I absolutely love after school snack time with my daughters. For the past nine years, I’ve arranged life and work to arrive home a few minutes before my daughters so I can greet them with the Warm Welcome and the Snack Platter. Some of you have teased me about my obsession with the Snack Platter, but I’m telling you, they love it.
And I love it. And their friends love it. Sometimes friends stop in because they know about the Snack Platter that appears every day at just around 3:00 PM.
The Snack Platter is my pretty little platter of snacks, and I fill it with something fun for them to find when they walk through the door: popcorn, cheese and crackers, fruit, dark chocolate, hummus and pita—anything to get them settled in, ready to talk about their day, and eager to start homework. What used to be goldfish and fruit snacks has evolved over the years into more elaborate presentations of finer cheeses and vegetables. And now, there’s a drink involved not requiring a sippy cup (maybe a chai latte, a hot cocoa in winter, or just an icy lemonade or water).
But this year, I thought the girls were getting too old for the Snack Platter. Was it silly and outdated? So I ask them: “Do y’all still want me to come home and have the Snack Platter? Yes? No? Do we still like my snacks? Where are we with the Snack Platter?”
They look at me like I’m absolutely crazy. They can’t even speak for a minute. Finally, it’s a loud proclamation of their love and delight of the Snack Platter and how they look forward to it all day long! It’s our time to connect and refresh and laugh together! Oh my goodness, they love it, and I’m about bursting inside with joy.
I must pause here and thank Italian Mamas everywhere who have trained me in the fine art of the Snack Platter. The Original Italian Mama taught me about laying out the cheese, tomatoes, and hearty breads for her older boys. Italian Mamas feed people. That’s what they do. And I’ve been well trained in this art. And now that my girls are teens, they eat. They come home like lions.
So I grab my roasted tomatoes (the oven dried ones that I froze in little baggies) and mix up the olive oil, salt, and fresh basil. I arrange the cheeses and the bread. I get the house cozy. I light a candle. It takes 5 minutes, but the joy I get could fill 5,000 years. It’s almost time; they’re coming.
So I open the door and wait for the Snack Platter to do the rest.