Finally, it’s Thursday and we can ALL sit down to dinner together for the first time all week.

Chris and I strategically arrange for our friend to pick the kids up at karate so we have time to chat and cook dinner together. Our mood is light. I allow him to make the veggies as his sweet/tangy sauce is yummy. My only instruction is to “make more.” He has this annoying habit of making the exact right amount which drives me nuts. Unless there is food left on the table, I fear someone got up hungry. It’s a mental thing.

Anyway, he begins his agonizingly slow chopping of peppers and carrots. The garlic is cooking gently as I happily grill chicken breasts. My specialty is the rice. I know to put it on first so that it is done right on time. We have got this down to a science.  There is wine, music and a fair amount of jabbing. Naturally, my ass is swatted more than once. All in all, I am superbly content.

Then it happens.

The laundry room door bursts open ahead of a throng of three kids, one school bag, two karate bags and nameless other items that clatter to the kitchen floor. I would swear the  Norah Jones streaming from the kitchen speakers came to a screaching halt. And with it, the end of our peaceful evening.

Immediately we start: “head upstairs guys, change clothes and get back down here for dinner…Maisy that means you …Maisy….MAISY TAKE YOUR HEADPHONES OFF.”

Upstairs there is running—I don’t know why anyone is running right now. Then there is a blood curdling scream from Haddie that comes a fraction of a second after we hear the raw slap of palm on naked butt. In one voice Chris and I scream “SAAAAAAAAAAAM——UUUUUUUUEL!!!”

Moments later we are gathered at our round table in our usual spots. I have stopped sipping and now chug what’s left of my wine.

From that moment on, I feel like a tourist in a foreign land….my translation dictionary nowhere to be found.

There are at least four different conversations going on at the same time. I hear the middle of all of them.

Maisy: “…hates cats…I don’t know why she would pick a poem about cats then…no she didn’t even write her own poem, she found it..I told her I would strangle the next cat I saw….”

Sam:”….see I knew where their prey was because I infiltrated their base camp. But Luke was like “no you didn’t” it was just coincidence but then I was like “no dude, it was strategy..”

Chris: “Haddie..eat three more pieces or you are going on the steps.”

Haddie:” But daddy I HATE SALMON!”

Chris:” That is chicken.”

Maisy (she has moved on): “only 35% of people can roll their tongues. It’s genetic.”

Chris: “Mommy loves genetics.” He is rolling laughing at his stupid inside joke (the year we met, I almost failed genetics and had to take a remedial class)  I am not laughing. My children do not need to know that I almost flunked genetics in med school. Who cares? That’s what geneticists are for.

Everyone at the table is attempting to roll their tongue. Haddie has it. Chris has it. I do not. I try and try. I am now blood boilingly angry. How is it possible that I cannot will my goddamn tongue to roll on demand! There. Must. Be. A. Way.

I am making ridiculous faces–contorting my mouth in obscene ways to no avail. There is uproarious laughter as rotten kids point accusingly “MAMA CAN’T ROLL HER TONGUE …BAHAHAHAHAHAHA.”

They have finally moved on to other genetically inherited traits. We are each inspected for dimples, freckles, and attached earlobes. We discuss six fingers and cleft chins (AKA face butts).

Tummy’s are full, we have had a few good laughs, I still have a gentle buzz from my guzzled wine.

Maisy asks her dad “so…is that Autosomal Dominant or Recessive?” He shoots crystal blue laughing eyes right at me as a hush falls over the table. Even the stupid dog sits down and stares up as Chris casually says “I bet mom could explain that.”


  1. Shannon Stanek, DVM says:

    I may have a face butt but I can Roll My Tongue! Oh and Dimples, and Freckles. Thanks for another laugh! I need to go get my Boy and head home! – Shannon

  2. No dude it was strategy. That’s one cool kid :)

  3. My mom was the one we laughed at too. She could not roll her tongue or blow raspberries!!

  4. I was 2hrs late for a 3 hr genetics final ( overslept). Needless to say, I had to take a remedial class. I can roll my tongue, I have no clue if it’s recessive or dominant. I have to agree with you, I hate genetics! But that was pretty cute lol

  5. OMG. I LOVE THIS! I read it out loud to my husband and we both laughed out loud.You capture reality so vividly! It was like I was sitting at the table with you all. Thank you!

  6. My son asked, “Mommy why do you tell us weird dumb things that you do?” ” Just so you’ll realize that I am not perfect.” (Unspoken implication: I was nearly perfect) That was over 30 years ago. Hopefully he still thinks I’m NEARLY perfect. Other 3 just laugh at me.

  7. hahaha Pat O. Perfectly——laughable is what ALL my kids think of me!

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