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My Top Chef

July 24, 2007

Last night after we arrived home, my son (the 8-year old) announces to me that he needs some ham… and cheese. He has decided at some point during this day that he wants to make dinner for us and these are the items he needs to purchase. I ask him if he needs shredded or block cheese… What kind… Did he want to run up to the store right now?

Oh, yes. He absolutely wants to go… right now! I suggest that he take the keys and go ahead. He gives me the head-tilted-to-the-side, silly grin, “M-o-o-o-m-m-m-m-m-m-m….” in response. I snatch the keys off of the counter and we set out. At the store, he checks the rows and rows of cheese. We discuss the flavors of the different varieties and he settles on Mild Cheddar. I suggest that he get the shredded kind–because it’s so much easier than shredding it yourself.

“No, no,” he says, “I want to actually do it myself. You know? I want to MAKE it myself.”

Alrighty then. Into the cart goes the block of cheddar and we move on down the aisle to the lunchmeat section.

If you’ve looked for ham recently, you know there are at least 700 different choices–chopped, diced, cubed, sliced, thin sliced, honey, honey-smoked… the possibilities are endless. His eyes grow wide as he looks at his options. Then, he sighs, throws up his hands and says, “Doesn’t anyone just sell HAM anymore? Just plain, old HAM?” I resist the urge to smile and pick up a package of sliced ham… just HAM.

“How about this?”

“No, I don’t want the ROUND kind, Mom. Just HAM. Just plain, old HAM.”

“Well,” I respond, “This is just plain, old HAM. It’s not a block, if that’s what you’re thinking. It’s sliced.”

He takes the package from my hands and examines the ham closely, checking for evidence that it is, indeed, sliced. Apparently he is convinced because the round, sliced package of ham goes right over the edge of the cart and takes its rightful place next to the Mild Cheddar. We head for the checkout. I hate to stand in line and we only have a couple of items, so Self-Checkout it is. He unloads the ham and the cheese onto the counter next to our little Self-Checkout stand.

“Can I do it this time, Mom? Please?”

“Sure, why not,” I say. I scan my card and he goes to town. He is very careful to check that the appropriate number of items show on the screen and verify that the price for each is what he expected. I swipe my debit card and we head for the car, me rummaging in my purse for my wallet so that I can put away the debit card and him, little legs high-stepping, plastic grocery bag swinging from his arm, whistling a happy tune.

When we get home, he sets up shop in the kitchen. He opens the block of Mild Cheddar and digs under the counter until he finds the cheese grater and a bowl, cuts himself off a good-sized chunk and begins to grate. He digs out a skillet and grabs the eggs from the refrigerator. I hear him rustling around for utensils, then I hear the click of the knob on the stove. I’m in the living room trying to stay out of it. He’s made some overtures in the cooking world already, but this is a big deal. Cooking dinner all by himself!

I wait a few minutes and decide to go for a glass of water. As I round the corner, I see that he has spilled some of his grated cheese on the floor. There he is, hunched over, broom and dustpan in hand, sweeping it up. I smile, grab my glass of water, and retreat to the living room again, thinking to myself that he’s one heck of a great kid.

Five more minutes go by and the smell wafting from the kitchen is heavenly. I surmise that his eggs, ham and cheese is probably done and decide to go help with dishing it up. No sooner have I dug three forks out of the drawer, than he orders me, in his best 8-year-old firm-and-stern voice, to return to the living room.

“Go sit down, Mom! I’ll bring it to you when it’s ready.”

“Did you want me to set the table?” I offer.

“NO. JUST GO SIT DOWN. I’ll bring it!”

I obey. Shortly he appears in the living room, plate in hand, piled high with eggs, ham and cheese. I wait for him to serve hubby’s, then for him to get his own.

As he’s serving our dinner, I get a little twinge. I remember not so long ago when he was just a little, bald guy that loved Sweet Potatoes in a jar. I remember getting him out of the bathtub and breathing in the scent of Baby Magic. I remember him taking his first little toddling steps. I remember the first day of Kindergarten. I remember lots of skinned knees and tears. I remember the sound of his gleeful laughter as a little one. I remember the soft, rhythmic sound of his breathing while I rocked him to sleep. I remember looking into his eyes for the first time and wondering what he would be like.

Now here he is–the big 8–and I’m so impressed with him already. He’s a thoughtful, kind, respectful, smart, full of life, full of laughter, mischievous kid with an amazing sense of humor. I feel so blessed to know him, to have him in my life. And he’s evidently going to be quite a chef, to boot!

As I take a bite of some of the best eggs I’ve had in a long time, I think to myself, “I’m the luckiest Mommy alive!”

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. July 24, 2007 11:25 am

    Ohhhhh (with an uprised tone at the end)! This is the same guy who was rustling around out there when were were there and I was enchanted then! My nephew started cooking somewhere around that age, and it was worth the giant messes he’d make following gourmet and intricate recipes out of giant books. He still does it now, but he cleans up! You are a lucky mommy indeed!

  2. July 24, 2007 12:08 pm

    Thanks for making me smile and my eyes tear simultaneously.

    Being a mom is great, isn’t it?

  3. Lynda permalink
    July 24, 2007 12:56 pm

    No fair making me cry while I’m at work. The little dude and I made this same “recipe” a couple of weeks ago when I went to visit his Grammy and him at his Grammy’s house. I grated the cheese that time, but he stirred the eggs and hame and cheese as they cooked and we had the best breakfast EVER. I can’t remember a more enjoyable day ever as he and I had lunch later at my daughter’s apartment and waited for her fiance’ to come take me to the airport. We talked about everything, and nothing and that time together is such a precious, precious memory. We snuggled and I got tons of hugs and kisses and I thought how wonderful it is that he still enjoys that and that he still remembers me well enough that he wanted to be with me. I sure miss him! (I miss his mommy too!)

    Now as big ol’ tears stream down my face I begin to sob as I realize that I’m missing so much. My nieces and nephews are growing up and I’m missing their programs and holidays and every-days and it breaks my heart. Iknow I am where I am suppposed to be (with my hubby and closer to my stepsons), but it still hurts. I love you guys so much!

  4. July 24, 2007 9:26 pm

    What a great post. I needed the smile after the day I’ve had. Grrrr.

  5. tia0220 permalink
    July 25, 2007 5:03 am

    I just found your blog from another step mom’s site…….I love it! You are definately going on my blogroll! Isn’t it amazing when you get waited on!?

  6. July 25, 2007 7:42 am

    Hey, looks like you are gaining fame!

  7. July 26, 2007 3:41 am

    Thanks, all, for your comments.

    @Donna – yep, that’s the guy. I’m loving this new phase he’s going through.

    @Mrs. H – It is, indeed. It’s what keeps me moving in the right direction when I feel like giving up. The rewards are great, even if they’re not always tangible.

    @Lynda – you just need to visit more often, that’s all. I’ll expect you to have a plane ticket in hand asap, young lady!

    @Daisy – You’re welcome, my friend. Tomorrow will be better!

    @tia0220 – Thank you! I’m honored to have you add me. I will add you, as well. Hang in there with the stepmom thing. I know you’re doing a great job. It is awesome to get waited on!

  8. Noni permalink
    July 26, 2007 10:28 am

    Regarding “Top Chef”. You are probably the 2nd luckiest mommy alive! I agree, he is surely a wonderful little man!

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