I meant to take a photograph of the miracle moment I had with my son today. Truly I did. In the end, I went with a stock photo. It doesn’t really capture the loveliness of the experience. It doesn’t show you the relief and joy I feel as the mom of a picky eater turned foodie. I couldn’t find a picture that showed you the long journey we went traveled to get to this parenting success.
Don’t judge me. It happens to you too. You get so engaged in a moment that all your best intentions are forgotten. Instead, you while away the hours indulging in the laughter and conversation.
Lunch today was like that.
Positive psychology researchers call that being in the “flow,” engaged in the moment. You know you’re in a “flow” experience when you lose track of time, like I did at lunch today.
As an adult, my son, enjoys trying new ethnic food restaurants. The exotic flavors in these intimate little-known spots call to him. He searches for the kind of wonderful place destined to become overcrowded one day. For now, they’re hidden treasures. I love it when he invites me along on one of these adventures.
I meant to snap a selfie and share it with you as proof that hard times really do pass. I thought it might encourage some mom who has a picky eater like I used to have. Today, the hours flew by and by the end, the food was gone. I wish I had a pretty picture of the beautiful plate the owner brought out to the table. I wish I’d gotten a picture of the charming way the Turkish coffee was served. It was unlike anything I’ve ever had before. I never would have taken my son to a place like this when he was little. The idea of taking a picky eater to a restaurant like this was unthinkable. I couldn’t get him to eat a simple meal at home. Why would I offer him ethnic food?
By the time I thought of getting out my camera to celebrate the moment, the plates were empty and the time for a photo had passed. The joy we shared as we discussed what we to try on the menu was something I never imagined when I was a young mother. As we ate, we savored the flavors and relished every mouthful. Our time was more delicious because of all dinner time stress my son put me through in his early years. Believe me, this lunch was worth the wait. Not once did I have to offer him a bribe to try something on his plate.
Maybe you know what I mean about offering a kid a bribe to eat. Maybe it happened the last time you made dinner at home. You might recognize this conversation heard regularly at my house.
My son: “I don’t like that. I’m not gonna eat it. I want something else.”
Me: “But you said you’d eat it. You haven’t even tried it. Just take a bite.”
My son: Clamps his mouth shut and shakes his head in determined refusal.
Every meal. Three times a day until I was exhausted and ready to throw in the towel.
Me: “How about some macaroni and cheese?”
My son: Shakes his head yes and dries his tears.
Me: “Sure, I’ll make it. You’ll eat it, right?”
Back then, I was grateful for macaroni and cheese. The box kind. Not anything fresh or nutritious.
Our lunch today was a stark contrast. Today was everything I hoped for in a meal shared with my son. Seeing him eat, nourish his body, and delight in the experience. It was a miracle happening in front of my eyes. This wasn’t the first time since he’s become a man that I’ve taken pleasure in his eating. It happens every time we go out for lunch now. This is our new normal. I’ve even stopped calling him before cooking a holiday meal. He assures me that anything I fix he’ll eat and he does. Whatever I cook, he tries. He even enjoys most of it. Oh the simple pleasures of being a mom who has survived the struggle.
You’ve probably had those moments with your kid(s). Moments where the struggle finally pays off. Moments where you see the fruits of your parenting labors. If you haven’t yet, you will.
Being a mom has its hard moments. It also has its delightful moments. It’s all a part of the full mommy experience, the ups and downs of motherhood. It feels great to have arrived on this side of the mealtime battles. From picky eater to foodie. I call that successful parenting.
And then, as many things do, lunch came to an end. I was reminded that parting is such sweet sorrow at times like these. A hug and some lingering conversation at the car, then another hug and more parting conversation, followed by yet another hug.
Being a mom has it’s rewards. He even paid for lunch.
I think when that time machine is invented and I can go back and give my younger mom-self some sage advice, I’ll just tell myself about today.
Oh, and here’s a picture of me and my son from a time when my husband insisted on a photo. Thank goodness someone remembers these things!!!