Falling Apart: When Life Is Like a Burrito

Tuned In Parents - when life is like a burrito falling apart

When my daughter was five, she had her first burrito. This was a big deal for an American kid her age. Due to food allergies, she can’t have anything processed, with sauce, with cheese, with marinade or seasoning, in a flour tortilla, etc. And forget about eating out or driving “thru.” This brings us back to her first burrito, which we made together (allergen-free) with organic refried black beans, fresh tomato, Earth Balance Soy-Free butter, gluten-free corn tortillas, and a pinch of sea salt. By her reaction to the first bite, you would’ve thought she was eating Chipotle.

It was a beautiful thing, until Murphy’s Law crashed lunch.

“Noooooo!” she called out, her bean-smeared fingers stretching toward a burrito-hating universe. It was hilarious. I laughed and told her how I used to have a fit as a kid when my hard-shell tacos would only last one bite. CRUNCH! And that was that.

She was not amused. Since she can’t have a lot of the junk foods most of us take for granted, she had never experienced the ice cream fail, the hamburger slip, or the taco explosion. However, it was more than that for her. The laughing and reminiscing stopped when I saw that she was devastated. When I offered to cut it in half to make it easier to eat, she reacted as if had offered the King Solomon verdict. That was when it was clear why she was so upset.

This was bigger than a broken burrito.

We were going through a divorce. And the pronoun we includes my daughter because children go through divorce just as much as the parents. And this was one of those especially difficult days for her.

“Do you feel like your world is falling apart like your burrito, baby?”
“Yes!” she said.
“I know what you mean.”

She tried to tell me about it, but was too upset. After holding her and a little deep-breathing exercise, she talked and I listened. She was still distressed, so we went to her happy jar, and she selected “spinning around.” That was a good one, for it made her laugh and literally dried her tears.

She was ready to deal with the burrito.

Upon looking at her tattered and oozing creation, she moaned. I picked up the fragile thing.

“So, we talked about your world being like this burrito, right? And when life starts to feel a little broken on one side, and messy stuff starts to spill out on the other, it doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy its delicious goodness. You most certainly can! The trick is not to focus on it being broken, rather focus on keeping it together. And you do that by adjusting the way you handle it. See? Try it.”

After a few tries, she figured it out. By the end of the day, she had made three small burritos. (How could I say no?) The last one she made entirely by herself, adding a layer of baby spinach and kale, beaming with pride the whole time (as was I).

“Look, Mommy! It’s falling apart again . . . but I’m keeping it together!” she squeaked, giving me a bean-covered thumbs up. My little brave one doesn’t know it, but that last burrito made me cry.

About Elle C. Mayberry

Elle C. Mayberry is a mom and author, who just released a new children's book with her young daughter. With a passion for parenting and degrees in psychology and "make it workology," she created Tuned In Parents (TiP).

2 comments on “Falling Apart: When Life Is Like a Burrito

  1. I absolutely love this and love your broken burrito solution on quotations. What an amazing way to parent. I wish I was better at the patience and calm explanations when things got tough. I will pin this just to remind myself of that next time. Thanks for sharing on #ShareWithMe hope to see you again tomorrow for another round of blog sharing.

    • Thank you for your supportive words, Jenny. I need reminding, too, during times when I’m off my game. We’re moms, after all, not automatons. (Although, wouldn’t it be great to have a spare robot mom? Maybe one day there’ll be an app for that.) Anyway, thank you for pinning this, and I’ll check out your next linky! 🙂 -Elle

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