Clearing the table
It was an ongoing joke in my family when I was growing up.
If you put your fork down for a minute, Mama would take your plate right out from under you, even if you weren't quite finished eating.
I cannot tell you the number of times one of us would yell "Hey! I'm not done with that yet!"
Although Mama loved to cook for and to feed people, loitering around the table while picking at the last bits on your plate was NOT encouraged.
In fact, it was darn near impossible with Mama around, grabbing your plate out from under you.
We teased her about it mercilessly.
We went to great lengths to over-protect our plates, threatened (in good fun, of course) to stab her grabby hands with our forks, and just generally gave her a hard time.
None of us ever really understood why Mama didn't want us to have that last bite or two.
Well now? Now I understand perfectly.
I serve my first meal of the day around 6am. I finish feeding people and cleaning up the kitchen around 9pm. Most weeks, I feed my family 75-80 meals, depending on this, that and the other. Because of R's work schedule and Zachary's school schedule, we don't often get to eat at the same time, so most days I feel like I spend half the day cooking and the other half cleaning up the kitchen.
Loitering over the last bits of food is NOT encouraged here.
The thing is, I really do love feeding my family. Someone told me once that food was my love language, and while I'm not totally sure what that means, exactly, it sounds good to me. I enjoy preparing my boys' favorite foods and watching them devour what I've made.
But then, seriously, I want to be DONE with it, because my "workday" doesn't really end until the last person is fed and the last dish is washed.
The other day, I was flitting back and forth between the kitchen and dining room as Cooper and Zachary were eating dinner, and I might have grabbed Zachary's plate just a LITTLE too soon.
"Hey!" he yelled. "I'm not finished with that yet!"
Ah, these full circle moments are coming more and more often lately.
I get it Mama. I finally get it.