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Noodles on the Refrigerator

This morning I found a noodle stuck to the side of my refrigerator. A sign of my life…crazy, out of control, a little silly at times. Noodles do not typically belong on refrigerators and at some people’s homes, I am sure it would be a strange sight indeed. At our home, it seemed completely normal. In fact, it seemed such a natural part of the landscape of our home, instead of wiping it off right away, I left it there. It served as a vivid reminder of our family meal yesterday. A meal which contained dialogue like this... “I don’t like this dinner.”

“I don’t like this kind of shrimp. I like FRESH shrimp.”

“Stop complaining right now or you’re going to have a timeout without any dinner.” (Had to retract this when my kids seemed relieved, not threatened.)

“Get your feet off the table.”

“How many more bites?”

“Twenty five”

“I can’t count that high.”

“Good. Keep eating...”

What is it about these days of having young kids when noodles on the refrigerator seem perfectly normal? When a clean kitchen is more noticeable than a dirty one? I remember the days when I loved to entertain. I would set out my fine china and candles and serve a gourmet meal that my guests raved about, whether they liked it or not. That's the nice thing about guests. They eat their food without complaining, say thank you, and compliment the chef. Now I have to coerce, bribe and threaten my "guests" to eat the simplest things with little to no kudos in return. And no one appreciates gourmet. Last night’s meal was titled "Fancy Shrimp Fettuccine." I should have known better. At my house, there are no longer pristine table settings fit for gourmet meals. Instead, the dinner picture consists of rice sprinkled over the floor, spaghetti sauce on the walls, hands in cups fishing out ice cubes, and dirty toes creeping up onto the table.

I'm sure one day I will be able to go back to serving gourmet. I will be able to dust off my fine china and host candlelight dinners. But I know when that day comes I will miss these days. It will feel strange to not have to coerce anyone to eat dinner. I will miss those little dirty toes on the edge of the table. And I will look at my pristine fridge and remember those noodles from the past…and I'm sure I will miss those too.

Dear God, help me to live here. To live in the now. Not in the yesterdays, not in the tomorrows, but in the todays. And to enjoy them to the full.

No matter how messy they may be.

Blessings,  Susan Rieske

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