When the kids were little, we started a family tradition to celebrate the end of the work week for all of us. French Toast for dinner, as much as you want, with as much syrup as you want, and then family-only game night. I would have hated this as a kid, but somehow it worked, and the kids loved it. One French Toast Friday when Lee-Lee was ten, she dawdled into the kitchen with the most hesitant and apologetic look on her face. I braced myself to respond with comfort: you have kids, stuff gets broken. Great grandma’s candy dish? Her bike? The front door?
I was getting the eggs ready for the batter.
“Mom?” Lee-Lee said in a small voice.
“What’s wrong, baby?”
“Um…I feel really bad, but you know, I don’t care for French Toast very much. Do you think I could have something else?”
We don’t care what they eat, and they know that. If you don’t like what’s for dinner, or don’t feel like it, there’s fall back food. They just have to make it themselves. I stopped breaking eggs and hugged her.
“Of course you can.” I said, “Were you afraid to tell me?” Did she really say I don’t care for it very much and not I hate it!? Huh. Red Flag.
“I didn’t want to hurt your feelings.” she hesitated, “it’s family night.”
I squeezed her. How long has she felt this way?
“Have you not liked it for a long time?” I said.
She nodded. I know Lee-Lee: she’s probably hated it all along. Micah is crazy for it, she adores her brother, and she wouldn’t want to take that away from him. Ten years, her entire life. I can’t imagine eating something I hated, once a week, for years.
“Well, here’s the good news,” I said “My feelings aren’t hurt one teeny little bit AND it doesn’t matter what we eat, what matters is that we like it and have fun. How about pizza?” She lit up. Then slumped.
“Micah won’t like it.” she said.
True. He loves tradition, and loves French Toast Friday.
“What if we do favorite food night? Everyone could pick whatever they want? Micah can have french toast, you can have pizza, Mama can have ribs, and I can have cake!” I’m sold. Cake. I’m ready to toss the eggs.
“Can we still call it French Toast Friday?” she’s thinking about Micah. Or maybe she likes tradition too. Hard to tell.
“Why not?” I said. “It’s our night! I’m now declaring French Toast Friday to be whatever-you-want-food night.”
That’s how French Toast Friday came to mean bizarre dinner jumble. As for ‘family only’ night, that came to include the entire neighborhood. And I mean 8 or 9 kids hanging out calling us both ‘mom’ or ‘mama’ and playing games, occasionally eating pizza or french toast. It’s a hoot.
It cracks me up when I hear kids dash by our house at 5:30 pm and shout out to their friends, “Are you going to Family Only Night tonight? I think we’re gonna play Uno!”
So here on the blog, I declare ‘French Toast Friday’ rules for Fridays. Feel free to join in, send interesting items to share or simply comment on your day! How is your day going, BTW?