Capturing life in words…
I’m watching my little family eat. You know you really love someone when you watch them eat in their own home, when they feel no one is watching, and you still find them precious. This is love. When Josiah is in his element, the dishtowel becomes a napkin, which is much preferred over his former choice– his collar. Reading the cereal boxes or other random print is his norm. And also places him in an ape-like hunch, so it looks as if he is guarding his food. If he does the “ape hunch” in public, I swear folks, the boy has access to food and does not need to guard his servings. There is no “survivor” going on in this household. Food, cleanliness and rest are endorsed and freely given.
My daughter, believes she is royalty– at times. And will appropriately temporarily don behaviors of a princess. She picks her food daintily and cuts the teeniest piece of fat off all meat, as if performing a delicate surgery. She used to offer up her rejects– crusts from her bread and pizza, occasional gristle found in meat, an accidental charring of something –were placed wordlessly on my plate. A gift. Fearing she may continue this behavior when she begins dating, I have told her not to give away her rejects. I explained this is a behavior she can watch occur after marriage. She may luckily have a husband who automatically assumes possession of her rejects, and will ask “do you want this?” after it has crossed his lips and hits his palate. (My first husband, did this.) Princess also likes to point out any over-looked dinner offenses by others. It’s presented kindly, at first. Then ends with a ruthless metaphor. Just yesterday her sweet voice delivered to Josiah, “I do not want to hurt your feelings or anything. Really. But when you take such big bites of food, I can see your food, which is as gross as watching surgery while eating. I want to vomit.”
Josiah is 13 and Asperger intelligent. So he will deliver with accuracy a historical recount of every faux pas she has made at the dinner table. Ever. It’s really amazing and tempting to let him continue to ascertain his memory threshold. But I am the mother. Sigh. Hence, am supposed to resemble a level of control, decency and concern for welfare of all. So I go into referee mode.
Then there is my fiance’, who has adapted very well to the role of “Step-Father”. He no longer looks surprised when he spends 90 minutes preparing a dinner, in which both children place a 2 millimeter slice on their fork and convulse as if swallowing chalky Pepto-Bismol. He eats with his eyes on his food, yet not in the ape-like guarding stance. He actually keeps his elbows off the table, and has pristine table manners. The downward gaze I attribute to a little PTSD from going from carefree bachelor to father of three– one with high functioning autism, another who wears three different outfits a day, and the third on his own preparing to marry in two weeks. I do believe he will be okay, his consumption of Tums has decreased. He is not on any psychotropics… yet.
Yeah, a family dinner does require love.
And they are still precious! I could eat them up with my dessert… if there is still any left by the time I get to it 🙂