Just when you think you’re trudging this road of life and parenting alone, you come across a gem like this. I’m brought back to the Sunday evenings of my childhood, where we ate not popcorn, but scrambled eggs or a solitary bowl of cereal. I’m mise-en-placed to any meal with my own children where we rush to throw a paper towel on the spilled pool of milk before it cascades down the cracks between the leaves of the table. And I’m gleefully reminded how this all must be done with laughter.
It must have been a sight: eight to twelve of us packed around the dinner table, heads bowed over books splayed flat (somewhere a librarian cringes), the pages held open with one hand while the other dipped in and out of the corn, back and forth from bowl to mouth, the rhythm interrupted only when someone refilled a bowl or took a pull at their Kool-Aid. When your eyes are fixed on text, you tend to fish around with your free hand, and nearly every week someone upended their Kool-Aid. The minute the glass hit, Dad jumped up to make a dam with his hands in an attempt to keep the spill from leaking through the low spot in the table where the leaves met. For her part, Mom grabbed a spoon and scraped madly at the spreading slick, ladling the juice back in the glass one flat teaspoon at a time so it could be drunk. The same thing happened if someone spilled their milk. Sometimes when I wonder how my parents managed financially, I think of Mom going after those spoonfuls of Kool-Aid like an environmentalist trailing the Exxon Valdez with a soup ladle, and there’s your answer.
from Coop: A Year of Poultry, Pigs, and Parenting by Michael Perry