June 24th, 2009
By the time you read this, I’ll be on the beach in the Caribbean. The ChowPapa and I have decided to take a 7-day trip before bambino number two arrives. We’re lucky enough to live near grandma, who takes care of Isaac once a week and often takes him from Saturday through Sunday evening. We also have the best sitter in the world who helps make sure that we get a night out at least once a week. Needless to say, we get breaks. We’ve even taken entire weekends to ourselves. But me and the ChowPapa have been working overtime and need a vacation before we’re homebound with a new baby. A real vacation. And anyone with a toddler knows, going away with a two-year-old does NOT count.
I’m pretty nervous about it. I have never left Isaac for so long. I know he’ll be fine. (Just not sure I will be!) He’s in good, loving hands. So, I’m doing it. (Despite the panic attacks.) I’m letting go. I’m stealing away for some QT with my husband. And leaving the feeding of my ChowBaby behind. For seven. Whole. Days.
Believe it or not, there was a time when having other people feed Isaac for so many days on end would have been a deal breaker. Today, it’s barely a thought. Partly it’s a matter of experience. (You know how new parents can be!) And a deep trust in the people with whom I leave Isaac. (Grandma and his sitter respect and appreciate our way of parenting… and eating.) But it’s also confidence that I’m instilling Isaac with a deep and meaningful love of healthy, good, all natural foods.
Parents—even working parents (ie, it’s not just a matter of how many hours you spend with your child)—have the power to be the most influential force in their children’s lives. Even when it doesn’t seem that way (parents of teens, want to chime in?!). Who we are, how we live, and what we believe makes an indelible impression that shapes who our children will be, how they will live, and what they believe. That doesn’t mean they’ll turn out just like us. (And how boring would that be?!) But we certainly inform their path, as they figure out everything from what it means to be a good person to how they eat and care for their bodies.
So, while I have not doubt that grandma will be doling out “special treats” like crazy and that Isaac’s sitter will use a hearty dose of ketchup to get him to eat his green veggies (meal after meal), I also have no doubt that my ChowBaby is developing healthy eating habits that will sustain a lifetime of healthy eating adventures. Because that’s how he, his ChowPapa, and I eat together.
The beauty of being committed to making healthy, flavorful food the center of our family life is that I don’t have to worry about letting go when I need to. And when Isaac needs me to. I take it seriously so that I don’t have to take it so seriously all the time. And hopefully, you feel like you can do the same.
So, in honor of taking a break, letting go, not worrying so much, and all of the other good things that we parents should probably do more often, I present to you… no recipe today. Don’t cook tonight. Or, if you already have a plan for tonight’s dinner, make a plan to skip cooking tomorrow night. Order a pizza. Get a sitter—and skip prepping a perfectly well rounded meal for the kids. Instead, spend your time primping or getting a before dinner drink. And, no matter what you do, relax. I hope to be doing the same.