A few weeks back, Brody and I and the kids went out to dinner. It was one final meal before he and the girls left for Nicaragua on their mission trip.
They wanted one, last, hot dinner before 7 days of warm bottled water, granola bars and raisins became their staples. They had been before, and they knew what to expect.
My youngest, Neill, would be staying home with me.
He expected this might be his last, hot meal, as well.
Cooking has never been my thing. I can live on cheese, crackers, chocolate chips and coffee and be perfectly happy. A fact my children know well. A fact that caused Neill concern.
“You are going to have to feed me! Real food. Every day!” noted my 14-year-old growing boy.
Got it. Feed Neill.
Yes, I knew I would have to do that because 1) I’m his mother and 2) Brody put it at the top of the list he left for me.
Followed by, 2) feed dogs, 3) feed chickens, 4) gather their eggs, 5) take Neill to football practice, 6) mow the lawn, 7) clean the pool and the list went on and on…..
So for the past week, while Brody and the girls have been sleeping outside, bathing in rivers and building wells, Neill and I have been dealing with our own first-world problems.
- The Chickens. Three of our chickens were raised by a sweet young man from baby chicks and are very tame. The other two were purchased at an outdoor flea market, and I’m pretty sure were used in cockfighting. All were fed. All were watered. We even shared their eggs with our neighbors. There was one prison break from the coop. It lasted about an hour. A battle ensued between the dogs and the chickens. I did a lot of screaming. It didn’t help. Those flea market chickens play dirty. Came in handy. Chickens 1. Dogs 0.
- The Storm. Neill and I were thankfully home when the storm hit that weekend. The power went out. The alarm then went crazy. Lawn furniture hit our window. A small tree came down. We didn’t know where Brody put the flashlights. I made Neill sleep downstairs. I am now an official storm watcher. Neill probably has PTSD from all the weather updates I made sure to share with him.
- The Pool. During the storm, with all the power going in and out, something happened. Loud noises ensued. Burning, smoking pump. Pool pump is no longer running. Call made to have it fixed. Will take a week. Silver lining — no point in cleaning the pool. It will be green by the time Brody gets home. Not my fault.
- The Cows. We don’t have any. Now we do. Somehow, they got loose from somewhere. They staged a sit-in on my front lawn. I wasn’t sure who to call. I made Neill and the dogs stay in. The chickens had to fend for themselves. Chickens 2. Cows 0.
- Football practice. There is this rule about not missing. Although Brody had limited telephone service, somehow he climbed a mountain just to get service to remind me of this fact. So, yes, Neill made all his practices. All is well with the world.
- Feeding Neill. One warm meal was prepared by yours truly, at least once a day. Sometimes even two. I ate crackers and cheese most meals. We shared a bowl of chocolate chips, which made us both happy.
And a few times, we even did things not on the list.
We spent a whole day watching every episode of “The Office” on Netflix and laughed for hours. He walked at the park with me every day just because he didn’t think I should go by myself. I taught him how to bake a cake from scratch. He showed me how to kick a football. And each night, he hugged me goodnight before making sure all the doors were locked before we went to bed.
As memories go, I’ll always remember the week Neill and I didn’t go to Nicaragua.