No such thing as a 'free lunch'

I was out to prove my Economics professor wrong.

Engrained in the back of my head, for some odd reason, is a phrase that my Economics professor said on the first day of class the first year at Carroll College.

"There is no such thing as a free lunch."

At the time, I had no idea what he was talking about. He went on to explain that everything has value, and therefore, everything comes at a price...even when it is supposedly 'free'. After a semester of the mind-boggling theories that proved him correct (and a feeble attempt at accomplishing anything beyond simply passing the class), I somewhat understood what he meant. And of course, once you graduate and are forced to enter the real world, it becomes very clear. Crystal.

However, I made the mistake of once again trying to cram too many things into a day, and forgot to feed my two toddlers before running a 'quick' (hahaha) errand to Costco. Fortunately, Costco came to the rescue, where around every corner and conveniently holding post at the end of each isle, was a friendly person with a hairnet serving up something yummy. After sampling each and every item we crossed (and I made an effort not to miss a one), both of my toddlers were no longer hungry.

Hmmmmmmm. I said. Maybe there is such a thing as a free lunch. It's called samples at Costco.

Before even checking out, I was already developing a plan. Three days a week, we would make a lunchtime appearance at Costco and stuff my kids full of food samples. I am sure I am not the first to figure this out.

But this is where my plan goes horribly South, like not Key West, or the beautiful Islands just below there, but into the treacherous ocean waters where hurricanes are a plenty. Because many of those samples are actually quite delicious (at which point I purchase an entire box or two). And Costco in itself is dangerous, with all its new kid's coats and dresses, and great wines, and yummy dips, and new chip flavors, and holiday candies, and the books...oh the books.

So, my 'free lunch' turns into a cart full of stuff I probably don't need, and would never have purchased had I not decided to pull one over on my professor.

Turns out he was right after all. In fact, I think a 'free lunch' might actually cost more.


I am happy to say that we have successfully completed our fourth plane trip with all four kids.

I honestly don't know where it comes from--that impending desire to put on a iron clad front that traveling this way is a piece of cake--but I am starting to believe it has something to do with those oh so glorious compliments of how brave and amazing we are and please, dear stranger,feel free to go on about what great parents we are and how good our kids were and how you didn't hear a peep(because obviously if you did, that whole conversation would be entirely different beneath your scowl and vow to never, ever sit in front of kids on a plane again). But fortunately, dear stranger, we are not the family today that caused you to pay whatever it takes to upgrade to first class from this point forward. Because today, we had success. From the dear stranger's point of view, at the very least.

But despite our calm and have-it-all-together picture we unconsciously are painting for the lovely plane audience, deep down, I am exhausted. And I'm annoyed that my three year old is whining (soft enough that you, dear stranger can't hear her, but loud enough to set my hair on end). And my sweet, precious 18 month old sits still for a maximum of .09 seconds, and the squirming has me gritting my teeth and checking my watch every, oh, twenty seconds or so, just somehow hoping that an illusion of an hour may have actually passed. And we just read our new book "Worm is stuck" fifteen gazillion times and the three year old wants me to read it again. I assure her she can pull it off this time, and mommy is resting her eyes so that she can 'visualize' the story while the three year old lets the story of a stuck worm unfold in her own voice. But that doesn't fly for three year old, she wants mommy's eyes open and alert, and watching worm with an admiring stare.

Thank God they grow up into 8 and 6 year olds. I'll say that again, thank God they grow into 8 and 6 years olds, that will simply lay on a pillow and listen to music or read their own friggin book and are generally don't make you open your resting eyes unless it's to climb over you to go to the bathroom. And a lovely 8 year old that willingly offers to take the three year old to the bathroom for you, and even remembers to wash their hands--three times, while singing ABC forwards and backwards. So love my 8-year old.

So success, is subjective for one thing, as are most things in life, but however long the day seem to roll on, nothing was destroyed on the plane (that we are aware of), despite our lack of memory to bring a diaper (which of course, dear stranger, we played off like we are no such parents who forget diapers on a plane ride), we are home safe, and everyone is happy. That is success to me.

Did I mention I am grateful for our 6 and 8 year old?