When the cat is away, the mice shall…

…eat pizza?

I am noticing a somewhat pathetic pattern. When my husband is not home for dinner, as he wasn’t last night, we eat crap. Last night it was pizza left over from my son’s birthday party (9 boys plus my daughter, laser tag, arcade games, yes I still have a headache). I also made a few ravioli from the Bronx and a salad. Other nights we have scrambled eggs. Paninis. Soup.

As I was eating this rather unhealthy and unsatisfying meal, I asked myself whether I have devolved into a pathetic 1950’s housewife that cooks only for my husband. I like to consider myself a feminist (don’t even get me started on what these freaking Republicans are trying to do to my reproductive rights), but yet I find myself saying things like, “Daddy isn’t home, so we can eat whatever we want.”  But when I thought about it more broadly, I realized that it is hard to motivate to cook a nice meal when you don’t have another adult to appreciate it. I have seen this with both of my grandmothers as they aged and became widows. They shared with me how hard it is to cook for one, after years of family meals. So much of cooking is sharing your love for others, but if it isn’t reciprocal, like all forms of affection, it is hard to continue.

I am going to try harder to avoid these piecemeal dinners. There are nights, like the one when your head is still pounding from the arcade, where leftovers are good enough. Perhaps I am sentimental this week, as my first baby turns eight, but it won’t be long before the dinner table is less crowded, as the kids are off with their friends and then away at school. Right now I still control my kids’ schedule, and I need to enjoy our family dinners while I can. At least until the next time that everyone spills drinks, refuses to eat, and talks back at the table. Then I am going to morph into Betty Draper and go hide and smoke cigarettes in the kitchen.

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