If you’re hungry and you’re in town, you’re welcome at my Mama’s house for dinner. In my family, we feed each other to take care of each other.
Mealtimes are sacred in my Mama’s house. You show up on time. You try everything that’s offered. You never turn down dessert. You had better make conversation. And you’re delusional if you think you’re going to look at your phone.
This isn’t to imply though, that meal-times are stuffy, staid affairs. In fact they’re quite the opposite. My family is the loud-talking, shout-y sort of close. So when all sit down to eat together, there is always some sort of excitement.
When I was studying for Step 1, Mama would call me at lunch time to insist I head on down to her house for some food. She felt like it was important to break me out of my study cave at least once a day.
Back then, she was watching both of my nephews during the day, so lunch was always a big, loud affair. Lunch would include, me, my Mama, my Dad, my nephew Clayton, who was five at the time, and my nephew Corbin who was one.
One day, I was particularly stressed, but went to lunch anyway. I figured food and family could only distract me in a positive sort of way.
However, I was unprepared for Corbin that day. He was going through a throwing phase. I’m talking throwing everything. His cutlery. His peas. His water cup. His fork and spoon. If it wasn’t tied down it was going flying.
In my head, I thought Wow, he’s being an a—hole today. Which, I recognize isn’t a particularly kind sentiment to think about a baby, but at that point I was covered in peas and tired of dodging cutlery.
This would have been just another lunch at Mama’s, except I didn’t just think it in my head. I accidentally said it out loud. Which still wouldn’t have been so terrible except my other nephew heard and became indignant.
He started screeching at my parents. “Pop!” “Git!” “Aunt Cait called my brother an a—hole!” “My brother’s not an a—hole!”
I was horrified and embarrassed. I looked to my mother to apologize and to try to get her to diffuse the situation. She looked at me and then at my screeching nephew and lost it.
She started laughing and then I started laughing and then we couldn’t stop. We were laughing so hard we were crying.
My dad just sort of looked at us, like Really guys? Really? He did not intervene and he did not laugh, which only made it funnier.
Eventually, I got it together enough to stammer out “Rascal.”
I told Clay it was okay, that I had just called his brother a “rascal.” This sent my mother into further peals of laughter, but did seem to appease Clay enough that he stopped yelling “A—HOLE” at the top of his lungs.
This became one of those legendary family stories that I’ll never live down. To this day, when my mother is frustrated with any of us, she just calmly looks over and says “Stop being a rascal.”