Wednesday, June 30, 2010
A week or so ago Mister stepped through a portal, leaving the land of Agreeable Compliance to someplace less convenient to reach. Now every mealtime is fraught with crossed arms, pouting and reminders, “Remember, Mom, I told you I don’t like that?” Every meal, that is, except the ones where I serve him ButterJelly toast and warm milk.
Yesterday for dinner I served Rotini with Parmesan, my quick meal substitute for Kraft Mac ‘n Cheese. “Don’t put anything green in it, Mom. I don’t like the little green things you put in it (referring to finely chopped anything: kale, spinach, broccoli)”. “But, Son, you need vegetables to grow healthy and strong.” He crossed his arms and hung his head halfway, making sure I could still see his puppy dog eyes and their vegetable-induced anguish.
I have a strict one-meal-for-everyone policy, exceptions made only for severe illness or tonsil removal. But one day, in a desperate moment of weakness, I cracked. “Mister, if you do not want this for dinner, what is it that you want?” He answered without hesitation. “Butter.”
Like the Israelites wandering in the desert, my children are provided each day with ample provisions that will sustain them and help them grow. And like the Israelites, they start grumbling around dinnertime about the cuisine, remembering the great smorgasbords laid out for them during their years of slavery in Egypt. They tell me about other children whose moms beg them to eat candy for breakfast. Sis sometimes employs a more subtle approach. “Mom, this spaghetti you made us is so delicious, but you have been making it a lot lately.” Yes, I have. That is because everyone eats it and finely diced greens all but disappear in the sauce.
But, if I am being honest, they are not the only ones who think the menu sometimes stinks, or at least lacks variety. When I wake up in the morning, spiritual manna mingles with the dew outside my window, waiting to be collected. And like the dew, it will evaporate as the sun courses towards noon. So I must gather it early. And eat it gratefully, even if it tastes the same as what I had yesterday. Because if I beg, God will indeed bring quail and rare spices and let me eat until I am sick, while what my body needs dissolves within my reach.
“Each morning everyone gathered as much [manna] as he needed, and when the sun grew hot, it melted away.” Exodus 16:21