Tuesday, June 14, 2016

A New Way to Eat Broccoli

Last week I learned a new way to eat broccoli. It was Grilled Cheese Night: my wife prepared sandwiches, tomato soup, and  tatter tots. She threw broccoli in to appease her conscience, harassed by the arbitrary food pyramid and modern-day obsession with diet. After our dinnertime blessing, we started to chow.
Grilled Cheese Night means triangular cuts and leftover crusts. My daughters each devour the greasy, buttery center, and throw me the scraps. Thus I eat a sandwich and a half, while my jealous dog looms by the table.

Grilled Cheese Night also means tomato soup. The girls dip their sandwich into the bowl, cover it with warm bisque, and take a satisfying bite. They never finish their whole bowl of soup; it is purely for dipping. I, on the other hand, lick the sides of the bowl until every hint of tomato has vanished.

Grilled Cheese Night has rhythms and routines, habits and patterns. In fact, our whole life has rhythms and routines, habits and patterns. Every family is a food pyramid, and as arbitrary as our lines of demarcation may be, we have a way of doing family meals and movie nights, pool trips and bedtimes, holidays and weekends. Every family develops its portion sizes, traditions, and number of servings.
And we live neatly within these lines, until we face a change. Perhaps the family meal is upset by a gluten allergy (Bye, bye, Pizza) or diabetes (Bye, bye, Cake). Perhaps it is altered by a son's departure for college (Go Bucks!) or a daughter's evening work schedule. Death and divorce can change the family pyramid, just as sports' schedules, shifts in the season, or a new birth can disrupt the routine.

Adoption has rearranged our family pyramid. A month ago we added a beautiful boy to our tidy family of four. He has changed the way we sleep and grocery shop, gather and worship, swim and play. We added a seat at the head of the table to accommodate him. From there he can meet eyes with any one of us without turning. He can mimic our table manners. He can watch us eat.

Last week was his introduction to Grilled Cheese Night. He picked at his sandwich and tater tots, but left his tomato soup and broccoli untouched. Saying "Sensi does not like vegetables" is an understatement. He disdains them, pushing them away with his head turned, lips curled, and brow furrowed.

But we do not let our children off the hook so easily. The food pyramid has spoken.

"Try a bite of broccoli, Sensi."

"Try some of soup, Sensi."

"It's good for you, Sensi. Have a taste."

Finally, one of my daughters chimed in. "The soup is really good. You can dip your sandwich in it." She grabs a corner of her grilled cheese and models.
Sensi's eyes lit up. He seemed to understand. He reached toward his plate, but instead of grabbing bread, he picked up a piece of broccoli and dipped it in his soup. He pulled the red-drenched stalk to his lips and gingerly licked it. We laughed. Sensi dipped again and offered a bite to my wife.

A new way to eat broccoli was born. A new rhythm and routine was added to Grilled Cheese Night.

And so it is in this post-adoption journey. Week by week we're learning new habits and patterns. Day by day we're drawing new lines in our family pyramid. Meal by meal, we're eating and feeling satisfied (Mark 6:42).


Cass said...

And I officially got my chuckle in for the morning and a tear in my eye at the beauty of watching God teach you all how to adjust to model His love even more. So very, very sweet.

RGliem said...

This melted my heart! Thank you for sharing this bit from the new rhythms in the Sprankle family!