All the World’s a Stage…

Until I was ten, I used to get sent away from the dinner table on a regular basis for being melodramatic. If lying perpendicular across my chair with my hand thrown over my face moaning “I can’t eat my peas. They are disgusting!” is melodramatic, I guess my parents were well within their rights.

They learned early on that forcing me to eat something would only end in spiteful vomiting, so that was off the table. Sending me to my room after I’d eaten all the parts of my dinner that I wanted to eat and forcing me to use my imagination to entertain myself wasn’t a very effective punishment, but I suppose my parents cared a lot more for a peaceful adult meal than they did for negative reinforcement. What I admire most, in retrospect, was my mother’s incredible composure as her oldest child thrashed over canned vegetables like a fish drowning on the sand. She would dab her mouth with her napkin and quietly say, “Darling, you are not onstage. I think it’s time for you to go to your room so the rest of us can enjoy our dinner.”

Which is why I never begrudge her the archness in her voice whenever she says, “I can’t wait till you have children.”


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