Last night was leftover night at the Brown house. This is the way it works. I pull out all the containers of leftovers from the fridge. I open them up and display them on the kitchen counter. Then I yell, “Leftovers. First come, first serve!”
Rubbermaid food containers
As my husband and boys arrive in the kitchen, I ask them to choose what they want and heat it up. Given the way the process works, we basically eat in shifts, and since I am usually the one serving, I eat last. As each boy/man made his selection and took his plate, I cleared empty containers and put away those no longer needed. The boys had finished their meals, and I had stacked their dishes. Finally, the only thing left on the counter was what I intended to eat,the only thing left to do was prepare my own plate. It was the last of the spiral-sliced ham.
Spiral-sliced honey glazed holiday ham
Most of the container was filled with the hard outer shell pieces, which are tasty enough when chopped up for salads or soups, but not so-much for a sandwich. Thankfully, I struck gold. There, at the very bottom was one perfect slice–just what I needed for a nice sandwich. I pulled it out and set it at the top of the pile with the lid only half-way closed. I cut my leftover dinner roll in half and turned toward the fridge to gather the remaining items.
Kings Hawaiian Original Sweet Rolls
I bumped into one son trying to get to the ice cream bowl in the freezer, and I nudged another one who was getting ice for his drink. Finally, I reached the mayo and the cheese. Returning to the counter, I had just picked up the knife to spread my mayo when I looked over at the lone container where my perfect slice of ham once sat. It was gone. I lifted the lid and looked again. I jostled the ham pieces around, but nope. It was nowhere to be found. I finally said, “Did someone eat my ham?” That’s when I noticed the son with the glass of water in his hand, sheepishly chewing as quickly as he could. “I’m sorry, Mom,” he said. “I didn’t know you were planning on eating it!”
I think he genuinely felt bad about it, but it was still frustrating. I put all of the ingredients away and dug something else out of the fridge for my dinner. My husband consoled our son by saying, “That’s OK, son. You just gave your mom some new material for her blog.” And I guess he did.
You know, there’s always someone around to steal our ham–or our love, or our peace, or our joy–in life. So, what are we supposed to do about it? I could have ranted and raved. I could have whined and complained. Don’t get me wrong, I was frustrated. After all, I had just spent the last 20 minutes or so waiting on the rest of my family. I had put them first, but it was my turn. I was hungry. I had a legitimate gripe. He had already eaten, for heaven’s sake–a plate of leftovers and a bowl of soup! But let’s face it, a slice of ham isn’t really worth getting that angry about, is it? What about the rest of the things we let bring us “down”? I guess it gives me pause for thought. Just like I had other choices in the fridge last night, I have choices about how to handle difficult situations in my life. I may not always be able to control what happens, but I can control how I react. So, it turns out that having my slice of ham stolen was that important after all.