This is purely an old person “get off my lawn” discussion, but I am fascinated when I see kids get asked what they want to eat for dinner and then get cooked separate meals from everybody else at the table.
You know what we ate for dinner when I was a kid? Whatever my mother was making that night. If you had a dissenting opinion, you could feel free to either go hungry or arrange to eat at a friend’s house that night.
For instance, I don’t like ham. Never have. I think it tastes and has the texture of what I imagine human flesh carved up and served on a plate would taste like. If I have to eat it, I will gag. I will involuntarily heave. I literally cannot force it down. Growing up, one of my friends didn’t like ham, either. So what did we do? She and I drafted the following reciprocal agreement in order to address our shared issue:
If my mother was making ham, I would eat dinner at her house that night. If her mother was making ham, she would eat dinner at my house that night.
I believe they call that “learning priceless problem-solving skills” and charge like $1,500 nowadays for a workshop to learn them.
Granted, we did have that one night where both of our mothers were coincidentally making ham, but that was the night we learned that sometimes life is just out to kick you in the taco and there’s nothing you can do about it. Yet another life lesson!
I can tell you for damn sure what none of the mothers in my neighborhood were doing. They weren’t cooking four different meals to suit everyone’s tastes each night.
I can’t even imagine how hard my mother would have laughed if I’d said, “Oh, hey. I know you’ve been at work all day at your crappy, low pay, high stress job that you hate, and I know that you’re making sloppy joes for everyone else, standing in front of the stove still wearing your work clothes, but can you make me chicken fingers instead? You know, just for me?”
You would still hear that laughter today, echoing through eternity, bending space and time in its wake. I would have never lived that down. That would be a story that was passed down to all future generations:
“Can you believe she thought I would make an entirely separate meal just for her? Why stop there? Why not ask for your own castle and unicorn?! Her own dinner! Sure thing, Jackie O! I’ll get right on that!”
Same goes for stopping at multiple fast food places. If I’d said to my mother, “I know everyone else is getting Burger King, but can you make an extra stop so I can get some Wendy’s?” she would have just lost control of the car and driven into a lake, she would have become so delirious with laughter.
You knew better than to complain about your lack of fast food choices. You were lucky when you got fast food at all, and not the frozen cube steaks and sauerkraut Mom forgot to take out to thaw that morning. You’re gonna get picky about the fast food? Oh, that’s rich. Why not get picky about free candy on Halloween while you’re at it? Get picky about the denomination of bills in a birthday card! But I wanted fives!!!
It wasn’t because my mother was a harsh parent – far from it. It’s because dinner was an event that was grounded in facts. Dinner = whatever Mom was making that night. That was a fact. The idea that children might have been permitted to have an opinion on the matter was totally unheard of. It never even crossed my mind. Did I have an opinion on whether she should pay the property taxes quarterly or once a year? Nope! Because my opinion wasn’t relevant to the matter.
The same way that your opinion is irrelevant as to whether the sky is blue or the sun rises in the east. If you have issues with these things, you better find a way to deal with them, because the sun ain’t rising in the west just for you, babycakes. You’re not entitled to have the world skitter around your likes and dislikes because, I can assure you, absolutely nobody is as concerned about your likes and dislikes as you are.
If you care 100%, then the rest of the world cares negative 500,000,000%.
Nobody cares what you like – and we all need to come to terms with that.
Like Mom used to tell me, “You are so special…” and then she’d pause and say “…juuuust like everybody else.”
That’s not only accurate, but will sure as hell keep you humble, too.
Sometimes you have to eat something for dinner that you’re not crazy about. What can I tell you? Life is hard, kid. It’s one meal. Either force it down or load up on side dishes that night.
Now get off my lawn.