Filled With DeTERmination

Dearest Rachel –

Last night, we were over at the folks’ for dinner, as we are most every Thursday night. It’s one of those things that’s a regular part of our weekly schedule, like club on Monday, study on Wednesday, and so forth. I wonder if some day it might interfere with the possibility of getting together with someone else, but I suppose if ‘Megumi’ – whoever she might be – were to be put off by my routine of visiting my parents, of all people, then she probably isn’t Megumi in the first place.

Dinner was fairly straightforward, with Mom working on something she’d had in her freezer (the amount and variety of things she’s had stored in the downstairs freezer has been a running joke going back to my childhood) that she wanted to see if she could use. From what I can tell, one of the reasons she has us over (apart from just keeping in touch with Daniel and me, and the understandable concern that neither of us are likely to feed ourselves properly, given our own druthers) is that she fears falling out of practice with regard to cooking. Since Dad isn’t able to eat much, and continues to receive most of his nourishment through a tube, she’s had to cook for one for the last couple of years – with the result being that she doesn’t bother to cook for herself much. Our regular attendance allows her to keep her skills honed, not that they appear to be atrophying as far as I can tell.

Still, there are certain shortcuts being relied upon these days, such as the use of store-bought bread rather than home-made (or at least, home-baked; she used to go through a lot of Pilsbury products back in the day, especially for those elaborate Sunday dinners when we wouldn’t be going to one restaurant or another). Nothing wrong with that, mind you; indeed, it will expose us to certain baked goods that we might otherwise never have, such as rolls made with pretzel dough, which as you know, Daniel absolutely adores (and I happen to enjoy myself, as well).

So much so, that when I had trouble opening up the bag the pretzel rolls came in (I usually try to pull bags apart at the seams, so as to cause the minimum of destruction to the bag itself, particularly if we want to use it again to store any leftovers that might remain once we’ve all eaten our fill), he was more than happy to take over for me and try to pull the seams apart.

I wish it had occurred to me to start the stopwatch function on my phone, because he was pulling at that bag for what seemed to be several minutes. Dad and I were looking at him, and then at each other, in amusement. Mom, while busy getting the last of the dishes together, eventually went for a pair of scissors to give to him – which he ignored. That boy was going to rip open that bag if it killed him, and from the strain he was putting into it, I was wondering if he might burst something, if not necessarily the bag. There was a point at which I was expecting the best case scenario him suddenly pulling the entire bag apart, sending the half-dozen rolls flying into the air and bouncing onto the floor. This exertion of effort had to stop.

And then he paused, looked at the bag, and went, “Oh… it says to ‘tear here,’ and, reaching for a corner of the bag, easily tore a hole in it, and, with a mild expression of chagrin, set the rolls onto the proffered serving platter.

I’m not here to make fun of him for all the wasted effort he expended trying to get that bag open – after all, he got it open, after I failed to and gave up on it. I just thought you’d be proud of him for his determination.

It’s the secret of what makes us human (as opposed to being monsters, apparently) in Undertale. Don’t recall which Let’s Player would always draw out the word, like ‘de-TERRR-mination,’ but it stuck in my head, and I think we all referenced it from time to time. Well, Daniel demonstrated it last night

It’s the sort of thing you would do, where you would latch onto a problem and do whatever you thought you could in order to solve it – but you would not accept ‘the easy way out.’ Don’t bother with those scissors, the problem ought to be able to be solved with your bare hands, and you wouldn’t give up any more than Daniel did. Sure, he might have been embarrassed to discover there were actual directions after all those struggles, but he still managed to get it open with those same bare hands. He’s your son, honey, and it looks like you raised him right.

Of course, I find myself wishing he’d apply that to certain more real-life problems, but I’ll take the little victories I can get for now. Hopefully, you’d think the same of him.

Anyway, I’ll talk to you later, honey. Keep an eye out for each of us.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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