Why my life is like a flying hot chicken

Thursday was my son’s 10th birthday. But this post really isn’t about that.

Because it was my son’s birthday,  it reminded me that it was also the birthday of a good friend I hadn’t seen for a while. I love this friend because we have a lot of common interests that help us “get” each other. Even though we don’t cross paths on a regular basis, our friendship is one that we don’t want to see fade away.

I sent her a quick note on Facebook asking if we might be able to get together for lunch to celebrate her special day. I was excited the next morning to get her reply that she was free! She had even rearranged her birthday schedule just so we could hang out. How great is that?!

Now, if there is one thing I love, it’s a birthday. I love celebrating birthdays. And if possible, I love the chance to make someone feel special on that one day of the year that is HER day! I wanted to take her out to lunch, but with the toddler as our third wheel, I knew our restaurant experience would not be enjoyable on a normal day and potentially torturous with all the expectations that go along with a birthday.

So, I started thinking about what kind of lunch I could prepare that might be worthy of a birthday lunch. The toddler and I ran to the grocery store right after school drop-off to grab a few things. The main dish would be chicken club wraps, which are basically a rotisserie chicken (shredded), bacon, cheese and ranch dressing wrapped in a tortilla. It would be simple, but delish!

I made a B-line to the deli only to find they didn’t have any chicken. Apparently, they don’t put them out until 10:30, and it was only 9 a.m.

Hmmm… This was not part of my plan. My friend was coming for lunch at 11:30 and I wanted to have the chicken club wraps neatly displayed on a tray when she arrived. In fact, I had been daydreaming all morning about how I could bless my friend by serving her the cutest lunch I could muster. Because really? It’s all about the presentation, right?

Why NOT serve the chips on a silver platter? Or put the grapes in cupcake liners?

We both love tea, so we should break out the individual tea pots that sit dormant in my top cabinet most days of the year. Oh, and I should make her a birthday cake! I was already making a cake for my son, so I could just increase the recipe and make her her very own little Hershey’s chocolate cake.

In fact, I was hoping that by the time she arrived, I would have all of the food neatly displayed, and I would be sipping my tea like I had never lifted a finger. It would seem like a band of fairies had put the whole thing together.

I went back home to bake the cake and wash the grapes and set out the chips. My only problem was that chicken. I kept looking at my watch waiting for 10:30 when I could dash back over to the grocery store and snatch that bird out of the deli.

At exactly half past 10, I buckled the toddler back in the mini-van and we raced over to the grocery store. By the time I got back home, I will admit, I was starting to sweat just a little. My friend would be arriving in just 30 minutes, and hopefully, she wouldn’t notice the chocolate syrup on the floor from last night’s ice cream sundaes because I needed to spend my time tackling a bird, not cleaning the floor.

I’m not sure if you have ever picked up a rotisserie chicken with your bare hands shortly after it came out of the oven, so I will try to explain this plain and simple: That piece of poultry was hot.

I was dancing around it with a fork and knife, trying to figure out how I could cut it apart. It had to be at least 250 degrees because my hands were burning as I tried to pull apart the legs and cut the meat off the bones. I was trying my best to rip that darned chicken to pieces as fast as possible and refusing to give in to the idea that perhaps I could let it cool down for a few minutes.

No way. It was my friend’s birthday and we were having chicken club wraps and chips on a silver platter and when she walked in she was going to see nothing but fairy dust and I would not be dismembering a dead chicken right in front of her on her birthday.

So I stabbed at that chicken one more time, trying not to char my fingers in the process, and I swear that thing flew into the air and plopped right on the floor.

For a split second, I envisioned myself throwing the toddler back in the van and racing over to the grocery store for a new chicken. But as fast as that thought came and went, I grabbed the chicken off the floor and dusted it off, making sure it had not come in contact with the chocolate syrup. I cleaned up the random chicken parts, and with renewed determination chopped up that fiery hot bird.

At that point, the chicken could have flown off the counter and thrown itself into the window, and I would still not be defeated. We. were. having. chicken. club. wraps.

Well, my friend walked in not long after that, and I didn’t ruin her birthday lunch by telling her I had dropped it on the floor. Instead, we had a nice conversation on a gorgeous fall day. And I’m sure I could have served her a bologna sandwich on a plain white paper plate, and we still would have enjoyed the time. In fact, I don’t think my friend would have thought any less of me if I told her that her birthday lunch might have dirt in it. Don’t you just love those kinds of friends?

I would like to end this post by making a really wonderful analogy about how my life is like that lunch. I want it to look as pretty as chocolate cake on a crystal cake stand. But on the inside, I’m more like a burning hot chicken that someone just picked up off the floor. I really wanted to laugh as I thought about how true that really is.

Does that mean I shouldn’t serve my friend a cute lunch on her birthday? Is it a bad thing to try to create a nice exterior, even when the parts you don’t see aren’t so pretty? No… but it’s also good to tell the whole story.

So I will end with a confession to the birthday girl. I hope you had a wonderful day and didn’t find any dirt in your chicken. Thanks for being an awesome friend who accepts me despite my flaws. ;0

xo

7 Responses

  1. Susan

    I love this! This type of thing happens to all of us at one time or another, and I laughed out loud as I read it. If you have to confess possible dirt in the chicken, do it with humor. 🙂

  2. Rebekah Yi

    Emily,

    Hi, my name is Rebekah…NamMee’s sister. I just LOVE~~~ reading your blog!!! You are soooo very blessed with a great talent. Looking forward to reading more of your stories.

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