Orange Jell-O

A long weekend is the perfect time to dig through the pantry to find canned goods you can pass along—you know, like the two boxes of orange Jell-O that have been sitting on a shelf for months.

I’m never sure why we have Jell-O on hand. Maybe if we were a household where people were often having their tonsils removed, it would make sense. But I never think to make Jell-O because…well…it’s Jell-O. Jell-O isn’t eel sushi or fried cockroaches for me. It’s certainly edible, and I know there are many people who like it. I just would not seek it out.

And, in this moment, I didn’t hesitate. I dropped the Jell-O into our bag of foods to give away.

Minutes later, though, our second grader came bouncing into the room, spotted the Jell-O, and pulled it out of the bag.

“Jell-O!” he said. “Orange Jell-O! Can we make it? Today?”

I can say no to this child—truly, I can—but not over such a simple request.

So I boiled the water, stirred the powder in, and put the dish in the refrigerator for a few hours. When it was ready, I called Daniel to the kitchen.

He proudly carried the whole tray of Jell-O to the table, stuck his finger into it, and declared that he had “dibsed” it—as in “I have dibs on that,” but with a different approach to the grammar. I noticed that no one argued with him or asked him to share.

Then he filled a plate with Jell-O and sat and ate it, happy as can be.

I don’t know what this week has in store for you. But I hope that at least some part of it brings as much pleasure as a serving of orange Jell-O brought our son.

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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.