Cookies for dinner

Dinner planning can be tricky, but I thought I had an idea that would work for the whole family: kabobs.

I sliced up peppers and onions. I marinated chunks of beef. Then I slipped them onto skewers and broiled them. I also cooked a large piece of fresh salmon—because not everyone here likes beef—and a pan of tomatoes. And I made some rice, because who doesn’t love rice with kabobs?

When everything was ready, I called my family to dinner—and they came.

Then, while my back was turned, someone slipped a chocolate chip cookie onto his dinner plate. It made sense to him. Who wouldn’t want a freshly-baked cookie for dinner? Why else would the cookies be sitting on the kitchen table?

Nine-year-olds have different perspectives on the world.

Later as I was cleaning up after dinner, I found myself thinking that sometimes God gives me a plate full of salmon and rice and veggies, but I keep reaching for the cookie.

So often I have the daily bread I need, but I’m still asking for a little something more. I want the homework to get done without much effort, the toys to be picked up, the children to get along perfectly, the school days to begin and end on time. I want the week to go smoothly with no huge challenges along the way.

Still, I have to admit that even when we hit bumps in the road—as we always do—I have what I need. My plate is full of the food that will get me through the week. And often what I’m asking for isn’t what I need, but the equivalent of the chocolate chip cookie next to the salmon.

Especially as I’ve been toying with what I might give up for Lent this year, I am realizing just how great I have it. Everything I think about sacrificing is something that is truly a luxury—like a warm chocolate chip cookie for dinner.

Life has its challenges and disappointments, of course. But I also have so, so much to be grateful for.

I hope you do, too.

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Rita Buettner

Rita Buettner

Rita Buettner is a wife, working mother and author of the Catholic Review's Open Window blog. She and her husband adopted their two sons from China, and Rita often writes about topics concerning adoption, family and faith.

Rita also writes The Domestic Church, a featured column in the Catholic Review. Her writing has been honored by the Catholic Press Association, the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association and the Associated Church Press.