I knew that disaster loomed as soon as I saw the package: Premium Blend flour tortillas – with “a touch of golden corn” (in kid-speak—at least my son’s— a somewhat grainy and funky texture).
I decided to hope for the best and continued to prepare the rest of the fixings for our burritos. My
9-year-old made his usual pre-dinner pass through the kitchen to survey the goings-on. He looked in horror at the package on the counter.
“What?” he cried. “I hate this kind. Why did dad get this kind? Why can’t we just have tacos instead?” he protested.
“You actually haven’t had this kind. You’ve had the ‘artisan’ kind. They’re different,” I tried, although deep down I knew my attempts would be futile. He grumbled some more and I sent him out to the driveway to shoot some more hoops.
A few minutes later he sat at the table with his burrito wrapped up neatly, as his brother delved into his open-face style. I, on the other hand, settled in with my taco salad. I stared out the window, mesmerized by the tall trees that were silhouetted with the final minutes of daylight glowing behind them. It had been an extremely tired-feeling day—I’d told my sister how I wished I could go to bed at 4, read for three hours and then fall asleep. But instead of retiring early, I just stared blankly at the near-dark surroundings and chomped on my salad.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw my 9-year-old attempt to eat his flour-with-a-touch-of-golden-corn burrito. It startled to crumble and tear.
I crunched. I chewed. I stared outside.
Refried beans and gooey cheese soon dripped from his fingers as he tried to eat.
Visions of springing forward danced in my head.
Crunch. Chew. Stare.
His burrito soon fell apart completely, ripping at the sides.
I did not help. I did not suggest. I did not advise. I did not offer a solution. I did not get a jar of peanut butter. I did not move.
I simply sat, looking out the window, crunching my salad.
Crunch. Chew. Stare. Crunch. Chew. Stare.
He piled the remains of his tortilla shell on a napkin.
He stood up, grabbed his overflowing heap of beans, meat and cheese and did some fiddling in the kitchen. He put his creation in the microwave.
“I made nachos,” he said as he returned, resorting to using some of the chips I’d scattered on my salad.
I nodded, impressed by his creativity, and finished my salad.
“This is actually pretty good,” he surmised. “Not the best, but good.”
He solved it. He ate it. He survived it.
And figured out —without a peep from me—what to do when life serves you up a plate of dreaded flour-with-a-touch-of-golden-corn burritos.