My husband is off partaking in the Saint Patrick’s Day festivities in New York City tonight. That means earlier this evening I was on my own to do dinner and the bedtime routine. The tail-end of my already long day.
I worked until 6:30 tonight. I’m in a really busy period right now, so it couldn’t be avoided. (Besides, my mother, who normally comes on Thursdays, was unable to sit today so I had taken some time to do Mommy and Me earlier in the day. I had to make up for lost hours.)
Okay, so I finish work, come downstairs, and it hits me. What am I feeding these kids? I decide to go over to Trader Joe’s and pick up a few things I need, hoping for inspiration. The whole drive over I hear my mother’s voice in my head telling me how horrible I am for not feeding “those poor girls” at 6 p.m., the time “normal people eat.”
I go into the store, pick up some stuff I am out of, and grab some fresh turkey for dinner. The whole time the kids are bouncing off the walls. Laughing, making noise, acting up. By then, I’m physically exhausted. Honestly? I just want to lie down in the aisle and go to sleep. But I don’t. I am Mommy. I get my bags to the car, strap both kids in (Big Girl has trouble with the seat belt/booster in my husband’s car, which I am driving — long story), and I start home. I make the right on to Merrick Road out of the parking lot, and Big Girl pipes up from the backseat: “How come the worst food stores in the world are so close to the best food store in the world?” Pausing for a moment to take the statement in, I notice that there are indeed two “bad” fast food chains somewhat adjacent to TJ’s. And then I am surprised to find myself thinking how easy my life would be at that moment if I could just make another right, go through the drive-up, order a bunch of crap, and let them eat it. I could be done for the night in less than ten minutes.
The thought was fleeting, of course. No, instead I drove the kids home, warmed up the turkey, broke out some baby spinach, organic green apples (with sunflower seed butter because they wanted to dip the apples into it), some bread, two cups of yogurt, and some cheese.
It wasn’t fancy, but they ate it all, asking for seconds. Even the little one. As they finished, I read them a story — the third book in the Boxcar Children series — and we went upstairs to get ready for bed. Upstairs, I washed Little Girl’s face and hands, did the toilet stuff, got her ready for bed, read Pinkalicious for the hundredth time since Saturday, and put her into bed. Big Girl handled her own bedtime routine, and soon she was ensconced in her bed, too.
And as I sit here, my body even more tired after writing a story and a half, and talking on the phone to three friends, I completely and totally get why people choose fast food over a home-cooked (or in my case, home-warmed and home-assembled) meal. Because it is, at least physically, a LOT easier to drive up to a window, hand over a little cash, and be done.
It’s exactly why, on Friday nights when my mom worked until 8, we got Subway or McDonald’s or Burger King. (Yes, as a kid I used to polish off a Big Mac.) She was done. We needed to be fed. Easy-peasy. On the other hand, I realize that it wasn’t THAT much trouble to pull together a dinner that was comprised of healthy protein, leafy green vegetables, fruit, and carbs — almost all of which was organic. Still, just wanted to let everyone know that I get it. I really do. Oh, and that after going it alone last Friday and Saturday (hubby was skiing), Tuesday (hubby was at an Islanders-Rangers game), and tonight I have one thing to say: tomorrow my husband is taking care of dinner.
This post is how I am participating this week in Real Food Wednesdays and Fight Back Fridays — two awesome campaigns to get people eating real food again.