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Dinner Disaster (Ruth’s SOLS 29/31)

All of this happened in less than ten minutes.

“Come on in for dinner,” I called out the front door. Andy and the kids began picking up the baseballs speckling our yard. Then in went the bats and in went the mits. They heaved the tub back to the garage. Everyone crowded around the bathroom sink to wash their hands.

I put the last water glasses on the table. Little did I know this would be the calm before the storm.

“I DON’T WANNA EAT THAT!” Sam, the four-year-old, shouted the minute he saw his plate. He threw himself into his chair and folded his arms.

“Mmmmm, this is my favorite! Meatloaf!” Hannah said.

Sam swung at her. She dodged him.

“Mine too!” Stephanie said.

Sam stuck out his tongue at her.

We prayed. Sam sobbed. “I want to pray. This is no fair. You always pray without me.” Andy caught my eyes across the table, I’m sure he was thinking the same thing as me: Sam prays every night.

We pray again so Sam can lead.


“I don’t like this!” he punctuates his last words by shoving his plate across the table.

Stephanie catches it before it hits the floor.

And shoves it back to him.

I stop it mid-way. Sam continues ranting. He finally leaves the table to spend some time in his room.

Stephanie decides to get seconds. Because she must do everything herself and Andy was refilling his water-glass, she gets out of her seat, walks around the table, and picks up the meat loaf dish.

“Wait!” I try to stop her, knowing the dish is heavy and hot. She actually listens the first time and turns to put the dish back on the table, only somehow instead of setting nicely on the table, it hits the edge and launches out of her hands, spinning above her head, dumping the entire contents of the pan on her head, shirt, jeans.

She bursts into tears. I get her clothes off of her since it is piping hot meatloaf soaking into her. She continues crying. Not a few soft sobs, no, all out wails. I take her up to the shower. Andy commences clean-up.

Hannah continues to eat. “Can we still eat the rest of that? It’s still good, right Dad?” I hear her as Stephanie takes a deep breath to reload for another wail.

The little guy is still shouting, “I don’t like that. It’s no fair,” in his bedroom.

After Stephanie finishes her shower, I retrieve Sam from his bedroom. “I don’t want to eat that icky stuff,” he insists.

“You have to try it, then you can have something else.”

Back at the table, Hannah is on her third helping of meatloaf. “Dad saved it,” she tells me between bites.

I look over at Andy, still cleaning meatloaf off the wall and the floor and the table and the chairs. I know he is grumbling on the inside. Meanwhile, Sam is grumbling on the outside.

He finally takes a bite and . . . gags.

Silence filled the room. Andy looks at me and says, “I’m not cleaning up throw up too.”

The little guy had a peanut butter and jelly. Hannah ate more meatloaf. Stephanie joined us and polished off the meatloaf.

And just like that, they are all happy and sweet and delightful again. I’m reminded that accidents happen and so do cranky moods. Sometimes, as parents, we just need the perseverance to keep plodding through. Times like these help make a family just as much as the joyful times. In fact, when we can stand by each other in spite of cranky, grouchy, and down right ugly attitudes it may even forge family bonds tighter than only having happy times. Still, I’m glad dinner time is rarely like this!

Ruth Ayres View All

Unhurried. Finding the magic in the middle of living. Capturing a life of ridiculous grace + raw stories.

6 thoughts on “Dinner Disaster (Ruth’s SOLS 29/31) Leave a comment

  1. What a moment…. or a stretch of moments. The age old dinner quandry…. make only three things you know everyone will eat or make a stand and present new and untraditional foods and expect the unexpected!
    I went for the line of least resistance. Our menu was tired and worn, but everyone ate.
    (Much Later one of the guys watched me make fruit salad and said, “that’s why we had fruit salad every week- you used up all the ‘old’ fruit!)


  2. I remember one Thanksgiving dinner with extra family around the board, or milling around the table. My father picked up the gravy and somehow a tennis ball landed perfectly in the bowl, splashing him and the others at that end of the table. I’ll never forget the look on his face.

    Great post–love that line of your husband’s!



  3. This had me laughing out loud. I have a picky one with a very sensitive gag reflex, so I can appreciate (and totally picture the scene) your husband’s sentiment when he said “I’m not cleaning up throw up too.”

    I think this might be my favorite slice of yours thus far.


  4. Wonderful description and sequence of a dinner with kids. I also enjoyed your reflection. Now that my children are grown, we look back at events, such as this, and fondly (yes, fondly) chuckle.
    Ruth, thanks for all your work on the site. I learn so much. And especially thanks for hosting the SOL challenge. It is valuable for us teachers of writing. My challenge is to remember to link after I write and do so before 11:59 EST.


  5. @ Mary Helen — I’m glad you started laughing . . . Andy & I were laughing as I read it aloud to him before posting. Humor is something I strive to master in my writing (in fact, I sweat bullets trying to get it to work).

    Thanks for your feedback . . . yes, I’m trying to savor it. Someday we’ll miss these mishaps — at least that’s what I’m telling myself.


  6. Ruth, I apologize but I started laughing. Your beginning lines set me as a reader – I was ready for a great story. I hate to say this, but savor it. I also loved the line, “Silence filled the room.” I could see it in my head. Loved it. Great capturing the moment.


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