Let me say right off the bat: This blog is not directed at you, BrightSide.  You were totally cool when I talked to you about all this and you’ve tried to make amends.  It’s just a writer thing.  (Done.  End of disclaimer.)

I’m looking for some sister solidarity on the whole why the hell isn’t anything in this house solely mine thing.  I mean, WTF?!  At the risk of sounding selfish (oh, forget it, of course this sounds selfish, but whatever), why is everything that’s mine also supposed to be immediately and willingly relinquished on demand??  You parents know what I’m talking about…well, the ones who stash treats behind the canned vegetables in their pantries do, anyway.

I remember back…way, WAY back…when I lived alone the year after I graduated college.  ~~cue hazy, daydream squiggles~~   I rented a little townhouse apartment near the school where I taught.  There are a lot of things I recall about that place — the gravel parking lot, the cow pasture across the street, the endless hours of planning and grading and cutting out bulletin board designs — but the one that is extraordinarily clear is how everything was always exactly where I left it.

Wanted a granola bar?  The box was on the second shelf.  Needed a glass of tea?  White pitcher in the fridge.  Looking for a towel/pad of paper/pen/newspaper?  It was always right where I’d left it.  And there was always the same amount since the last time I’d touched that particular object.  No reaching into the granola bar box to find it empty (yet still sitting, inexplicably, in the pantry).  No going for a drink only to find nothing to pour.

It was a singularly unusual year for me since I’d gone from living with my family for 18 years to living with college roommates for the next five.  While BS lived in the town nearby and we saw each other often, it was the first time I’d actually lived alone…there were some interesting perks to that.

So when BrightSide and I got married I had to get used to sharing space all over again, and it was harder than I thought.  I don’t like surprises (not the food kind, anyway), so when I went to get a snack I’d been looking forward to eating only to find it was gone…well, I was pissed.  (I’ve mentioned that I have food issues.  And I’m not the best at sharing.  I’m working on it.)  It was just one of those quirks that had to be worked out when people live together.

Then eventually the kids came along.  Man, I thought it was rough sharing space with only one human, and then we threw two more into the mix.  The disappearing items issue didn’t truly rear its ugly head until the kids got older.  When they were little I’d parcel out the snacks, so I had a much better idea of our inventory.  But now that they’re older and more independent (YAY!), they’re fully capable of reaching into the pantry and grabbing a snack (yes, while often leaving the empty box behind).  This means if the item is visible, there’s no actual guarantee that it will be there when you want it.

Tricky, right?  I want them to be self-sufficient, but I don’t want them to take the stuff I want.  Labelling things with my name smacks of passive aggressive roommate, yet I can’t expect them to read my mind and know the craving I’ll be having in three hours.  Yep.  Conundrum.

I’ve handled this by stashing away a few things that I absolutely want to keep to myself — this sounds pitiful, I know, but dammit can’t a girl have a can of Pringles without losing 3/4 of it to the offspring?!  They have plenty of treats and snacks that I never touch, so it’s not like I’m depriving them, right??  (Yeah, I know, this still sounds selfish, but I’m claiming salt cravings here.  Amiright, ladies?)  So I keep their stuff stocked, and behind the canned vegetables I keep a few sweets for myself…the system works.

Valentine’s Day was a prime example of the “can I have?” dynamic in action.  And okay, yes, they ask first, but it’s not like I can tell them “no, that’s MINE!” without sounding like I’m three years old.

Anyway, being the awesome husband and father that he is, BrightSide brought home chocolates for Valentine’s Day (despite the fact that he believes it’s a holiday manufactured to sell stuff when you should celebrate love all year long — thanks for playing the game, man).  The kids got those small red hearts with chocolates, but this year he bought me this gigantic Whitman’s sampler that made my eyes light up.  (I do love me some chocolate.)  It was huge.  With a diagram of the types of chocolates.  And TWO LAYERS.  Be still my heart.

I think we made it through Valentine’s Day itself before “Mom, can I have one of your chocolates?” became a frequent request.  And then it turned into this daily event — “can I have one (or two) of your chocolates?” popped up after school, after dinner, after coming in from outside — and before I knew it the first layer was gone.  I started to realize if I wanted them then I’d have to hover over the box like some thief in the night, stuffing my favorites into my cheeks before the kids had a chance to eat them.  Their saving grace may have been that I’m the only one who loves coconut filled ’cause for reals — touch my coconut, I’ll cut you.  (Just kidding.  Though I may look tempted to grab the steak knife.)

In retrospect, the Valentine’s box may have primed me for what I’ll call our Easter Episode of 2015.

Easter — the early years

Disclaimer #2 here: I love being a mom.  I really, truly do.  Otherwise there’s no way we would have gone through the long and crazy process of building our family.  But there are times when you do & do & do for others, things go badly for you, and the well runs dry.  Thus…the Easter Episode of 2015.

I’m in charge of Easter.  The baskets, the candy, the little gifts for each kid, the basket that BS & I share…all of it.  (I’m also in charge of hiding said goodies until it’s time to fill the baskets so the candy makes it to Easter, but that’s another story.)  And I put a lot of thought into what should go into the baskets — a few treats but not too much candy, a special little gift, things that each person will love.

For the kids, it’s Peeps.  Those grainy, sticky, sugary marshmallow confections that they adore.  For BrightSide, it’s the Cadbury creme eggs.  He’s loved them since college, so a box of those always goes in our basket for him.  This year I stumbled across the most beautiful treat — teeny tiny Cadbury caramel eggs.  I LOVE the caramel eggs but I’m trying to be sensible, so these little eggs that come in a pack of twelve seem like the perfect compromise.  BUT, being the mom, I knew if the kids saw them in my basket they’d start with the “can I have?” and my head would explode.  So I decide to head them off at the pass; I kept half (again, of the teeny tiny eggs) and split the other six between them.  Problem solved, right?

Man, I wanted to eat those eggs.  But somehow they made it into the baskets.

Easter morning comes, the kids are all excited (and actually thanking me since we’d had “the Easter bunny talk”), and I manage to sneak a caramel egg before heading off to get ready for church.  The next half-hour is a little fuzzy because my emotions took possession of my body for a bit.

The gist would be that when BrightSide starts getting ready & mentions that he ate a caramel egg, I kind of gave him holy hell for doing it when he had FOUR GIGANTIC CREME EGGS and all I had were the six tiny caramel ones.  It’s somewhere in here that he says, “So this probably isn’t the time to mention that I gave each of the kids one, too.”  And that’s it — I throw down.  FOR REAL?  They already had caramel eggs in their baskets…you not only ate one of my measly six eggs, but you gave away two more?!  It’s true, I may have become temporarily irrational, and I’m embarrassed to say that there was no Jesus-Is-Risen joy at that moment.

Sadly, I took the kids grocery shopping on Easter Monday and they had already packed up the Cadbury eggs so I was out of luck.  (BS got a nice little text about that one.)  It’s been a few days and I’ve gotten over it, but I’m wondering if I’ll have to hide my Easter candy from now on, too.  Maybe next year I’ll put decoy treats in my basket and hide the prime goodies behind the vegetables…