Today is Pizza Thursday.
It’s Pizza Thursday because this is the start of the Middle East weekend (Fridays and Saturdays).
It took some time for my wife to get used because it seemed completely out of sorts to actually work on a Sunday. For me, when we visit the US, it feels completely alien to me that not everything is bustling and crazy on a Sunday.
Anyway, it’s Pizza Thursday. It’s exciting because the girls (Saffiya specifically) knows its the end of the school (or atleast summer camp) week and mom’s work week. Everyone pops in the door and kicks off the shoes in about 100 directions (my lovely wife as well – I pity anyone that dares haul out her heels until Sunday – or as she calls it ‘Smunday’ – Sunday/Monday – for the beginning of the work week – unless its an 18 month old teetering around in her shoes), sweatpants and pajamas and whatever comfy clothes make the mark that day are happily put on (or as in Kinzy’s case tonight, a half unbuttoned onesie so that she can continually monitor the status of her belly button).
There are no lunches to make. My wife is the most awesome ‘lunch maker’ in the world. She has making lunches for a 5 year old (soon to be 6 as I’m reminded of daily) and an 18 month old down to a science. This woman is in the throes of Pinterest for new ideas, ready Good Housekeeping and Mother & Baby and our fridge looks like a modge-podge of pictures of ‘stuff to make’. The sandwiches are cut in hearts, the cucumbers are precisely cut in sticks, the berry bin (the Binto Box berry container that she clearly worships) has all of the proper berries in their places – never mix blackberries with blueberries because apparently, they had an argument last week and the rasberries are the current mediators in the berry bin. She packs those lunches, places the well thought out post-it in each of their lunches (something her mom did for her and if she forgets to do it, I’ve seen her get up at 3a.m. and go down and put the post-it in their lunch) and off she goes to prep her lunch, have a conference call or 2 (or 3 depending on the day and how long these people seem to want to hear their own voices) and get the coffee cups ready in the morning. But those post-it notes better be in their strategically placed locations for the kids (one reads and one doesn’t but those post-its go on there!). And, absolutely, do not forget the post-it! The drama associated to not putting the post-it in her lunch will carry on for days. This happened on my wife’s last trip to India. She did 5 days of post-its and I always know to grab one and put it in the lunch so Saffi has a bit of her mom with her each day. One day, it didn’t happen. Well, that Skype conversation that night with her mother was beyond drama. She was promptly instructed to never let it happen again, her friends asked where her post-it was and, in her words, “It was embarrassing, Mom”. She’s 5 – there is plenty more embarrassment coming. But, my wife, bless her, agreed and said it wouldn’t happen again and she will ensure that there are 2 post-its the next morning (she always knows the right thing to say – mom’s have that skill!).
Because there are no lunches – there is no schedule/routine to keep that night. No laundry, phone calls, social stuff, whatever. It’s our one night as a family where nothing else matters except the 4 of us (and 3 felines that are the bane of my existence most of the time).
Pizza Thursday (if you have ever tried Freedom Pizza – try it!) was celebrated with a big supreme pizza (my girls love their veggie’s – don’t ask me where that came from) and one of those cookie pizza things (I know where they got that from).
We settle like complete slouches – no dishes, the couch and a movie (today – thankfully – was not Frozen – but Cinderella).
The little one is walking around ‘half-onesied’ with half a pizza piece dropping olives as far as the eye can see (while obnoxious cats think they are little black toys). The other is devouring her 3rd piece of pizza. Now, my daughter is a ‘skinny mini’ (the wife) – the metabolism, bless her, just doesn’t stop. We are cautiously warning her on the effects. But no, those slices go down and so does a slice of cookie pizza.
Full and content, wife gets her up to bed and settled in.
Not 20 minutes later she comes down the stairs moaning and groaning. Her stomach hurts and she can’t sleep (I don’t think many people could at that point).
Wife is content with the wee one happily sleeping on her shoulder and I take her up to tuck her in and get her to sleep.
The funny thing is that here she is, turning 6 and I remember when she was tiny, even Kinzy’s age and before, tucking her in and holding her to sleep. She’s big now. She grew up too fast. And here I am tucking her in because she still needs me. Is this the last time it will happen? Is she going to be 15 before I know it and then she will be slamming the door and not listening to anything? My wife and I were now tucking in the little one. And I realized that I still need to take that time to tuck her in. And, I found myself doing this so much with Kinzy. But with Saffi, this could probably gradually go away – when she doesn’t need me anymore or just deals with her own upset stomach.
I feel like they are both changing so fast. I want to be the one that she calls with a stomach ache. I don’t, of course, want her to have one. But, I do want to make sure that I am taking those times to listen to her growing pains more and spend the time putting her to sleep. And looking at her and watching her as her beautiful brown eyes close and she looks like a peaceful angel tucked into her pink princess, pepto-bismol room, I can’t help but laugh that think about the fact that we have survived these ‘almost’ 6 years together. And that I can still put her to sleep and she still needs me – stomach ache or not.
The opportunities that we have to make a difference in however many years we live can dwindle if we don’t look for every chance to make a difference. For her, if I’m that face she sees before she sleeps and I know it will be a peaceful and pleasant sleep for her, I would give anything to be sure that happens. For my wife, if those post-its are going to make the kind of memories for her that are important in whatever way that is, she will go to the end of the earth to make sure there is never any shortage of post-its.
This is what we do for our kids. So Pizza Thursday may not have been the most pleasant for my oldest tonight, but I know that us laughing and joking as we do each Thursday makes that stomach-ache a distant memory.
Buying toys, spoiling children for no reason, guilt sweets, whatever it is (that is so prominent in the arab world sometimes), we often fail to realise that it isn’t about those things – the memories stay with them long after the Shopkins have been lost or the Minions have gone far out of style. My wife calls the memories, RAK (Random Acts of Kindness). But, for parents, those Pizza Thursdays and Post-its are simply our way of good parenting and holding onto those bits of time that seem so short.
Have an amazing Pizza Thursday, everyone.