I’ve not had that much white stuff on my hands since…
THEY SAY that you never stop learning, and what I learned today is – I fucking hate spreading bagels.
Now that The Youngest is in the thick of his GCSEs, however, he needs convenient and abundant fuel to take into school with him, ready to stuff into his maw at a moment’s notice.
So, like working mums and dads across the land, I get up early every morning to make the day’s tasty, nutritious, value-for-money lunches.
Around 7am, I knock out a simple cheese and salad sandwich – Mmmn, hmmn, breadmaker bread – for my daughter to take to work.
Then I turn to the mountain of food our (Six Feet Two) littlest needs to get him through the day.
At the moment, his fancy is for three (3) cream cheese and ham bagels, 6-8 TUC biscuits and a sliced Kiwi or two. He gets his own water.
So at 7.30, I set to with a will, warming up the bagels in the oven first, slicing them and letting them cool, then applying generous amounts of own brand soft cheese.
This, I find, is the tricky part. There’s something about the rounded sides that puts you off your aim.
For an eye and knife hand raised on the square, predictable loaves of the 1970s, suddenly being asked to spread round curves and around holes is a bit of a Mind Fuck.
And it’s almost impossible to do neatly.
Not wanting to short-change The Lad, I place a generous dollop on the relatively abundant dough somewhere near the hinge of the opened bagel.
Then, I attempt to herd it around the curves, whilst all the time corralling it within verifiably bread-y limits.
But what I actually do is spread it over my fingers.
A disturbingly large gob of the cheese always goes over the left hand holding the bagel in place, whilst more insinuates itself onto the right paw – which is attempting to Waltzer-whirl the three bagels in and out of the chopping board’s spreading zone.
Afterwards, I always have to wash my hands and I feel dirty. I’ve not had that much white stuff on them since before I gave up porn.
But at least, unlike porn, it’s love that causes the mess.
The reason I haul ass out of bed before everyone, every morning, and start spreading my fingers is, to a large extent, love. I want them to eat good food and feel good, and make a success of every day.
It’s also, however, about finding a place for myself. I’m not the one who earns the money, but the one who stays (mostly) at home.
I don’t earn much for holidays, or clothes, or home improvements, but I’m almost always there, doing small things for them that I hope they’ll remember with gladness as they get older.
Sometimes, I wonder whether they actually eat what I make for them – and then I recall a story my Mum once told me.
She was driving behind a man on his way to work, who wound down his window suddenly and lobbed the lunch that Wifey had made him onto some waste ground.
And I wonder what my semi-feminist mother would think of me now. Her eldest son-turned Wifey, getting up at 6.30 every morning just to spread cheese on his hands.
Me, I have to believe that it means more than that.