Yesterday we were talking about kids, and my father said it always used to take him some time to appreciate us after he had been working long hours. “Like jet-lag or something,” he said. “You know, not like I didn’t love you or anything, but you were just so energetic and loud. It would take me a few days to get used to it again.” I thought about this, and then I compared it with my actual childhood, and I want to call bullshit. My father was at least as loud as we ever were, and maybe more so. I offer this regular mealtime memory as proof:
“Let’s play Oliver,” said my father, as we grabbed our plates so he could dish out the quiche my mother had made for dinner.
“How do you do that?” I asked.
“I’ll dish out your dinner, and then you ask in your best English Accent: ‘Please Sir, may I have some more?’ and then you’ll see what happens.”
“You go first,” my little sister told me.
I grabbed my plate from the table and took it to the stove, where my dad cut a generous piece of quiche and tipped it onto my plate. “Is that enough?” he whispered.
“You can say it now,” he said.
“Please Sir, may I have some more?”
A growl rose in his throat, from under his bushy beard. “MORE?! MORE?! You want some MORE?!!!”
I squealed. The quiche jumped on my plate. I scurried back to the table with a grin on my face.
“My turn!! Oh, I want to do it!” said my sister.
“Well, bring your plate up then,” said my dad.
“And then I want to go again!” I said.
I’m sure there were some nights my mother thought we would never eat dinner.