The Traditional Nuclear Family
A short story about a traditional nuclear family and the love that makes them special.
"Momma!" I turned from the counter where I had been setting out sandwich makings.
Jordan, my seven year old son, held out the ketchup in one hand and the mustard in the other.
"Which one do you want me to get?"
"Both! These are going to be special sandwiches."
Jared, my ten year old, put the pickles, lettuce and tomatoes on the counter. He carefully began to cut tiny slivers of tomato onto a plate.
"Can I have a triple decker, Mom?" Jared looked so mature with the cutting board in front of him. He had grown so tall he no longer had to use a step stool to work on the counter.
I pretended to think about it for a moment. "Sure, like I said, these are going to be special sandwiches."
"All right!" Jordan danced his way to the counter, pausing every few beats for a double boogie. He loves food and dancing almost equally.
"You are so cool, Mom!" Jared hurriedly finished cutting the tomatoes.
"You boys clean up your messes so you won't have so much to do later!" Grandma wielded the bread knife like an expert. Her hands were shaky, but she steadied them against the table and cut into the thick loaf of home made bread.
She had surgery the year before that had left her unable to walk. Since she was no longer able to completely take care of herself, we all decided to move into a larger house together. It was a difficult decision, one that required compromises from all of us.
Grandma stacked neatly cut slices of bread on a plate in front of her on the table. The boys and I moved everything else to the table so she would be able to reach the goodies before we started on the sandwiches.
As my children and their Grandmother began to put together their special sandwiches I came to a realization. Our lives were like these sandwiches. Separately the items on the table were just bread, cheese, vegetables and meat. All good in their own ways. Together, though, they were special. It was up to us, as a family, to make something out of the raw ingredients. A very special family sandwich.
So what if, as the mother/caretaker, I am the true embodiment of the Sandwich Generation. I am surrounded by love.