Apparently my post this morning was clearer than mud but just barely. This is sad commentary if anyone knew how much time I spent trying to say it right, but I digress . . .
The point of the fruit that I didn’t want to throw out was that in the middle of a day, thinking about nothing in particular, and wishing to foist those second class grapes on my son, I realized something. Most days I do not spend a lot of time considering whether or not I should steal a car, or if it would be ok to vandalize the lawns of people who irritate me. On the flip side, I don’t seem to be being asked to sell all I own and move to South America, or to start my own charity by raising chickens for food banks. (Of course, I have seriously considered most of the above but that is a side note.) Sitting there looking at those grapes, I realized that a lot of my choices are as simple and boring as whether or not I’m willing to take second best . . . in order to let someone who often doesn’t even know the difference have the very best.
If this still is not clear, I accept sympathies and just trust me that the grapes helped me think straight about what I think matters. (Even if they failed to make me talk straight.)
G1 (girl one – blame my husband, he started it so we wouldn’t have to spell when they were little) does not eat her grapes for lunch on Thursday. Excellent. I resend them on Friday. My job is to mark, “check,” on the mental list requiring me to provide healthy lunches. I mark check. Grapes return as expected.
To the chickens or the fridge? I ask myself.
Nasty North American, there is nothing wrong with those grapes.
I put them in the fridge. North American digs can be very persuasive.
Saturday, G2 asks for grapes. Triumph. G2 is so busy being happy all the time I could feed her almost anything. Smiling, I remove tupperware of grapes from fridge, re-rinsing for extra love and set them by her place.
G2 leaves without touching a grape. She accidentally got too full on the carrots and cucumbers.
Fresh, clean, lovely grapes are put out in a bowl for guests who do not eat them. B1 swoops in quickly. “Mind if I have some grapes?”
Victory from the ashes. Problem solved. My hand reaches for the grapes in the Tupperware. I start to explain that these need to be eaten first.
And then I close my mouth. I realize that I want him to eat the grapes that were pulled off the stems on Thursday morning, and travelled back and forth to school twice so that I don’t have to. The grapes were probably not touched by a booger picker, but the possibility remains that they could have been. Possibly even more than once. Potential booger fragments in a cozy warm lunch pail, now little invisible armies all over the grapes.
Chicken food? I ask myself again meekly.
But I do not want to be a nasty North American who is too good to eat perfectly good food which probably does not have boogers on it. This is why I need my son to eat them.
I sit there staring at B1, who no doubt wonders about how much concentration is going into his request for grapes. Sitting in between two containers of grapes, I feel like I am in the woods watching the two roads diverge into the yellow woods. In the struggle, I am forgetting to breathe.
“Ok,” I say.
I get up and wash the old grapes one more time. I eat them, while watching B1 consume the whole bowl of good grapes. I am strangely content.