Saturday, after spending the early part of the day eating deep fried Oreos (which I highly recommend) at the Wisconsin State Fair, my sister-in-law surprised us by making cookie dough for us to eat with a spoon. It was delicious, and we happily consumed a bowl of it each. But this was no regular cookie dough – it was made with chickpeas and modest amounts of peanut butter and brown sugar. No eggs. No butter. Lots of yummy, only a little guilt.
(It really is pretty good – here’s the recipe.)
Cliff isn’t a big chickpea fan, and frankly they aren’t my favorite legume either. But, as Mary Poppins says, a spoonful of sugar makes the chickpeas go down.
So here’s the big question of my day: how can you be sugar to the chickpeas your spouse has to eat? When your husband or wife is facing something unpleasant (big or small), how can you make things a little better? How can you make the day lighter, the trip more fun, the doctor’s visit more peaceful, the big work project less of a hassle? How can you add a silver lining? Take a good day and make it great?
Cliff managed this for me at the end of vacation last week. It was just Friday, and the weekend was still ahead, but already we were feeling the “vacation is over” blues. I’d kept away from the work email all week long, but suddenly I was worrying about what was waiting there; Cliff was making mental to do lists. And laundry! I was already dreading the piles that would form as we unpacked.
Rather than letting this overtake the last days of our vacation, Cliff made a suggestion. “Let’s find a way to give each other two things, over the next two days, that make it still feel like vacation.” He wasn’t talking about physical things – more like actions that would keep us in a vacation state of mind. And so we did.
Over the next 48 hours I let him pick the deep fried Oreos at the State Fair, and then kept the kids entertained so he could watch the USA/Spain basketball finals in the Olympics. He cleared time for me to run (I decided not to – it was vacation, after all), and made supper for the kids so I could eat on my own later (buttered popcorn – my favorite guilty pleasure meal). We watched an episode of Newsroom while our daughter napped. And we both resisted the temptation to check work email on Sunday night.
Now we’re back at work, and though I like my job it still feels a bit like swallowing a a hearty spoonful of unseasoned chickpeas. I know Cliff is feeling the same way, and I vow to find a way to help the medicine go down. Also, I could use a bowl of cookie dough right now.