Ah, summer! Pool time, board games, leisurely walks and family meals. It’s all part of our wondrous academic calendar that allows us to slowly tease the pleasure out of each day, one by one, during the hottest season.
But nothing is as wonderful as eating around the table with your children. Oh, to break bread with the fruit of your loin! The bickering, the dissatisfaction with the chef-parent, the utter senselessness of trying to converse with people who don’t even listen to NPR… yes, the endlessness of that doggone meal!
Not to mention the withering stare from your vegetarian child as you enjoy a wee bit of meat. A look so direct that it would shame an expert surveyor, as she delineates the area of shame beginning at my mouth, back to the plate with its victim-burger, and then to the blasted marsupial pouch I can’t seem to unload.
“Nice cow lunch, Mom.”
My son looks startled all of a sudden. “Wait, burgers do come from cows? Mom, you said that burgers were like tofu or something!”
“Hey, settle down. I must have misunderstood your question…. And you, remember! You have chosen not to eat meat. That is your choice. Our choice is to be omnivores. So, cool it with the mean looks.”
“Right. Your choice, my choice but who cared about the COW’s choice, Mom?”
“Maybe it was a volunteer? OK, listen, it’s not my fault most animals are cute and delicious!”
“There is no excuse in today’s society to continue harming animals just because humans are greedy pigs, Mom! Why do you eat the poor things?! How do you explain yourself?!”
I use an extended pause for effect. “Funny how you use ‘pig’ as an insult… and I love your leather bracelet.”
She delivers an epic eye roll, averts her gaze entirely, and adopts the ‘I’m going to ignore you for the rest of the day” stance. Success!
All right, so the lie about the cow meat ferreted its way out into the light, making me look like an idiot. I was only trying to allow my son to enjoy his food guilt-free. Good intentions all the way! But when confronted by a kid who wants answers- especially incriminating ones- what to do? Well, as a card carrying member of the Spanish-speaking tribe, I say “no way, José!” Build that wall around the truth- it’s all the rage!