My parents will celebrate their 50th anniversary in December. There’s a party in August for them, since no one really needs anything ELSE to do in December but everybody loves a day in the sunshine celebrating with friends and loved ones. Aren’t they cute? (This was taken in Feb 2010, while they were on a cruise through the Panama Canal.)
I’ve been doing some reading recently. Books about feeding children, of all things. One came highly recommended by a friend, the other piqued my interest as it deals with being a detective about hidden food allergies. The first book, French Kids Eat Everything (by Karen LeBillon), was a fascinating read. The author and her family spent a year living abroad in her husband’s hometown in France, and she chronicles their ‘adventures’ in French dining habits and picky North American children (and adults!) It was hard for me to wrap my mind around some of the issues presented in the book, as growing up we simply weren’t allowed to be picky. You ate what was put in front of you, or you went hungry. Clearly, my sisters and I did not starve to death. As a result, my children have been raised the same way. Sure, there are foods they don’t like. They’re human! But for the most part our crew eats whatever I cook, and they do so graciously, neatly, and gratefully. I realized, as I read this book, just how incredibly grateful I am to my parents for modeling this for me. But my dad was born in the late 1930s. He was the youngest of 5, and his father passed away 2 months after he was born. My grandmother was a single mother for many years. When she remarried, they moved to a dairy farm. Dad knew better than to complain about food—being grateful for enough food on the table was the order of the day. Going hungry was always a choice, should you not want to eat what was offered. My mom was much more of a ‘princess’ in her upbringing, but I get the very distinct impression that she, too, was expected to eat what was fixed. Jim grew up on a farm, the oldest of 5 children. Money was often tight in his childhood, and you either ate what was served or went hungry. So our guys didn’t stand much of a chance. Our pickiest eater is also the child who spent time in the Marine Corps, and I promise: now, he eats whatever is served. With gratitude. Because all 6 of them have this attitude, it is typically a genuine pleasure to cook for them, and I take great delight in serving individual favorites for birthdays and when the big guys come home to visit. Brent’s coming? Get some steak. And some salmon! Emily will be home? Let’s make sure we make some lasagna! Tori? How about some mixed seafood or a pasta salad? It’s good.
The other book I’ve been reading has truly captured me. Called What’s Eating Your Child? (by Kelly Dorfman), it’s been riveting to see th presentations of food allergies and sensitivities. Not just physicall reactions, mind you, but emotional and behavioral. I see some in each of the little boys. With no idea about their prenatal or early nutrition and with the ongoing struggles in sleep, behavior, developmental delays, and other things, I often feel like a detective without many clues. The book is set up to help recognize the clues and make dietary changes to reduce or eliminate problems. We found that limiting/ eliminating wheat has had great effect for many of us. Now, we’re refining that some. I’m not finding lots of information for Ryan, but I also don’t see as many issues in him now that he’s mostly wheat free. Logan? Oh man. I checked this book out from the library, but I promise a copy is coming my direction soon—I have lots of notes I want to write, things I want to pursue as we move forward, and really WANT this book on my shelf as a resource.
So, what does all that have to do with my parents? Well, reading both books made me grateful for the modeling they did during my childhood. It’s more than just food habits, though. They modeled love and responsibility. They modeled gratitude and humility. They had high expectations, and they followed through. They weren’t perfect, but they did a great job of balancing love and control in our home. They are our biggest cheerleaders—all of us: my 2 sisters and me, our husbands, and all10 of our children. Plus, after nearly 50 years, they’re still together, loving one another. So Mom and Dad, thank you. You are amazing, and I am honored to be your daughter.
Gray hair is a crown of splendor; it is attained in the way of righteousness. ~Proverbs 16:31