For many years, I traveled for work and my kids and family were troopers. They dealt with me being gone for days at a time and often I worked 16-18 hour days while I would fly across states to teach or conduct meetings and come back. I was on a plane every week at least twice. As you can imagine, this was quite a juggling act as a single Mom and looking back on those years, I can’t believe we pulled it off. Every so often, I had a complete failure and this story is one of them.
It was 9 PM on a school night and I had just picked up my then pre-school girl and 1st grade boy from my Mom’s house after a long trip away for work. We were heading home when I had a sudden moment of bad-mom panic. Tomorrow is HERITAGE DAY at school, I remembered. A wave of fear flashed over my body as I vaguely recalled the memo that suggested we research our family’s heritage and create a dish to bring to school to share. And your child would present the dish to the class with a speech about his heritage. The memo gave no direct menu suggestions but I imagined all the lovely Mommies chopping vegetables for Borscht, pressing corn for tortillas or melting chocolate for a French pastry. A moment of perfect togetherness whilst simultaneously enforcing lineage and traditions. Making memories to last a lifetime….
It was just as we were driving past United Liquors as I had this thought and you know what comes next.
I pulled over.
So my 4-year-old and 6-year-old perused the shelves of our local liquor store with their haggard mother trying to determine what off these shelves could pass for a representation of our heritage? Certainly I couldn’t bring in alcohol (when, in fact, that probably would be the best representation of our heritage). What else is there at liquor stores? Beef jerky. Chips. Ice Cream. Gum. Cigarettes.
The next day, my son attended his first grade Heritage Day with 4 boxes of Pop Tarts and gave a short speech about how Pop Tarts are a part of his heritage because whenever he or his Sister get sick, they are allowed to eat Pop Tarts.
We are all “damaging” our kids in ways they will most certainly blame us for later. We don’t know exactly how the scars will be made. One friend puts all her loose change in a therapy jar, for future use. The current, ongoing complaint about me is my cooking and that my solutions are (predictably):
A) Put some Barbeque Sauce on it
B) Why don’t YOU cook dinner
But that, dear readers, is not a real problem in life. My kids will survive having a Mom that is a shitty cook. They are surrounded by love and well taken care of.
And the truth is, those kids loved the Pop Tarts. Better than the Borscht.