Ah, Spaghetti. Such a great go-to meal for a mom like me. It's easy to make and the kids love it. The mess it makes, however is not so easy. Last month we visited my family and my mom was going to serve spaghetti and meatballs. I gave my kids a ham sandwich instead. Because whenever we eat spaghetti it's usually straight into the bath afterward.
When we came home I began feeling a little nostalgic and sad. I remembered that I don't have babies anymore and that my kids can totally handle spaghetti and how odd that I've been so programmed to think that spaghetti equals mess. I felt silly for acting like my kids and me couldn't handle the menu.
Well, it feels good to say, I was right. Tonight we had spaghetti. I admit I cooked it on bath night on purpose. And we had the kids take their shirts off. It was like this crazy feeding frenzy and I had been looking forward to enjoying a normal, quiet meal together. Hello, Julie! Don't you know what goes on in your own house? A meal that is normal? Or quiet? How could I have believed this possible? Yet we are hopeful beings. Obviously!!
I somehow have been assigned to the seat next to Penelope on the bench where she is able to scoot right up next to me and share her tomato sauce in an all too intimate way. And looking around the table I felt as if I had enrolled in the class for etiquette school dropouts. Everyone's face was messy, there was an incident with the ranch dressing (isn't there always) and people who wanted seconds either yelled for them or just reached over their neighbor to help themselves. And of course there was lots of "Watch this, Mom!" as they slurped the noodles into their mouths Lady and the Tramp style.
In the moment, I could barely eat without being totally grossed out and struggled with losing my appetite. Now, a few hours later, I feel grateful for spaghetti and kids to eat it with. But let me say, it's a struggle for me to realize what my life looks like compared to what I thought it would be. Like, my dreams of motherhood never really included eating dinner with a bunch of savage beasts who scream my name not because they love me, but because they want milk. And when I used to associate spaghetti dinner with fundraisers and the Olive Garden, I now think greasy bathwater and laundry stains.
But they LOVE it, so I make it. Over and over again. All the mess and cleaning required is totally worth it to me to give my beloved family a yummy dinner. Period.