Shortly after they were married, my parents went over to my grandparents’ house one Friday night for dinner.
My mom and her mother set plates of food down on the table for the men, then busied themselves straightening up the kitchen before spooning their own portions. My mom was finally carrying her own dinner over to her chair as my dad — who had been raised on a farm and was accustomed to wolfing down meals in a rush — was shoveling his last forkful into his mouth.
Just then, my grandmother turned and saw my dad’s plate sitting empty in front of him and my mom’s full plate in her hand. Her eyes went dark. “What do you think you’re doing?” she scolded my mother, and gestured over at my dad. “It’s your job to serve him.”
My mom froze. My dad went wide-eyed, his last bite tucked inside his cheek, mortified to be at the center of the controversy. My grandmother waited expectantly for her daughter to go back to the counter and fix her husband a second helping.
For one long, tense moment, the kitchen was silent.
My mother finally sighed. “Well, his arms aren’t broken,” she said, and pulled her chair out and sat down.