My house is an official disaster zone these days. We were out of the country for two weeks over Christmas and celebrated again last weekend with the family members who didn't join us on our trip. Needless to say, the tree is still up and the new toys are EVERYWHERE.
In spite of this, last night I made the decision to cook a decent meal. When the preparations began, all three kids appeared in the kitchen. Dawson was under foot tearing into every cabinet and scattering stuff so far that cooking became a literal balancing act for me. Aiden brought all of his new toys into the room with him and then emptied every piece of paper from the printer. Mackenzie sat at the bar drawing, cutting and pasting. It's nothing short of a miracle that we got from the stove to the table with narry a burned hand or a broken ankle, let alone a fully cooked meal.
When we sat down to eat, I was exhausted. My pickiest eater, Mackenzie, said, "Mama, this is really good."
I paused in dismay for it was neither pizza nor hotdogs she was talking about. "Really, mama, I think you should make this meal all of the time."
"Hooray!" my heart shouted. Tonight it was worth all of the mess. And then in walked my husband.
"Honey, you don't mind if a few guys come by in about 20 minutes to play some poker do you?"
"You've got to be kidding me. I mean have you looked around? I would be humiliated for anyone to see the house like this."
"Oh don't worry about it," he said and began to eat.
Sure enough 20 minutes later - dishes still on the counter, kids naked and wet from their baths - in walked the players. To make matters worse, they did not come directly into the kitchen like most guests, but into the front walking through the entire house - Christmas explosion and all.
After the kids were in bed I walked into the game so I could clean up the kitchen. I was too embarrassed to leave the mess alone. When I finished, they invited me to play. I declined. Big games are not a good place to learn the ropes.
They managed to talk me into being the all time dealer. My husband, an experienced player, was impressed. I guess sitting there while he watched the World Series of Poker paid off. To my surprise, by the end of the night I had $60 in tips in my pocket.
It was the first time I can remember that the price of humility was paid in cash.