My Kid Had to Cut Up MY Dinner Tonight

It's not the first time it's happened, but the second night in a row, and it's really wearing me down emotionally as much as physically: I'm not an elderly person, but this young man, still a teenager and not even able to drive yet, had to help his mother cut up her food before she could eat it. I'm the one who did this for him not so very long ago, didn't I? And didn't I just cook that very dinner we're all sitting down to eat together?

Yes, and yes.

That drives me nuts.

I could almost get through the two hours of cooking -- food prep, actual time in front of the stove, finishing up and serving. Most days, I need help there at the end with tongs, and certainly with heavy pots, and even plating food. The kids help with all of that.

But when I sat down to eat and dropped the fork because my left hand is doing an increasingly lousy job of, well, everything during this most recent flare, my sixteen-year-old son had to help me cut up my own chicken.

And just realizing it made me almost break down in tears at the table.

I know it's a sign I've raised him right. He did not hesitate to help. And he did it again tonight, again without complaint, while his own food cooled. I did it for him and his siblings for years... but this is different. This is me needing the help and feeling horrible about it.

I don't think someone without a progressive and unpredictable condition like RA really understands the emotional toll that can take on a person. It was pretty much all I could do to get through dinner by making ridiculously obvious attempts to lighten the mood by talking about what I planned on adding to the Christmas Eve buffet this year. And it was horrible.

I don't know how it made the kids feel, and that almost makes it even worse. How do they see me? How do they see their own roles in my life, and my role in theirs?

Compassion is one of those things I hope comes from this, from growing up with a mom who has lots of chronic conditions -- epilepsy, asthma, chronic bronchitis, and RA. It defines much of the shape of their own lives. And I resent it bitterly, even though I see that it also provides opportunities for them to learn patience and understanding, along with the selflessness that comes from cutting up your mom's dinner before your own.

It's been a hard couple of weeks, but it's also been wonderful in a lot of ways. The kids rise to the occasion.

I only wish they didn't have to do it quite so often.


By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy. We never sell or share your email address.

More on this topic

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

or create an account to comment.