I wasn’t in time for the official challenge, partly because I didn’t learn about it until after it ended, and also because, since Jim’s accident, I’ve been shuttling between the hospital, caring for the children, and hometending. I’ve been getting in a bit of writing as relaxation and anti-anxiety therapy all week, but that’s been limited to things I already had at least somewhat in the works…..
Since I enjoyed this so much, I am going to link back to the original challenge, which was here at Chuck Wendig’s Terrible Minds blog:
You have up to 1000 words to write a story — not a scene, but a story — where a character makes a sandwich. Any kind of character, any kind of sandwich, but the point is to infuse this seemingly mundane act with the magic story-stuff of drama and conflict. Make it the most interesting “person-making-a-sandwich” story you can possibly make it.
Life in the Sandwiches
Written by Shan Jeniah Burton copyright 2012
“Mommy, will you make me a PBJ?”
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been asked that question. If you factor in the variations, like peanut butter and honey, or peanut butter and Nutella, or peanut butter and banana, it might number into the thousands.
There was a time, not so very long ago, when my response would have been, “No! We’re having dinner soon.” Or, maybe even worse, “You know how, and you’re not doing anything, so make it yourself.”
I never thought anything at all about it – I mean, I was justified, wasn’t I? I am a busy mom. I work part-time. I homeschool full time. I take care of husband and kids and pets and home and bills and appointments and lessons and and and…
Besides, everyone knows that you can’t just give kids what they want, else they’ll turn into spoiled brats.
So Adam and Lexie learned that I was not going to make them any sandwiches, as I said, “until I am damned good and ready.”
They knew, before they were 4 and 5, that, when I did make a sandwich, I was not taking special orders. I taught them that with the standard mom line, and was proud of not being a short-order cook.
I was raising good and respectful kids, and that meant I was doing a good job at being a mom. They made their own sandwiches, and I made sure (with the threat that they would lose their TV privileges if they didn’t), that they cleaned up any and all sticky messes, before they ate. I supervised until they used just the approved amount of condiments, and never more.
Then, one afternoon a few months ago, while I was reading a magazine in the breakfast nook and having a cup of coffee, they came quietly into the room, and began making sandwiches together, meticulously following all the procedures I had laid out when they were small, even though they’re 13 and 14, now, and bigger than me.
They were teasing each other as they worked, and racing to see who could finish the process first.
I watched them a moment, and felt suddenly alone, and left behind in their growing up. I had an almost desperate need for them to notice and include me.
“Hey, guys, will you make me one?”
Two sets of flashing green eyes settled on me, and I could see the satisfaction in those eyes as they said, in perfect sing-song unison, “You know how, and you’re not doing anything, so make it yourself.”
Our lives changed that day, when I first heard it with the ugliness they had, for all those years I denied their simple bids for my affection, in the form of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
Since then, I’ve made it a point to bring them food when I think they’ll be hungry, no matter how close to dinnertime it may be. And I make sure it’s food they will enjoy, no matter my opinion of it.
I bring the food and set it before them without a word. It’s a kind of atonement, although I know I can never recapture those days when they really needed me for that, and I wasn’t there.
And, today, Lexie came up to me and rested her head briefly on my shoulder.
“I’m hungry, Mom. Want a sandwich?”
With tears in my eyes, I told her. “Yes. Let’s make them together, and surprise Adam.”
And as we put together a plate heaped with sandwiches, chips, fruit, and vegetables, laughing and getting in each other’s way in the smallness of the kitchen, I finally realized that, in denying them, I had been starving myself.
- Easy PBC- Peanut Butter, Chiquita Banana And Chocolate Sandwich Recipe (chiquitabananas.com)
- Moist Ultimate Chiquita Banana Sandwich Recipe (chiquitabananas.com)
- Food | Peanut Butter and Banana Sushi (style-love-repeat.com)
- Peanut Butter & Jelly Muffins Recipe (forthemommas.com)
- Silly Sandwich “(w)rap” (ourpoetrycorner.wordpress.com)