrow rolls around again and the kids ask me what I’m making for dinner.