The following should be read in a very high, vibrating, operatic voice:
"Please come and eat your lunch!
I've made a meal you'll love a bunch.
Hot Dogs and Mac and Cheese!
Wash your hands, first please!"
Ok, so I'm no Andrew Lloyd Weber. Heck, I'm not even a Dr. Seuss! But, apparently, I am the original (and possibly the one and only) Opera Lunch Mom.
Opera Lunch was invented when my youngest 2 were still in diapers. It was born out of a moment of sheer desperation. Here's what happened:
You know how they whine because they are hungry and you, being the Roaring Mom you are, won't allow them to have a snack because you actually have lunch planned that day and you are determined to stick to the schedule because some Super-Anal Mom made you feel guilty last week about the fact the her entire life is condensed neatly into a day timer, even down to when Little Susie sits on the pot? You know those times? Well, this was one of those times. So I bear the bickering and complaining, and I stick to the schedule. As planned, I fix the lunch that's on the menu exactly at the time that I am supposed to. I set the table and distribute the portions precisely. Then, I walk calmly to the play room and invite the precious, darlings to head to the bathroom to wash hands because lunch is served. But, once again, I must be speaking Swahili, because no one moves. No one even acknowledges my presence.
So, I try the deep breathing, the counting to ten, the Love and Logic questions. "Would you like to eat your lunch or would you like to go hungry?" Only I know that I could never let them go hungry, because...because...well, because that wasn't part of the plan. I was actually on time and organized and prepared today and, dang it, they are going to sit at the table I prepared and eat the lunch I cooked for them.
I feel the frustration waxing and my patience waning and I wonder if Little Susie's mom ever speaks Swahili and then I remember that's a big NO, because the entire family (even the newborn) takes French lessons Wednesdays at 10:00! I want to yell. I want to throw something. I want to take away every toy that is sucking their attention from the bountiful feast I so lovingly heated in the microwave!
Then, like an epiphany from on high, Opera Lunch is created. I sing, with all the volume and vibrato I can muster, that lunch awaits them in the kitchen. They giggle. I belt Verse 2! They belly laugh and follow me to the kitchen. Then, to my amazement, one of them belts out, "Can I have some ketchup pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeease?" And so goes the entire meal! And several more for the rest of the summer.
Opera Lunch mutated many times that summer. Sometimes it was the Getting Ready for Bed Opera. Sometimes it was the Wash the Dishes Opera. We even had a Get Your Hiney Out of Bed Opera.
Someone asked me the other day why 2 of my 4 kids enjoyed performing so much. I told them it was because they had such a dork for a mom. Then I explained Opera Lunch. The guy rolled his eyes and said, "That's weird." And it probably is. But it's also much better than a summer of memories of a frustrated, guilt-ridden Yelling Mom trying desperately to succeed as Super-Anal Mom when she just isn't. She's Opera Lunch Mom. And, even though her kids are teens, she still speaks Swahili. And she didn't even have to go to class to learn it.
Take that, Super-Anal Mom!