It wasn’t so much the contents of my surprise dinner tonight that got to me. It was the words my 8-year-old chose when she answered my incredulous look of gratitude.
While I was changing out of my work clothes after an unusually long and busy day, Clara was secretly working at warp speed to put “dinner” on the table for me: a bowl of salad (straight out of the bag, topped with a teeny, tiny bit of ranch dressing) and a small plate of lukewarm steamed vegetables left over from last night’s dinner, accompanied by a glass of ice water.
“I made you dinner,” she told me as I walked into the kitchen. I felt my jaw drop and eyebrows raise involuntarily. “For me? Really??”
It was a delightful moment of shock after the perfect storm this January has brought me: a husband who is traveling far more than usual, several high-priority work projects with colliding deadlines and cooped-up kids at each others’ throats (thanks to the Polar Vortex that has put “Frozen” Ice Queen Elsa’s worst temper tantrums to shame.)
I am ashamed to admit, because I know that many people have it so, so much worse, that I have lost count of the number of times this month I have wondered to myself, “Can’t I ever just get a BREAK?!”
In the kitchen tonight, as my grinning daughter glowed with pride over the meal she had just provided to her tired mother, she responded to my dropped jaw with words that make me 100% sure that silent prayers are answered in mysterious ways:
“I just thought you could use a break.”