Monday, December 15, 2014

Expressing Love Through Food Isn't Always the Best

This week, I've been reminding myself that I don't need to express my love to people through food all the time.

But I do! I always do! What do you need? Buttery cookies, rich peppermint bark, buttermilk fried chicken, elaborate mugs of hot cocoa, yeast rolls carefully risen, or a thick oniony roast? What might bless you? Dumplings, lemon bars, Irish cheese, a flaky pot pie?

I wake up thinking of ways to love my family and neighbors through food.

My great friend and walking partner tells me recently that she's noticed that I prefer to express love through food. I hadn't thought of it like this. And I know that's not always the best expression of love, especially as we try to gain health in my family. Moms can do so many other things to express love that have nothing to do with food.

As I gain fitness and shed extra weight, I'm thinking about food and love differently.

Did my children feel less loved when the after school treat was a game or a snowflake cutting craft? Did they feel less loved by a long conversation on the couch? Did they notice that the once decadent after-school snack platter was oranges and red pepper? I can find some healthier alternatives to sugar and butter. Will they care?

No. Nobody complained. I want to break the symbolic connection that food means love.

Love doesn't always have to be food.

But when there's a need, and someone's hungry, I'll bring it. In the meantime, I can love you in a million other ways.

(Once I asked my daughters what communicated the most love to them from me. Was it chocolate cake? Presents? Clothing? No. My youngest said she loved it when I talked to her while she was in the bubble bath.)

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