By the time Colleen and I get to the Indiana Pancake House after our team’s Thursday morning weigh-in, Traci’s already digging into her five-egg sausage omelet.
With her spring break trip just hours away, Traci needs to eat and run. Meanwhile, Colleen and I were delayed at the Y, where Colleen’s scale frustration was balanced out by good news — the Wells Weighs In director agreeing to waive the age restriction and allow her to start using the cardio equipment there.
As we tally up her our team’s monthly performance — Grandpa and Traci each lost about 2.5 pounds this month, I lost 3 and Colleen gained a pound and a half — Grandpa and I try to decide if we’re going to split another breakfast.
I want a veggie omelet. But Grandpa can’t take his eyes off Traci‘s, which is loaded with sausage.
“Are you going to eat all that?” he asks.
Next thing we know, Traci‘s sliding a meaty egg hunk and a pancake onto a spare plate. Grandpa‘s got his breakfast before the rest of us even have a chance to order.
I ask Rowan, who’s home from college this week, if she wants to split a veggie omelet. “Nope!” She has no intention of wasting her chance to load up on non-dorm food on someone else’s dime.
So I’m my own, facing off against a giant omelet. I’m so preoccupied wondering if I’ll have the will power to avoid cleaning my plate that I forget to ask for eggbeaters. Great.
Just then my brother Brent arrives with Baby Kyla, placing her car seat in a place of honor at the table. (After breakfast, she’ll go to Grandma and Grandpa’s house.) Traci coos at the baby, then takes off to finish packing.
Grandpa, who’s long since finished his breakfast, watches as Rowan pushes aside her omelet so she can tackle her pancakes. (Her hash browns have already disappeared.)
“Aren’t you going to eat that?” he asks.
“That,” says Rowan, “is for Round 3.”
“What if you’re too full?” he persists.
She shrugs. “We’ll soon find out.”
Kyla whimpers. Grandpa hops up to swing her around in her car seat.
“When I was a kid,” he says, beginning one of his periodic lectures, “we never left any food on the table, because there wasn‘t that much of it around.”
Noticing I’ve got my notebook out, he clarifies: “Well, it‘s not like we didn‘t have enough to eat. There was plenty of food.”
What he’s trying to get at is an explanation for his habit of “cleaning up” leftover food. He’s already dispatched some of Grandma’s toast, for instance. He knows better than to stab Colleen’s waffle. She’ll want to pack it up and bring it home for an after-school snack.
It’s taken all my willpower, but this time, knowing I wasn’t splitting a meal with anyone, I forced myself to cut my omelet in half and put it on another plate with my second pancake. It feels like a small triumph to load them into the Styrofoam box.
Grandpa, meanwhile, is back at the table, eating a bowl of fruit Traci left behind.
“I’m stuffed!” he says. But he keeps scooping up chunks of melon and pineapple until the bowl is empty.