I have one brother, who is 20 months younger than I am. So there was a time when I was an only child, but I don’t remember that. What I mostly remember about growing up is being told to share with my brother.
Occasionally either he or I got something of our very own, which was always a treat. But especially when it came to food, it was share and share alike. Equal amounts of veggies (blech) and dessert (yum) for everyone. And always, the comments:
“His piece looks bigger than mine.”
“Her piece has more frosting than mine does.”
“He only has eight green beans and I have ten.”
“Her cookie has more chocolate chips than mine.”
Once we were both in school Mom got tired of listening to us bicker. So she devised a system. It’s not really new; a version of it dates back to Solomon. But it revolutionized dinner time at our house.
Mom introduced her new plan on a night when there was one piece of cake left that both my brother and I were after. Mom told us we had to split it, which we expected. Then she handed me the knife and told me I could cut it. I nearly giggled I was so excited. I wasn’t planning to be totally unfair; I was thinking a 75 / 25 split. After all, I was the older sibling. Then Mom revealed the sneakiness of her plan. I would be cutting the cake, but Paul would have first pick of which half he wanted. I wanted to complain, but one look at Mom’s face told me I was going to get nowhere.
Never was a piece of cake so carefully observed and measured. I wanted to split that piece exactly in half, not even 49 / 51 would do. After all, this time if Paul got more than I did it would be my fault. I continued to study the cake carefully. Finally Mom told me to just make the cut already, I did, and then Paul made his choice. And it was fine.
This became standard operating procedure for desserts. The knife and the first choice of pieces always went to opposite people. Suddenly dinner time got calmer. Paul and I both became very adept at making sure the item being cut was being split in exactly half. We also started to talk to each other. He thinks frosting is the best part of the cake and I think it’s too sweet. So we were able to start splitting things in a way that made us both feel like we had the better half.
And I thought my Mom was the smartest person ever.
@@@This is my entry for week 9 of LJ Idol - the topic is “the better half”. I will post a link to the poll once it is up on Friday. Thank you for reading.@@@