The recent plague of Iowa’s winter has brought forth several “snow days”. I have reflected on some of the things I loved as a kid.
Back in the not so distant past. I loved snow days. A day when you didn’t have to go to school. A day for sledding. Getting super cold, followed by blankets and hot cocoa. Always better when you’re a kid.
It was on one of these precious days, my son asked me, “Would I make him a Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich”. — He is 17 — insert eye roll emoji. Well, instead of being exasperated by such a “trivial” request, I proceeded to make the sandwich. I asked him, “What kind of bread?”. He responded, “Wheat.” I asked him, “Crunchy or Creamy Peanut Butter?”. He responded, “Creamy.”. I asked him, “Grape or Strawberry Jelly?”. He responded, “Grape.”. Then, he added my favorite phrase, “Please and Thank you.”
On a regular basis, I preach “preperation”. I want my children to be able to sustain themselves when they join the “Big, Bad World”. So, why did I fulfill this simple task? One that easily could have been accomplished by the 17 year old? There are a couple reasons. Firstly, “My Baby Boy” will be leaving the nest in a very short, fast flying, year and a half. He won’t physically be here to make such a request. I won’t have the opportunity to spoil him with the “simple things”.
Secondly, I envisioned myself requesting such things from my Mom. Most of the time it was when I would walk past her, sitting at the kitchen counter. Eating something she had prepared for herself. Complementing and asking all in the same phrase – “That smells so good! May I have a bite?” Or, she would have made herself, what my children affectionately refer to as “peanut butter toast” (She always used “Just the right amount of PB). I can vividly remember her expression. The “You are 17 years old and you are still asking for bites of MY food!” (Insert eye roll emoji). She always, always gave me a bite. More often than not, she would offer to make me my own. Which, of course, I would accept her offer. Everything was always better when my mom made it.
As I delivered the PB&J to my son, who was reclining on the couch. Before, I handed over the requested sandwich. I told him the whole back story. “Because food was always better when my Mom made it for me.” He rolled his eyes at me as my voice cracked, and a tear threatened to trace my cheek. With a genuine smile he said, “Thanks Mom”.
I didn’t make him a sandwich. I made two.