One Big, Happy Family Meal

>> Friday, July 6, 2007

“You’re chocolate milk.”

“I am?”

Like a picture from a Norman Rockwell painting, our family sat together at the dining room table eating our colorfully-wrapped food from Wendy’s. (What? You haven’t seen that painting?) Then Elizabeth began to compare us to her favorite fast-food meal. Apparently, if I was a tasty beverage, I would be chocolate milk. Elizabeth likes chocolate milk, so I took that as a compliment.

“Yes,” she said. “You’re cold chocolate milk, and everybody drinks from you.”

Well, ain’t that the truth, I thought. This was getting interesting. “So, what are you?” I asked.

“I’m chicken nuggets!” Ah, perfect -- she has self-esteem. That's her favorite part of the meal. It's what she asks for when she wants to be happy. Can I have chicken nuggets, please?!

“And Samantha?”

“She’s French fries.” That makes sense. In Elizabeth’s eyes, Samantha is the favorite salty side dish. You can’t have nuggets without the welcome accompaniment of fries. They go hand-in-hand -- fries following nuggets wherever they go.

“And what’s Daddy?”

“He’s dressing!”

Dressing? I didn’t get that at first. Surely Daddy warrants more than dressing. But Elizabeth won’t even eat her nuggets without Ranch dressing. It’s absolutely essential. Ranch dressing adds flavor to an otherwise dry, tasteless piece of chicken meat. So of course, he’s dressing.

Her game ended there as she ran out of foods. We seldom hand over the small Frosty’s that come with a Wendy’s Kid’s Meal. I know -- it’s sacrilege. But after fried chicken, fried potatoes and chocolate milk, I start to feel guilty and can’t bare to watch them eat anymore sugar. But I’m sure that if Elizabeth had to name a family member after a Frosty, it would be Grandma -- the special treat of the meal.

Yes, we are one big happy family meal -- loved and enjoyed by Elizabeth. But there is someone else she loves -- someone perhaps even more special.

"I love him," she states.

"You do?" We have just ordered our food through the intercom and said good-bye to the guy who takes our money.

"Yes. I love him. He's a stranger and I love him. Because he gives me nuggets."

Huh. If we, the family, are the meal, then who is the guy who provides the meal? Whoa.

(What kind of food are you?)

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