Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Lucas and the Pop Tarts

So a vacation recap will have to wait for the weekend (when I'm the editor-in-call, too). This week is just too full for Sarah and I to connect to compare names-of-places notes.

Besides catching up at work, we celebrated Joshua's 30th birthday (which was Sunday, but he had to work) last night, which turned into a late night, which turned into a night of "Crap, I have Rebekah's sore throat."


When I was a very little girl, one of my most favorite places to be was my Grandma Jecmen's house on South Parnell in Chicago, a large bunglalow altered to house two related families separately. Her kitchen was a former porch that my grandfather coverted; her bathroom was a former closet.

Although happy memories of time spent with her galore abound, from her Solo prize-winning poppyseed coffeecake that I have never tasted since because my grandfather took his recipe to the grave with him, her pork tenderloins, and the hissing of the percolator at 3:30 a.m. while I sat and peered into the dark night while she prepared breakfast for my Grandpa Jecmen, the one that popped up in Raleigh was frosted Grape Pop Tarts.

You see, when we cut through the alley and walked to Jewel, she would buy me things I couldn't have at home, like Pepsi in a bottle (which I could drink straight from the bottle, not poured over ice cubes into a plastic cup) and peanut butter that I could eat cold, from the refrigerator with a spoon, and frosted Grape Pop Tarts.

One morning, perhaps it was a weekend morning, for my grandfather was not at work, and my mother was at the house (which was rare), my grandmother slept in, and I was served up a bowl of Product 19 with warm milk for breakfast.

It was totally gross, and I was getting in trouble for not eating it, while my grandfather and mother talked abotu stupid stuff. I dawdled, waiting for my grandmother. Sure enough, when she entered the kitchen, she dumped the cereal and prepared two Grape Pop Tarts.

Sidebar: although long discontinued, a special edition was brought back this past year, a box of which Rebekah and Daniel brought home for me.

So we're in Wal-Mart picking up a few groceries, and Lucas wants to buy a box of Pop Tarts in one of two new flavors. Sarah quickly denied the request and kept shopping. But I told Lucas the story of my grandmother and assured him that I was on his side, and off we went to check out the Pop Tarts.

Now here's the thing. Because I have food allergies, and because a couple of the ingredients in the new flavors of Pop Tarts were unknown to me, I wasn't keen to try them, but I did not want to miss out on having Pop Tarts, which I never buy.

There was no way Lucas was eating Pop Tarts without me getting some, too.

So I showed him the "safe" brands: strawberry and blueberry (plain and frosted) and, of course, Grape Frosted.

Lucas, with the stubborness of an 8-year-old boy that always knows what he wants (although he will tell you he's a 9-year-old teenager), wanted one of the two NEW flavors. By now, Sarah had found us, saw what I was doing, and stressed that the Grape ones were "special" -- and pointed out where it said so on the box.

That didn't convince Lucas. Not even close.

So Sarah made this deal: if Lucas chose a variety I could eat, NEXT TIME, he could get the ones he wanted, a huge deal because Sarah, a recent health-conscious vegan, does not serve up Pop Tarts to Lucas, for breakfast or otherwise.

Lucas debated. He wheedled. He considered.

He did NOT want anything I wanted.

Sarah's reaction: Well, okay then,. Let's go home, SANS Pop Tarts.

No, wait!

Lucas was torn. For twenty minutes, he was torn.

Well, how about Fudge Pop Tarts?

Now, I wouldn't budge either. Fudge Pop Tarts? Gross!

Sarah reiterated her bargain. Lucas wrestled with himself. He had me re-read the ingredients. Nope!

Well, how about Cinnamon Swirl Pop Tarts?

This time, I considered. Lucas suggested it because we had all splurged on CinnaBuns earlier in the week. The only time I'd had a CinnaBun was years ago, when Sarah was in high school. She loved them and split one with me at the mall. It was a delicious memory, so we indulged again.

Lucas brandished a box of Cinnamon Swirl for me to read the ingredients. Totally safe.

I conceded.

Off he went to check-out, proudly holding his box of Cinnamon Swirl Pop Tarts, happy and confident in the knowledge that NEXT TIME, he would get his first choice. Sarah is awesome; she will uphold her end of the deal.

So why is this significant to me?

Lucas and I now share a bond from my past.

Lucas waged war between his primal and higher self, with the higher self prevailing.

He learned concession and delayed gratification.

He saw how compromise on two sides can lead to resolution.

Neither of us left with first choice. But we both left with something we could enjoy together.

And when we had Pop Tarts for dessert that night, it was a sweet treat on so many levels.

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