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“I have an idea,” I said to my oldest and youngest step-sons. We were all sitting in the bleachers with my husband and father-in-law watching our middle son play baseball. Well, we were at least sitting in the bleachers at the game. Watching was optional. My two boys were each finishing up their nachos, trying to negotiate for more money for the concession stand.

“If the two of you combined your money, you could buy a pretzel without cheese to share, and use the leftover cheese from your nachos,” I told them, trying to quash the heavy-handed extortions they were attempting in order to add to the 50 cents in change they each had left. The thought of sharing was so abhorrent, however, that the idea of splitting a pretzel died a quick death.

I turned my attention back to the game.

Usually, we let pork burgers and nachos or hotdogs and chips be “dinner” on one or two game nights a week. It’s not ideal, but neither is cooking a meal at 7:30 or 8 at night. Since this was a three-game week, however, I had done all of the prep-work ahead of time so that we could quickly cook and eat dinner at home when the game was finished. Not expecting the boys to fill up from the concession stand that night, each son had just a $2 budget for snacks.

A few minutes later, after the boys realized no more money was coming their way and that more food was worth the price of sharing, the pretzel idea was resurrected.

“Ok, let’s combine our money,” the oldest conceded. The two of them headed off together to the concession stand.

Within minutes, they were back with a pretzel. Serving as mediator, my husband divided the warm dough evenly, the leftover nacho cheese arranged deftly between them.

“That was a great idea I had, wasn’t it?” I said, patting myself on the back a little. “Years from now, you’ll look back on this evening and think, we have the best, smartest step mom ever!”

The boys both stopped mid-pretzel bite and glared at me.

“Like that’s ever going to happen,” the oldest said.

“We probably won’t even remember this evening,” the youngest added.

“Well, you should write it down so you will,” I said, feeling a little slighted. “Maybe you should blog about it. . . . Or maybe I should blog about it.”

They resumed eating, ignoring me as I continued talking.

“I’m just kidding,” I said kind of quietly, to whomever may have overheard.

“Or maybe not . . .” I added, an idea forming.

As they used the last bits of dough to sop up the cheese stuck in the corners of the plastic nacho tub, I sat on the bleachers and smiled.

Photo by jonseidman1988, used with permission via Flickr under the Creative Commons License.