All I ever wanted was a breakfast smoothie. But as usual, it was a hurry hurry early morning. And dear husband was gone. He had flown to Baltimore, had just called to tell me all about his morning run past The White House, Smithsonian, war memorials, a few members of congress still not balancing the budget, past the Lincoln memorial to do a few fist pumps. hmff.
I too was having my own morning run. Fist pumps included. The same run most mothers have between the hours of 6:30 and 7:30 a.m. It is the one that looks like dear mother shaking shoulders, turning on bedroom lights, singing good morning sunshine songs, putting cold hands on warm stomachs (it works well). And then down the stairs to stumble around, let the dog out, find lunch boxes and papers you forgot to sign, calling up the stairs (no yelling!), calling down the stairs (yelling!), hurry up, let’s eat, bags packed, hair combed, gloves found, shoes, underwear, feeding dog…yes, that kind of morning run, not the serene one outside by myself alongside the Smithsonian.
But I knew – order could be restored, it always is, with the ultimate mommy fix: The Smoothie. So I grabbed the fixings for a top notch special: lime, beet, carrot, apples, pear, spinach, avocado, ginger.
From the fridge I also grabbed a small glass cup of leftover smoothie from the previous day when a sneaky child had put it in the fridge for “later.” I dumped it in the Vitamix and left it there to drain, to save every last nutritious drop.
To multitask I filled the sink with soapy water (yea, the dishwasher is broken AGAIN!!!), called up the stairs, told Paige that first grade really is fun, she just needs to find the fun, and please don’t cry because it was going to be such a fabulous day!
With lightening speed, the carrots and beets were peeled; the lime, apple, and avocado cut. Then, all was tossed in the Vitamix and I turned the blessed appliance on. Crunch went the frozen vegetables. Whir went the fresh fruits. For some added benefit I added chia and flax seeds. In less than a minute, we had smoothie-liscious. Oh, life was good. Super-mom could now call it a day.
I pulled out five glasses, filled them to the top, and told the kids to chug it quickly before the train pulled out.
Nelson gulped first. “Mom, I think you added too many chia seeds.” He licked his lips tentatively.
“Drink it,” I said. Don’t even think about foolin’ this Mama. She’s on to you and your crying wolf ways: ”Mom, this milk doesn’t taste right – it’s spoiled!” they say almost daily, after they’ve left it too long and it’s grown slightly warm.
There was that one time it really had spoiled and I had made them drink it anyway, before actually tasting it. Ooopsy.
Anyway, Nellie did what a good Nellie boy does and chugged his smoothie down.
Brynne was doing her hair in the bathroom so I brought her smoothie in and told her to drink up. “Hmmm,” she said, taking a drink. This is Brynne language for: some concoctions are just better than others.
I went back into the kitchen and took a large slurp from my large glass. Pause. Hmmm. There was definitely something a little off about this smoothie. It tasted…gritty. It felt like I was actually chewing on tiny little pieces of something. It tasted like…ocean sand. Like…glass. My eye caught the sink.
The last ten minutes of my life flashed before me.
With horror I realized there was no small smoothie glass cup from the day before, sitting in the sink waiting to be washed. I suddenly recalled how I had started the morning smoothie: By putting the small glass cup INSIDE the Vitamix to drain.
And had never taken it back out!
I ran to the bathroom and lifted the glass out of Brynne’s hand. ”You don’t have to drink this,” I said.
“Um.” At this point I should have changed the subject, but the truth was just too delightful.
“Well…I accidentally put a glass cup in it.” Why I divulged this information I do not know.
“Nelson!” Brynne, the loudest child in the world, yelled. ”Mom put a glass cup in the smoothie!”
Nelson looked at me and back to his empty cup. “So I just drank glass?”
“Yep, I think you did, buddy.”
“Great, mom. I’m going to die of internal bleeding.” Please not today …what would your father say?
“Let’s go to school!” I said briskly.
While they found shoes and talked about drinking glass, I dumped the entire, very large amount of smoothie outside on the overgrown lilies. Oh, it hurt. What a beautiful beet color it was…carrot, avocado, apples…all wasted…blended with ground glass.
I also paused right there in the kitchen to pay my respects. I stared at the Vitamix. What a marvel – in 60 seconds a glass cup was pulverized! I mean, that’s a selling point.
Off to school we went. I tried to focus on the road, but a dark cold fear was creeping up my spine. My hands began shaking. My cheeks burned, my heart pounded. It is a common technique in mystery novels to poison your guests with ground glass. Shards are far too noticeable and cut your throat and esophagus to pieces. Ground glass, however, is undetectable. By the time we arrived at school I was having a full-blown panic attack.
I said a hasty good-bye (school is FUN, Paige, it’s FUN! Find the FUN today!), wondering if this was the last time I would ever see them walking around like normal children should. I suddenly loved them like never before. I especially watched Nelson walk away, the only one to drink the entire smoothie. Would he keel over in Language Arts? Stay alive, Son, stay alive!
Should I go in and talk to the nurse? But how would I even start to explain? Hi, I just fed my son ground glass, is that okay? Like a coward I raced home, trying to comfort self that the glass had been spread amongst a large vat…he couldn’t have gotten very much…run Mama run – find that Google search and exonerate self!
I found a blog post recounting how one boy’s mother had a mean neighbor who poisoned their pet dog with ground glass…they came home to find their sweet puppy dead, foaming at the mouth. This was incredibly unhelpful.
I considered calling Poison Control but the last time I did that (in 2004) they asked which child had been poisoned by the entire jar of chewable Flintstones. Same child. I’d have to name him. Once poisoned? Forgivable. Twice? There was no time in my schedule for jail. Full disclosure: he stole those vitamins! I would never waste good money on an overdose.
Then I found a snopes article explaining the origins of ground glass as a poison…crush into fine powder, surreptitiously add it to something your victim will ingest and then watch your victim fall to the floor, writhing in agony. I could totally see Nelson performing this scene in the middle school hallway, between math and gym. I about pulled my hair out.
I began to recall all the accidents harried mothers had. My mother was always so keen to inform me – toddlers drowning in toilets, mothers leaving infants strapped into car seats in hot cars, mothers reaching into the backseat, turning their head for just a second – oh, I’ve heard them all. And all of them were accidents. Nonetheless, they were mothers who had just been too harried and busy…
Snopes quickly got to the point, thankfully, before I was fully hyperventilating and breathing into a brown paper bag. Fact or Myth: Ground glass is a poison. Verdict: Myth. Other quick internet searches confirmed the same until I was finally breathing without the bag.
I watched the children carefully the next few days, especially Nelson, who, except for his “normal” seventh-grade antics, seemed to not be suffering from glass poisoning.
I swear, I was just trying to make a healthy smoothie.
So I have been an especially attentive mother ever since. I’m sure I will grow weary of such attentiveness. But for now, eyes are on the road. We are NOT in a hurry. We drink only cold milk. Floss? Check. No glass smoothies. Crisis averted. For now.
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