Something to look forward to
“It’s going to be just the two of us,” I said to the boy. My wife was taking the girl to visit two college campuses over the weekend, so we were on our own.
The boy thought for a moment, then asked, “What are we going to eat?”
He was not asking this question out of a fear of starving because there would be no mother to cook for him. I cook often enough that he knows I am perfectly capable of preparing a meal. “What are we going to eat?” is one of his favorite questions. He will often ask, “What’s for supper?” before he leaves for school in the morning. Sometimes he will come in and ask the question before anyone but he is out of bed.
“Don’t you dare ask that question unless you have a cup of coffee in your hand,” is my wife’s response. I just pull the blanket over my head.
For a while, I was concerned that the boy was becoming a little neurotic about food. He’s never really gone hungry. There is always plenty to eat. So, I asked him why he always wanted to know what was for dinner. “It’s not like you’re going to go somewhere else if you don’t like the menu,” I said.
“I just like having something to look forward to,” he explained.
I had never thought of it in that light. Supper gave him something to look forward to all day long. When one of the mean girls at school is making fun of his lack of fashion sense, he can ignore her and think, “I can get through this because we are having pork chops for supper.” When he’s getting threatened with detention because he did not notice the plastic bag static electricity had stuck to the arm of his coat, he can think, “It’s no big deal, Mom and I are making focaccia pizzas when I get home.” When he realizes he’s forgotten to study for a test, all he has to do is remember he will be eating hamburgers in a few short hours. If you know what you’re having for supper, there is always something to look forward to.
My wife did put her foot down one night when the boy was still clearing the supper dishes and asked, “What’s for supper tomorrow night?”
“Give me a break,” she said. “We’ve hardly finished eating tonight’s supper.”
“Sorry,” he said, “how long do I have to wait to ask?”
“I guess we can have take and bake pizza all weekend,” I joked in response to the boy’s question about what we would eat on our weekend of man time.
“Can you grill something?” he asked.
“Sure, if the weather is warm enough,” I said, starting to feel a little less sad about the ladies being gone for a whole weekend. I always feel lonely when my wife is gone, but at least I could look forward to burgers on the grill.
I have been a priest for 16 years. I spent the first four years in Minnesota and Wisconsin, six years on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, before becoming the pastor at Advent Episcopal Church in Westlake in 2010. If anyone would find it interesting I have a son and daughter, which I refer to as a matched set, a wife, a dog, and a cat.