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Happy Tummy Happy Life

When I was a kid, I took food for granted. I didn’t want to make time to eat, because I was so busy doing all the fun kid things. My mother had to force me to sit down, fussing at me to take my time. “Stop shoveling food in your mouth! Enjoy your meal.” Not me-this girl ate to live, not lived to eat.

When I went off to college, I was poor. My meals consisted of whatever the dorm cafeteria was serving. When I graduated, I was still poor and I didn’t have a cafeteria anymore. My meals were grilled cheese sandwiches and apples—pasta with a jar of sauce if I splurged. Eating was something to do because I was hungry. Sometimes my friends and I would go out to eat, but we usually pooled our money together for a plate of nachos or something else large enough to feed several people. I learned something new though—meals could be a time to enjoy the company of the people at the table. What a concept! For once I was eating with people I wanted to get to know better. Meals were a great time to do that. I guess that means I never cared to get to know my family better—but what child does?

As I eased into full-blown adulthood, I embraced meals as a social hour—or two. That was an opportunity to sit, relax, take time and enjoy the moments. And my food of course. Even if it was just me, I found great pleasure in not doing a single thing but eating. Chores could wait. Then motherhood came along.

Being a mother meant I had to cook for small humans. Small picky humans. I’m so sorry Mom! Meal time became stressful. Oh sure, we tried to make it a time of connection and enjoyment. But little ones don’t get that—they’d rather be going and doing.

As the kids got older, meals became pleasant again. It was the time of no cell phones—the only thing we could do was eat or talk to each other. Those are some great memories! I learned more about my kids than any other time. Well, except for when I trapped them in the car. But I’ve already covered that in a previous article.

After the kids left home we settled back into cooking just for us. The pressure was off! We cooked for us, which was easier. John began to try new things, since he hd a much less critical audience. We found new favorites, and we reconnected ourselves.

My father moved to Grand Cane a few years ago, to be near his only child. Now John cooks for three, and afterward we watch a movie. But we spend our meal talking about our day and revealing any exciting news we’ve learned. Small town news isn’t life changing for everyone, but we enjoy it.

These days I get pretty excited about my meals. My kids think it’s weird. But then again, they think a lot of things I do are weird. But their time is coming…just wait until they have children if their own. What’s so wrong with taking great joy from eating my food? It’s not just about the food. Honestly, it’s the time. It’s the time taken to push the to do list and the stresses to the side. It’s the time to relax, put the phone away, and connect. Connect with others at the table, or spend some introspective time with myself.