Friday, August 14, 2009

FEEDING STRAYS

It is safe to say that my husband and I agree on major fundamentals in the way we see the world and it is also fair to say that we are polar opposite on others. It is also evident that this provides both balance and chaos; perhaps more truthfully a blend of both.

On the day to day front line with the kids, I am the active disciplinarian, chasing them around to pick up after themselves, do their homework, keeping track of their whereabouts and who they are hanging out with; my busy husband somewhat oblivious to this. Brad, however, is the real backbone of discipline, sticking to the rules and abiding by the consequences. The kids know that I am the soft side…the one who will cave in eventually.

Balance.

Our children are now teenagers and social and I love having them around. Summertime is made for friends and this has brought to light a new set of differences in my husband and I.


I am yes to sleepovers and groups of kids hanging out in the family room.

Brad is no to all of this and why does it always have to be our house?

I have come to realize that most this has to do with food.

Brad is gourmet.

I am meat and potatoes.


Brad is cook to order, exact portions with appropriate garnish and perfectly paired wine.


I am casserole with enough for an army; plenty of leftovers to feed the masses.

Brad is plan in advance; headcount required.

I am set one more place at the table; the more the merrier.

This has become a huge problem.


Brad enjoys creating in the kitchen and it is artistry.

I enjoy seeing the hungry eat…plain and simple.

The difference was evident from the beginning of our marriage. We hosted regular dinner parties, large and small. I made things pretty, he made them tasty and it was enjoyable for both.


One evening, a stray cat wandered to our porch; young and shy and thin. I offered her some leftovers, artistically and lovingly prepared by my gourmet husband, only to meet fierce opposition. “Do not feed it! If you do, it will never leave!”


My need to nourish won over this obvious statement and I took to sneaking her cheap hot dogs in the empty, wooded lot next door, only to find out later that Mr. Gourmet was doing the same. Over discussion and some good red wine, he softened and “Kitty” became our first married pet.

It is apparently true of teenage boys…if you feed them they will never leave and Brad would prefer not to. There is something so enjoyable to me about watching teenage boys eat and the regularity and cost of it makes my husband crazy. .


Trevor is prone to ask to have a few friends over for a couple of hours, which always means ten or twelve and the hours always come around dinner time. He falls naturally into the role of host and looks for food to offer.
I cannot help myself when groups of kids spontaneously evolve at my house and I find myself in the kitchen, cooking up batches of quesadillas or baking brownies. They move as groups like locusts and we either have more of our share or none at all, creating what I see as balance

Tyler’s band will often appear late in the evening, rummaging through he freezer for the bags of homemade burritos I put there for that purpose and I count shoes in the doorway to know how many have spent the night, leading me to make big batches of waffles or pancakes.

Like stray animals, they can smell across town when I am baking and somehow appear as things come out of the oven. They know that if they come to my house with girl trouble or broken hearts, I will attempt to mend them with chocolate chip cookies.

As the summer comes to a close, some of my boys will be moving off to college and I am sad to see them leave. I know that I will continue to attract the next batch of strays as Trevor is still in high school. I know that Brad will continue to grumble about locusts and the food bill, but every so often over a bottle of red wine, I see him soften and go out to grill them hot dogs, moving them from strays to pets.

5 comments:

Deb Shucka said...

What a lovely piece. I love the picture as well. And I love the comparison with strays, and Brad's reluctant but real need to feed those boys, too.

Jamie said...

I love this post and this is the sort of home I want to have as well!!!!

Carrie Wilson Link said...

Ditto Deb and Jamie! Great writing, Nancy!

Ask Me Anything said...

I CAN SO RELATE. I absolutely love having the boys at our house! And although the cereal and milk consumption have skyrocketed, it's worth it. Greg likes it too, because he gets to pretend he's one of them--at least for a few moments.

Michelle O'Neil said...

This is beautiful! I am afraid I am more like your husband, but I wish I was more like you.

BTW, hubs is cute!