Prompt: Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors). There were many transcendent moments this year, but a particular one came quickly to mind that leaves them all in the dust. A few weeks ago, Robert was having dinner with some friends, so it was just me, the kids, and my half-hearted cooking efforts. That night it was hot dogs and canned fruit.
I was trying to think of ways to make it more interesting and special. One of my parenting axioms is the harder thing is the easier thing. Things flow better when I put in a little extra effort up front---the kids respond with delight and it's fun for everyone. This isn't always easy, especially when I'm tired myself. But it almost always pays off and, paradoxically, often requires less energy than just half-a**ing it.
Anyway, I decided that we'd eat by candlelight, so that night's "harder thing" was digging up a bunch of votive candles from all over the house for our table.
We had some speckly bananas that were not going to be palatable on cereal the next morning, so I decided we'd have bananas dipped in chocolate syrup for dessert. We put them on bamboo skewers, and I squirted some Hershey's into four little ceramic cups that were given to us as part of a chopsticks set but we use for everything under the sun---beads for craft projects, sunflower seeds during snack time, you name it.
After the bananas had been devoured, Caroline said wistfully, "There's gotta be something else we can dip in this chocolate." I balked at first and then thought 'why not?'" And then it came to me: marshmallows! So I gave everyone a generous handful for dipping into the extra chocolate.
I think you know what is coming.
Sticks... marshmallows... open flames...
Yes, next thing we knew, we were roasting marshmallows in our suburban kitchen. What made it even more awesomely awesome? They were mini-marshmallows.
Thankfully, three-year-old James was not interested in roasting, though he was more than happy to eat what I roasted. I think these were his first roasted marshmallows. I put the goo-covered stick into his mouth for him to sample, and the minute I pulled it out (clean), he started giggling uncontrollably. Yes, that is the right response to a roasted marshmallow.
I was the only one who set any on fire. Those little buggers go FAST.
As for what happened next, this should give you an idea: