I got home last night with a nagging dread hanging over my head. I knew there was nothing for a snack for the kids’ lunches, not made anyway. I had planned on making brownies, I’d even taken out all the stuff to make them this morning when I was on the way out the door just so I’d remind myself that “yes, dumb a**, you need to get off your sick lazy butt and make these!” I hadn’t forgotten, though, I was dreading it.
I was so run down, tired and lazy that I actually told my daughter to look up food on Chilis.com and order me a burger and I’d pick up food on the way home. I was not happy, I was tired, I was being very lazy, insanely non-nutritious and I really didn’t give a crap. I just didn’t have the energy. I knew the kitchen was a mess. I knew the kids weren’t cooperating and knew I was sick, and I just didn’t have the energy to deal with all that and cook dinner.
So I picked up the dinner, waiting in the lobby of the restaurant with a free drink (since it took longer than they said. Very nice of them, I thought) and read emails and checked messages.
As a very simple little gesture, I ordered some strawberries from the company “Sherries Berries” here in Sacramento (yeah, I know, they’re corporate now, but I still imagine they’re local) and had them shipped to Andrea’s best friend from college for Valentine’s Day. For me, they weren’t a major deal. I didn’t want flowers, they die, cost an insane amount of money for a brief period of happiness, and I never understood the “code” of flower giving. Red is love, was it white was friendship, or was that yellow? Sterling silver, they can make flowers that color? My theory . . . you can never go wrong with chocolate, so that’s where I went.
While I picked up the food I saw that the berries had arrived and made my friend’s day. There really is nothing like knowing you’ve touched someone, even in the smallest way. I haven’t really had that in nearly 11 months. There’s just a little fuzzy feeling that grows in your belly. It’s not anything romantic, not a crush or an infatuation, it’s the feeling of knowing you’ve done something . . . a simple thing, a simple gesture that says “you did so much for us, we have to do at least a little something in return for you.”
Which gets me home. I showed up with the food, the kids all thrilled that they got individual meals rather than having to deal with that crappy homemade stuff that Dad forces us to eat every day. The quesadilla, fajitas, chicken strips, burger combination seemed to fit with their minds pretty well. We didn’t even eat at the dinner table, had our little styrofoam containers in front of us on our laps and ate while watching the TV. We were the equivalent of the pre-time machine McFly family in Back to the Future. All we needed was Ralph and Alice on the TV and it would have been perfect.
Dinner ended, we’d all appropriately gorged ourselves on portions too big and greased our gullets and I felt somehow worse than when I got home. I steeled my resolve, got up from the couch, threw out the crappy styrofoam container and headed into the kitchen to begin making the brownies I’d singled out as the treat for their lunches. I looked first for the little metal pan I use for them . . . only to find that it was filled with brownies! I mean, sure, half the pan was eaten, but there was still a half pan of brownies there, ready, and waiting for lunches tomorrow!
I must have looked puzzled because my middle, Hannah, asked “what’s wrong Dad?”
“I was going to make brownies, but . . . ”
“Oh, yeah, Abbi figured you weren’t up to it so she made them.”
“Really? I am going to kiss her!”
And I did. I went over to Abbi’s room, which is actually removed from the rest of us, she’s downstairs in her own world. I knocked on her door and she said “come in!”
I walked up to her and immediately kissed her on the forehead and gave her a great big hug!
“What was that for?”
“For making brownies!”
“Oh . . . I figured you needed some help.”
“Well, you get another kiss!”
So I did. My day was made by chocolate. Who would have known?
Abbi didn’t think twice about having made a simple pan filled with brownies, but she had no idea how much serenity they’d given me.
It’s the simple things. The littlest helps that pushed me to move on to the next day, and they have no idea it’s even coming.