My mother had an uncle who got really, really sick when I was ten. He lived far away, and I didn't know him very well. But when I was ten and he was sick, my mother flew to California to see him.
I remember her telling us everything. "My uncle is really sick, and I need to go and see him. He needs me."
And my response was, "But who will make dinner?"
This was a serious concern to me at ten years old. In my whole life, there was only one person who ever made dinner. I've mentioned before that even when we were expecting to go where another person was cooking, my mom cooked for us beforehand. Just in case, she said. Because you never know what you'll get.
When my mother returned home from California, I was extremely relieved to tell her that Daddy had taken good care of us, and that he had been able to handle all the meals like a champ. "Mommy! Mommy!" I shouted. "I had Fruit Loops for breakfast, lunch, AND dinner!"
My sister became an adult when she was, like, two, but it was about twenty years after that she took her first real foray into serious cooking. My parents were away on vacation, and Jane decided to cook Cornish hens. This seemed like a pretty big feat, and it was. She made side dishes and everything. The sides turned out okay, but not the hens. She'd cooked them upside down, and...I don't know. They weren't done right.
And I sat at the table with the sides and the messed-up hens thinking to myself (but never out loud--my sister was already crushed), "See? This is what happens when Mom's not here to cook."
(My sister has since become quite a successful preparer of all sorts of foods, even conquering the Cornish hen some time in the late nineties--Kudos! to her for not giving up.)
And it's funny, because as always, I see history repeat itself in Joey and Noah. At around five o'clock this evening, Joey looked pointedly at the door. "Should we get our shoes on?" he asked.
"Grandma's going out to dinner with Grandpa," I said.
"But who will make dinner?" he cried.