From Chicken Soup for the Child's Soul

A Special Lunch

The best way to cheer yourself is to try to cheer someone else up.

Mark Twain

I could just barely climb up onto the kitchen counter, but that is where I was sitting, hungry and hopeful that our babysitter would make me something to eat. When she didn’t answer my call, I dropped down and went to look for her. I found her asleep on the couch.

So I decided that I’d go find my sister, Ashley. She was coloring in her room. When she saw me, the first thing out of her mouth was, “I’m hungry. Let’s make some sandwiches.”

“I’ll get the peanut butter ’cause you’re too short!” I teased her.

“Yeah, but I’m stronger,” she bragged.

We went into the kitchen, and I climbed back onto the counter and found the peanut butter in a cabinet up high. Ashley found the jelly in one of the lower cabinets.

“Give it to me,” I demanded. I was hungry, so that made me kind of grumpy.

“You don’t have to be so mean!” Ashley answered.

A second later, she said, “Hey, look!” Ashley had noticed that a bag of flour had broken and spilled on the floor of the cabinet.

“Mom’s going to be mad, Ashley!” I said, accusing her of doing it.

Ashley threw a handful of flour at me for saying that.

“Hey!” I yelled, grabbing a handful of flour and throwing it at her.

We ran around the kitchen throwing flour at each other until we were white as ghosts. Flour floated in the air around us as we took off into the living room.

Suddenly, the grandfather clock on the wall started to ding.

“Oh, no! Mom’s going to be home any minute!” I panicked. What are we going to do about the mess? I wondered nervously. It looked like it had snowed inside the house.

Ashley quickly ran and grabbed a vacuum, but she didn’t know how to turn it on. Suddenly, the sound of keys jingled at the front door.

“Oh, no! Mom’s home!” Ashley screamed. “We’re going to get put in time-out for a whole hour!”

Mom walked in the door, tired from a long day at college. She took three steps into the house and shook her head.

Ashley and I ran to her with angel smiles on our faces. Mom didn’t get mad at us, but she seemed kind of upset at the babysitter when she woke her up and showed her the mess we had made. Once the babysitter had gone, Mom went into her room.

“We’re not in trouble!” I shouted with joy.

“Mom didn’t look so good, Chris,” Ashley said to me with a sad voice.

“What? She was smiling. Of course she looked good!” I assured her.

“Well, let’s go see!” Ashley said, with a big-girl voice.

So we went to Mom’s bedroom door and peeked in. Mom was sitting on her bed leaning over her homework. We noticed tears in her eyes.

“She’s crying because we made such a mess!” Ashley whispered. “Come on. Let’s go clean the house.”

“Fine, but then she has to make us a sandwich!” I said.

“You’re spoiled!” Ashley shot back. “Mom has to go to school on Saturdays after she has worked all week. And she has to go back to work tonight. She never gets a break.”

So Ashley and I ran to the vacuum and finally found the button. I vacuumed, because I was stronger, no matter what Ashley said, and Ashley got a feather duster from the closet. Ashley dusted everything, even the VCR. Pretty soon, the flour was gone, and the floors were clean.

“I have an idea. Let’s make a special lunch for Mom!” Ashley suggested.

“But we’re the ones who are hungry!” I pouted.

“Stop being so selfish!” Ashley said. “Come on, I’m too short to get the peanut butter!”

“Fine,” I said and walked into the kitchen with a frown.

I climbed up on the counter, and before long the two of us had made two sandwiches. Ashley got out some orange juice and poured a glass for Mom.

“I want to give the sandwiches to Mom!” I said.

“But then she’ll think that you did everything!” Ashley said in a sad voice.

“Okay, you can give it to her. I’ll give her the orange juice!” I agreed.

We took the meal to Mom, and she smiled.

“You made it for me? My kids made me lunch?” She was so happy she started to cry again.

“We cleaned the whole house, too!” Ashley bragged.

“I did all the vacuuming ’cause Ashley’s not strong enough,” I bragged.

Ashley stuck her tongue out at me for that.

“Well, thanks for all of your effort, but I’m only hungry enough for one sandwich. Who wants the other one?” Mom asked.

“Ashley, you can have it,” I offered. But Ashley cut the sandwich in half, and we shared it.

“You two are the best kids I could ever ask for,” Mom said as she got ready to go to work.

“No, you’re the best mom!” we both said with a smile.

Seeing Mom happy made the peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches taste even better.

Christopher Geren

Throwing his coat over the mud puddle for the girls seemed like a good idea at the time.

Reprinted by permission of Jonny Hawkins. ©2006 Jonny Hawkins.

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