The Joy of Frozen Lasagna

You’re a stay-at-home mother of three. And it’s going to be one of those days. You can tell.

You haven’t slept well for a few nights. You’ve got a perpetual low-grade headache. There are million things to do. The whole world rests on your shoulders.

How did motherhood happen? You wanted to be a writer once. You wanted to be a journalist, or a novelist. “Hah hah!” your brain often reminds you. “A writer! That’s a good one!”

You’re a soccer mom now. The laundry pile always grows. The dog always wants outside. Your husband always asks for clean underwear. And what in God’s name are you going to have for supper tonight?

Supper. This question plagues your life like a recurring case of Bangkok Flu. “What’s for supper?” your kids are always asking. Sometimes, even strange neighborhood children appear from the shadows simply to ask this question. Occasionally you fantasize about setting fire to your house just to avoid this question.

Making dinner is not as easy as it sounds because it means you must cook something EVERYONE loves. If you don’t, your children might refuse to eat and they might get so skinny that school teachers will alert Child Protective Services to haul you away because the word around school is that your kids are starting to look like refugee prisoners on a hunger strike.

And when the school counselor finally asks your child why he’s been losing weight, your son will simply burst into tears and says, “My mom always makes frozen lasagna!”

On second thought, Child Protective Services can have that child.

Speaking of kids. Their extra-curricular schedules get more complex every day. There’s volleyball practice. Baseball practice. Your youngest wants to go to her friend’s after-school party at the “ball pit.” Truthfully, you don’t even know what a ball pit is or whether it’s safe. So you pack her a turkey sandwich.

At the end of this tiring day, still the question of supper remains. You check the fridge and realize that you’re out of everything, even frozen lasagna. Great. Just great.

You slam the fridge and you say, “Well, [cuss word]!”

Your youngest daughter is listening. She says, “Mom, you said [cuss word].”

“No, Mommy didn’t.”

“But I heard you say [cuss word].”

“I don’t care what you heard.”

“Can I say [cuss word] too?”

“No.”

“How about [different cuss word], can I say that one?”

“Go ask your dad.”

The worst part is that nobody notices you. They claim to care, but they certainly don’t show it. You can’t remember the last time you did anything fun.

Last week your friend Margaret said she was going on a cruise with her husband. A CRUISE?! You were so jealous that your toes curled. Margaret was so excited, talking about all the fruity drinks she was going to have in Cozumél. Drinks with names like “Moscow Mule,” and “Juicy Lucy,” and “Sand in Your Crack.”

You’d give anything to be adrift in international waters right now sipping a Bahama Mama.

You always thought life would be different. As a young woman you were an aspiring author. People said you had talent. You won a few writing contests when you were seventeen. You majored in English for crying out loud.

But life stepped in. You married him. And he gave you them. Of course you love them, but your son needs new gym shorts, your daughter is using four-letter words, and your kids are about to be hungrier than baby wolverines in one hour.

You’d better go grocery shopping. If you don’t hurry, tonight’s supper is going to consist of expired cottage cheese and a side of canned pumpkin.

So you rush to the supermarket. You sprint through the aisles. You race back home. You pull into your driveway, jog up the sidewalk, open your door, and you see your husband waiting for you in the den. He’s all alone. He’s wearing a strange look on his face.

Something is wrong.

“Will you come with me?” he says, jingling the car keys. “I want to show you something.”

“What?”

He asks again.

You say, “I can’t go anywhere, I have to make dinner.” You’re getting worried now. This is weird.

“Dinner can wait, Carrie,” he says.

He crawls into the driver’s seat. He drives you across town. And you have this looming feeling. You’re not sure what this is about and he’s not talking.

He pulls into the parking lot of a little office complex. He is at the back door, fiddling with the lock. He opens the door.

He leads you through a long corridor until you reach a door with a nameplate on it. The plate bears your name. Before you can ask a question he throws the door open.

Your children are waiting inside. “SURPRISE!” they yell.

In the center of a mostly empty office is a desk. On the desk sits a brand new laptop, still in the box. There is an office chair, and family pictures hanging on the walls.

“What’s all this?” you ask.

“It’s your own private writing office,” says your husband.

“Yeah, Mom,” says your son. “So you can write that book.”

Then they swarm you. And you don’t stand a chance against their mass hug. You’re holding them. They’re holding you. Everyone is holding each other tightly. And you’re thinking, “Who needs cruise ships when you own the whole world?”

“Happy birthday, Mom,” your kids say.

Your husband says the same thing.

Here is to a grand forty-sixth birthday for Carrie the Super-Mom.

20 comments

  1. Sandi. - February 10, 2020 8:19 am

    Sean, you’ve given Carrie another fantastic birthday gift by writing about her in this post! Please somehow make sure that she and her family members read every word of it.

    Reply
  2. Harriet White - Atlanta - February 10, 2020 8:52 am

    I’m a mom with 3 kids too. I just signed up for a writing class and I am getting killed in that class. But I’m going to keep going back because the teacher is trying her best to teach me something about writing a short story. She keeps saying “ who is your POV (point of view) character?” And “keep it in present tense.” I’m all over the place with writing. Anyway, this story really spoke to me. Thank you Sean.

    Reply
  3. Sandi. - February 10, 2020 9:05 am

    All the very best to you in your writing endeavors, Harriet. You can do it!

    Reply
  4. Lita - February 10, 2020 9:08 am

    Beautiful story to start the week. Thank you, Sean. Happy Birthday, Carrie.

    Reply
  5. Naomi - February 10, 2020 10:24 am

    That was me over 40 years ago except that I was a single mother with two children, working all of the time and going to graduate school. My job required me to travel a lot, either by car or plane so I had to get someone to watch my kids. One time my brother came to visit, he wanted to know why the only thing I had in my refrigerator was a pitcher of water. Also, my children were in sports. My son played little league baseball and then soccer in high school; my daughter was a cheerleader. My apartment was always full of their friends who also wanted something to eat. They are both in their 50s now and have grown children and grandchildren. I finally got to write that book when I was in my 60s.

    Reply
  6. Elizabeth - February 10, 2020 11:22 am

    You did a great job describing a mom’s life.

    Reply
  7. Harriet White - Atlanta - February 10, 2020 12:27 pm

    Thank you Sandi!

    Reply
  8. Connie Havard Ryland - February 10, 2020 12:29 pm

    Most mins are super moms. Whether they are the stay (and work) at home ones or the work away from home ones. I’ve been both. You did a great job of describing a day in the life of. It is at once the hardest and most satisfying job in the world. Love you and your way with words.

    Reply
  9. Shelton A. - February 10, 2020 2:19 pm

    Write that book, Carrie, and pour your heart and soul into it! Bravo, Dad and kids! Way to put Mom first.

    Reply
  10. sdatexas - February 10, 2020 2:22 pm

    It’s love at first write! Make the most of this gift. What a wonderful family you have! This story has given inspired me to git off my kester and put some words on silicon. TY

    Reply
  11. MermaidGrammy - February 10, 2020 5:00 pm

    Happy Birthday to everyone! And SDATexas – get off your keister and take someone to dinner

    Reply
  12. Linda Moon - February 10, 2020 5:06 pm

    Mom years eventually end…..somewhat. My times with young children who needed supper have ended, but the adult son who was a skinny kid still sometimes complains about my suppers, EXCEPT for my Home-made Lasagna. HIM and THEM have always been the joy of my whole world. There were other accomplishments I achieved, and those years ended with happy retirement. Carrie will become an accomplished writer! Happy Birthday to Carrie!

    Reply
  13. Berryman Mary M - February 10, 2020 7:05 pm

    Hearing “What’s for dinner?” would send chills up my spine. My late husband and I both worked at a hospital and when we were newlyweds he would pop down to the lab where I worked and ask LOUDLY and for all to hear, “What’s for dinner?” It was like an eternally recurring case of Bangkok flu. I still cringe!

    Reply
  14. Brenda - February 10, 2020 8:00 pm

    That was perfect, I’m sure a lot of young moms appreciated every word.

    Reply
  15. that is jack - February 11, 2020 12:12 am

    My kind of writer. I love good endings. I might read something else you write now.
    Sending good stuff in thoughts.
    Sherry & jack in NC

    Reply
  16. Dawn A Bratcher - February 11, 2020 5:54 am

    Yay! They do care and are watching! Happy Birthday, Carrie! 🥳👏💐🎉

    Reply
  17. Mary - February 11, 2020 4:16 pm

    THIS one made my eyes leak. BAD! Happy Birthday, Carrie. Your family sees you.

    Reply
  18. Donnie - February 11, 2020 4:48 pm

    Delightful, sure hope it is true. Like a fairytale!

    Reply
  19. Mandy - February 12, 2020 12:48 am

    Bravo Sean!
    It’s about time that I read something positive about men today.
    I rarely these days hear much good about the American male. Mind you, I’m a 60 year old woman.
    Even on tv, men are the dorks, goofy ,stupid.
    With all of this women empowerment, which is fine, but we shouldn’t forget that men are caring, loving and deserve better than what they are getting now. I’ve got a man like in your story and I wouldn’t take a bluegrass farm for him!

    Reply
  20. johnallenberry - February 15, 2020 3:18 pm

    Seems like Carrie’s husband has been reading up on his Virginia Woolfe! Good luck, Carrie! Can’t wait for your book! Enjoy your ‘Room of Her Own.”

    PhDude

    Reply

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