FOOD & TRUTH–Two things I was starved and desperate for, much of my life. Naturally, I developed food and trust issues which manifested in some pretty destructive ways. Living in a perpetual state of fear, uncertainty, and hunger will drive some very desperate thinking. Being frightened and hungry also made it difficult to fully get adequate rest. Like Winnie the Pooh says “going to bed with a full head and an empty stomach” is rough. So then, throw sleep deprivation in the mix within a home, pulsing with unspeakable rage and shame—what a mess. My inability to manage was viewed as the problem rather than the symptom– typical in these arrangements. I was the canary, scapegoat, black sheep. (I will add here, that truth can be subjective. However, TRUST is what I offer my boys truth and trust- stability.) My experience, coming up in the world doubting myself and all others, especially those I counted on. That was a difficult row to hoe. The way we live and love, in our home, is rooted in immense trust in each other and faith in goodness. This way of living, loving, and parenting is one of the many miracles of recovery.
My sons can count on their dad to buy them expensive things and take them on big adventures, to keep them well groomed and picture ready.(PS-he also feeds them well and can be loving AF with them) I wish to also, one day offer those things, but as their main provider, without a secure and full time job, feeding us food we like in adequate quantities (We eat voraciously and constantly), connecting them to friends in school and community and sports—that is a lot of work. But, the TWO things they can always count on me for, are food and truth. Food they like, in adequate quantities and truth….along with my feelings and opinions, of course. We do frequently need to call out the distinction between facts and feelings.
My boys eat and sleep and cope pretty well. They do not go hungry for the basic physical and emotional needs, unique to each of them. They have immense faith that things will be good, I believe, because they are secure in their sense of belonging and worth and never doubt if their basic needs will be met. Change homes-no problem, change schools-no problem, move cross country-problem. They have 100% confidence that with me, they will be seen and heard, that they matter greatly and that I will do anything in my power, to make life the best that it can be for them, above all else. Their comfort and serenity are my privilege to serve. Nothing matters more. Because they feel loved, they are able to recognize and detach from non-love. This strengthens my faith that they will be fine and possess enough self love to be able to make healthy and kind choices. I get that they are boys and humans and descendants from long lines of forcers, pretenders, and perfectionists who must numb daily to manage in this world. But because they are living a different experience of love and belonging than either their father or I, I believe their paths will be more illuminated and elevated than either of ours.
The journey through recovery and divorce has left me spiritually exhausted, less outgoing, less fun and laughy, more intense—didn’t even think it possible. This causes me grief…but I cannot ruin myself further- by grieving over my grief. When I become unreasonably snippy and short with them, I remind them “Hey, I am not being as patient as I should be and as you deserve. I am learning and working on that, but for today you can count on me for what?” And they say “food and truth”. And I say, so “Be grateful–some of us couldn’t count on even that” And they honor me with an eye roll and a sigh.
When I get them from school each day, they are starving and I have for them, a mini dinner ready in the car, why snack up and then be full for dinner? If I can’t manage a mini-dinner, I have healthy snacks that may not be their faves. but at least fall into the category of: stuff they will eat, to calm the hunger. We are very clear– that WE cannot act right when we are too hungry and sometimes we just need to eat.
I am not perfect at anything—besides tryyyying one day at a time to make better mistakes, but I am fucken excellent at showing my boys how much they matter to me. We belong to each other. And this just makes me weep tears of joy (and grief). I cannot imagine belonging to my mother/family of origin. I cannot fathom being nurtured, fed, or comforted, connected in ways that felt safe and soothing to me. I think connecting through food and truth have been strong building blocks for love and trust. I hope so. More will be revealed. One day at a time. I tend to be an under promise, over deliver type person and the promise of me as a provider of food and truth has held strong for 11+ years. Of this, I am immensely proud. What are you proud of? What can your children count on?Much Love,
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