“So, Mom, I’m wondering what we’ll have for my birthday dinner?”
Thinking to myself: Get real. After the time and work involved in getting your present, hiding your present, catering this and that for the school end of year parties, planning your party… there is NO SPECIAL DINNER!!!
In my calmest voice possible I say, “Well sweetie. There will be pizza at your birthday party. Remember?’
“Well, that’s not actually on my birthday. That’s the day before.”
“Hmmm,” I say biting my tongue.
“I think you should make fried chicken; you know, your Mom’s recipe. Then, for a side dish, ravioli with cheese.”
I am flattered he likes the recipe. Despite the frazzleness of these last days of school, I am amazed that he thinks that’s all I’m really thinking about is how to make his birthday dinner spectacular.
Still, we’ll probably order pizza tonight. There is no time today, on this last day of school, for frying chickens. We need quiet, unrushed, unhurried time, to sit and enjoy the space we occupy together with, and feel a bit free and bored. When he was 4, I was a much more naive Mom, and I would have fried the chicken; and be frazzled. Now, that he’s 11, I am much more experienced and perhaps a bit lazy. Lazy can be a good thing if it keeps you sane.
He’s already mastered no-bake cookies. A better gift, I see as I’m writing this, is to teach him my Mom’s recipe (actually my Mom’s technique, but the secret spices are those I added from an evil stepmother my Dad married after my parents divorced. She was so evil, she once stole my pillow.) and fry it with him. I’ll clear a day, and space in my kitchen to spend time with him to teach him this master recipe. Now that is the ideal birthday present for a witty boy, who just turned 11.