Recently I was in the car with Matt and Wade. I was ranting about how my mother will reluctantly agree to allow me to bring something to a family dinner party but then when I show up, I find out that she made her own version of my assignment "just in case" and then mine inevitably gets sent home with me, untouched. I was complaining about how she doesn't trust me and how offensive this is. The car got quiet and then Matt and Wade said some variation of, "um . . . that's what you do to us."

I am my mother's son. I admit it. For the last four birthday parties Wade has offered to make the cake and each time I have stepped in and made it before he had the chance. It's a control problem that I inherited from Cathie. One that was proudly displayed at family dinner on Sunday.

Cathie: We are very excited to have everyone come for Thanksgiving this year.

Eli: That reminds me; we need to make food assignments.

Cathie: Ok. I think Krishelle should bring [something complicated], Krisanda should bring [something complicated], Micalyne should bring [something complicated], and Eli . . . um . . . you could do . . . corn? Like in the microwave? Do you know how to do that?

Eli: Are you kidding me, Cathie? Corn?

Cathie: Corn is a very important assignment!

Bob: Very important. We need someone to bring corn and we know you will do such a good job.

Eli: Why do you guys still talk to me like I'm an easily-manipulated 10-year-old.

Cathie: We don't think manipulating you is easy.

Bob: And we just know you will be so good at bringing corn.

Eli: I don't know why this family doesn't give me some credit. I am a very good cook. [Looks to sisters for support; 2/3 of them politely and unconvincingly nod.]

Cathie: Well we don't deny that you've improved over the years. If you ignore 2013's Robitussin pie.

Bob: And last year's soap pie.

Eli: Those were cherry and pumpkin, thank you very much. And I'm sorry they weren't to your liking.

Krishelle: They weren't to anyone's liking. The Robitussin pie looked like you picked it out of a garbage can behind a preschool on art day.

Eli: Low blow, Krishelle. I never claimed to be good at presentation. Let's keep it above the belt here.

Cathie: Good? We would settle for anything above repulsive. The first bite is taken with the eyes and I have been figuratively throwing up for two years because of what you did to this family.

Eli: Ok, so I won't make a cherry pie. But I still demand to be responsible for something other than corn.

Cathie: Fine. You can do the . . . green bean casserole.

Eli: Ok. That's a little more like it. I will gladly do the--hey, what did you just whisper to Micalyne?!

Cathie: Huh? Oh. Nothing.

Eli: No, you whispered something. What did you say?

Cathie: Oh . . . it was just about . . . Star Wars . . . and . . . menopause.

Eli: No it wasn't. Micalyne, did she just ask you to bring a backup green bean casserole?

Micalyne: And corn.


Cathie: No.


Cathie: Hey, that's not fair. We trust you with Robitussin!

~It Just Gets Stranger