My son stood in front of the open refrigerator, door wide open, staring at the contents. The light spilled out onto the floor, where it turned the tile a brighter shade of white. The cold air cascaded from the opening in a mist of fog that quickly dissipated in the summer heat. My son was transfixed, as if waiting—I suppose—for something appealing to suddenly materialize on the shelf in front of him.
“Close the refrigerator!” I scolded. “Figure out what you want before you open the door. Don’t browse.” I have yet to figure out why I have to say this so often….
He closed the door. “There’s nothing to eat in this house.”
I don’t know how that can be. Before I went to the grocery store yesterday, I asked him if there was anything he wanted me to get. All he said was sub rolls. I got the sub rolls, so he really has nothing to complain about.
But that is neither here nor there. I’d rather take a step back and examine the habit of standing in front of the open refrigerator door.
From the kid perspective, I can understand the disappointment of opening to fridge with the expectation of something great only to find nothing that you want to eat. I can almost understand the need to wait and hope for something appetizing to appear. Because really, if you stand there long enough, staring at the available options, something may eventually inspire the palate, right? A combination that wasn’t previously realized might become evident. Something worth eating must be contained in the refrigerator somewhere, mustn’t it? Search long and search hard, and eventually you will find it.
From the parent perspective, particularly the single parent perspective, I see the cost of standing in front of the open fridge—the energy wasted. I see the food that was purchased only yesterday being cast aside as inedible simply because the teen might have been eating that food last week (with great fondness), but the same teen doesn’t care for that particular food item this week–and won’t care for it until well after it spoils.
Yes, there are two perspectives to this problem, both justified, and I am in search of the win-win solution. The solution would be a refrigerator in which amazingly appealing food will appear, as if by magic, when you open it. That would solve this problem once and for all. And it might solve another problem or two, as well….
“What’s for dinner, Mom?”
“I don’t know. Open the refrigerator and see.”