The sun was going down.
As the shadows in my bedroom grew longer, the empty stone in my tummy kept rumbling and rumbling, growing more and more insistent.
My eyes were puffy and burning. I don’t remember what egregious sin I had committed to send me to bed without dinner but there I was.
Just when I had given up hope and started drifting off into a sad, sad sleep, the door to my room cracked open and there standing in a frame of light was the shadow of my mother. In her hand was a piece of whole wheat bread with peanut butter and a glass of milk.
Peanut butter never tasted quite so good before or after.
My son refused to eat his dinner last night. We have had this battle before. A simple reminder about the fish coming out at breakfast brought about a few bites, enough to spare him that fate. Still, it was not enough to keep him alive. He had to be terribly hungry.
As we were heading upstairs he could smell the bread in the oven, baking. Sure enough, he begged and pleaded for a warm, buttered slice.
“No. You didn’t eat enough of your dinner.”
Big, fat tears rolled down his cheeks.
I got him pottied, his teeth brushed, and his jammies on. He asked for bread one last time as I was tucking him into bed.
I refused again.
Then I remembered my own mother relenting, what a cherished memory that had been for me growing up, knowing that at least for those few minutes she loved me more than those damn rules.
The oven timer beeped.
His smile glowed from across the darkened room as he crunched into his warm, buttery bread. We brushed the crumbs off his sheets into the floor afterwards. I could sweep that up in the morning…
“I love you, mommy.”
“I love you, too.” I smiled back. “Next time, though, eat your fish!”
Kindness matters. Especially to little boys and girls.
And even to mommies.