The broccoli cheese chicken soup sits sputtering happily on the stove. Taquitos, chicken nuggets, and other various foods of frozen goodness start to sizzle on the pan in the oven. The cheese ball of amazingness has been purchased from Kent’s Supermarket because everyone knows that their green onion cheese ball blows all other cheese-balls away. This is the tornado of cheese-balls. Assorted crackers have been beautifully arranged on the very old and underused cracker platter. They look so much more appetizing in a pretty circle than they do coming out of the box.
Mom moves the soup to a hot pad on the table. I have already laid out bowls and spoons, and my stomach gnomes are starting to vehemently protest the fact that they have been neglected for hours now. Family comes. Family sits. We bless the food.
It is as if the next three seconds are three minutes. My little brother sees the bowl in front of his place at the table. He looks at the spoon. He raises his head to the pot of soup sitting innocently next to my mother.
Mom: “Uh….is there are problem son?”
Kade: “You’ve ruined EVERYTHING! It is CHRISTMAS EVE! We can’t eat soup! It isn’t finger food! How could you ruin our tradition like that!
Mom: “So don’t eat it.”
Kade stares at his plate, and eats only with his fingers. He keeps a frown on his face, and doesn't raise his head. He is showing his extreme disgust at all of our willingness to forsake our traditions without a second thought
I try to make the situation seem less tragic to him by explaining that it could indeed be counted as finger-food because you do, in fact, hold the spoon with your fingers, but alas, it gave him zilcho, zip, nada, yes , zero comfort.
Traditions have been rudely disregarded, and the day has been ruined for him....Until we get out treats, and his smile slowly returns. Then somebody farts and his brothers and father burst into laughter, while Kim and I try not to laugh, but fail as the laugh bubbles find their way out of our throats, and mom is says something about having grown up in a high class family.