Snack Magic

I yelled at my daughter the other day. I yelled at her for playing with fridge magnets and disturbing some piece of paper that was sufficiently important that I had stuck it to the fridge- but not so important that I had yet taken it down and responded.

Our relationship is fragile, these days. Maybe it will always be fragile. She is so sensitive to when I am sad and angry; so afraid to have been the cause of it. I have been sad and angry too much lately, and she is a great cause of delight. I try to tell her that. But, being my daughter, that is not what she hears. She hears “why do you have to play with that magnet. There are 57 magnets on the front of the fridge that are all for you. That one is holding papers that are special to Mommy. Why can’t you leave it alone?”

I tried to apologize, to hug and be friends again. She said we couldn’t. She was too sad, I was too sad. We could not be sad together. My daughter will not be coaxed or cajoled in these matters; she is far wiser than I in the ways of truth, and compassion.

We would have to spend the afternoon as islands, alone in our sea of sadness.

“I think”, I said slowly, “that we need snack magic”.
Snack magic?

“Snack magic. It is when two people that have been too fighty- when they have a snack together. And they don’t talk about the fight. But they have a snack together. And then, when they are done, they aren’t fighting anymore.
Are you hungry for a snack?”

She nodded.

“Should we make some butter-and-honey-on-toast?”

She shook her head; “A peanut butter jam sandwich”.

Okay. One of us should get the peanut butter and the jam. And one of us should get the bread.
I know, Mommy! I will get the jam and the peanut butter. The bread is high up. You get that.

One of us should spread the peanut butter, and one of us should spread the jam.
I know, Mommy! You will spread the peanut butter because it is hard and you are good at that. And I will spread the jam.

Should we cut this sandwich the short way? the long way? or the triangle way?
The long way, Mommy. And I will have the flat side, because I like the flat side.
And you can have the bumpy side because…
because you can pick, and you pick what you like, and I will take what is left. That is a good plan.

At some point, while we sat across from each other, I realized she was playing “copy-me”.
Are you playing copy me?
Are you playing copy me?

You ARE playing copy me!
You ARE playing copy me!

I think that the person across the table from me is wonderful.
(long pause while she finishes chewing a bit of sandwich)
I think that the person across the table from me is wonderful.

I love the person across the table from me very, very much.
I love the person across the table from me very, very much.

I love her so much that even when she makes a mistake, I still love her.
I love her so much that even when she makes a mistake, I still love her.

Then I wiped my face on my napkin-
in all the places where peanut butter and jam were smeared all over hers.

I think that we should wash our hands.
I think that we should wash our hands.

And at the sink, once she had used the same soap dispenser I used (there are two) and dried her hands on the same towel (there are two), “Copy me” was over, and it was time to go watch TV. Together.

Snack Magic.

‘For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.’ They said to him, ‘Sir, give us this bread always.’ – John 6:33-34

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2 Responses

  1. You’re a great mom, by the way. Thanks for sharing. It made a difference in my day.

  2. Awww… you nearly made me cry! Lovely

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