The other night I plunked down a rice/cheese/spinach/sunflower seed casserole on the table for dinner. It was, as I call it, an adequate meal. Nothing fancy, nothing hard, just, you know...adequate. As in, something not gross that my family can eat to stay alive that won't endanger my kidney function.
My son stared at it, looked at me, and said, "Is this all there is for dinner?"
"Yes," I told him. "Eat it".
He stared at it, and said, "No salad, even?"
"No salad. We don't have any salad."
He stared at it some more as I dished some on his plate. He looked up at me, and said, softly, "Mommy, I want a hamburger."
I felt a surge of fury, thinking of all the things I could say to him, about how hard I had worked on this meal, how we should all be grateful for having food at all, how he needs to eat what he is given without complaining, how spinach is good for you.
Instead, I looked into my sons big blue eyes, a little kid pleading for some beef, and my fury dissipated. So I said, "Oh yeah? Well, I want a steak."
He looked at his dad, and said, "A steak? What's a steak?"
(Yeah, this is what happens when you raise a kid eating vegetarian. The other day he told my sister, "What's a chicken breast?" Nice.)
I responded, "A steak is a big 'ol juicy piece of meat. Kinda like a hamburger, but even better."
His eyes lit up and he said, "Ooh, I want a steak too! AND a hamburger, AND a cheeseburger, and some chicken on the bone!!"
I said, "I want a steak slathered in butter and some sauce that is REALLY REALLY SALTY!!"
He laughed and said, "I want every steak in the whole world!"
At this point we are all laughing, so I said, "Ok, kiddo, let's eat our gross healthy food instead."
DH guffawed and said, "Well, I think it's good."
I reached over and stroked my beloved's cheek and said, "You are a good man to lie to my face like this."
Our meal went off without further comment, with my son eating enough of the healthy stuff to satisfy me that he wouldn't starve. And when he asked for a PBJ right before bedtime, I gave it to him without comment.
We didn't keep the leftovers.
And I still want a steak. A salty one.