Ahhh…the sweet naivety of youth (mine and theirs.)
I remember telling my mom right after my first child was born that I would never allow my kids to eat sugar (that statement was made twenty-six years and countless birthday cakes ago.)
I still remember her response. “Good luck with that.”
Determined though I was to only allow the choicest, healthiest morsels to pass my precious children’s lips…along came birthdays and holidays and vacations…and kaboom! all my good nutritional intentions (along with much of my parental dietary resolve) went out the window.
So…I decided to make a concession.
I adopted a more reasonable stance, no sugar (or accompanying junk food) unless it was a birthday, holiday or while on vacation.
I’m sure you see the problem with this compromise.
As you might calculate, with four children and Hallmark holidays running about every month…the alloted days for eating poorly kept inching its way up and up trying to derail me time and again.
I remember feeling like giving up over the battle of foods…but one small incident encouraged me to keep “shooting for the ideal while living in the real.”
During our weekly trips to the grocery store (what I consider a haven for possible diet destruction,) my kids were allowed to pick one treat. Not four treats…but one single coveted item that all four kids agreed on.
Don’t judge me too harshly…in lots of other ways my children’s lives were, “a piece of cake.”
What they chose surprised me. They asked for breakfast cereal of all things!
Of course, the cereal they viewed as a treat (because it’s so sugar-laden) is what lots of kids consume every day as their sole fuel source before school. For shame.
I remember questioning my kids…and yep, they wanted cereal, so it was cereal they got (but only eaten after a good meal and as their dessert.)
These days those particular food battles are history. Instead, I’m watching my daughter, “fight her own good food fight” with her little boy.
I’m so glad to be out of that specific fray…because honestly, it took something out of me every time I had to fight my own children to give them what was best for them.
And with some age, comes some sweet perspective.
Life is awfully short not to enjoy a piece of cake with someone you love on a semi-regular basis (or maybe even for no special occasion at all other than the pleasure of their company.)
Sometimes our concessions truly stand the test of time…and they make our lives sweeter in the bargain.