Nourishment


I mused a litle last night before bed… if you are interested in the ramblings of my mind, read on.  If not, come back later!

I’ve had days where eating takes a backseat.  Today was one of those days.  It wasn’t the craziest of days.  It wasn’t structured.  It wasn’t non-stop and it wasn’t unpleasant.  But it was one of those days that got away from me. 

Sitting down tonight, my kids tucked in bed, I realized that I didn’t eat today.  I had tea and I had water and I chewed a piece of gum.  My stomach hasn’t growled and my body isn’t weak and I’m not even cranky.  I made breakfast, lunch and dinner for my little darlings.  So there were plates and bowls of fresh fruits and greens and veggies and a lunch box packed and unpacked and even a dinner cooked in a bit of a rush when we came home from a school concert.  My kitchen routine wasn’t anything unusual today.  That said, food isn’t what sustained me. 

This morning my boys climbed into bed for a cuddle and a story.  I should have known that the day was blessed right then, but I didn’t see it.  My soul was fed before my feet touched the ground.  But I was consumed with getting everyone up and dressed and fed and off to school on time.

Once my oldest was safely on the bus, the little guy and I returned home and cleared some dishes and sang and danced in the kitchen as we worked.  We drank hot tea and had fun squeezing juice from our yellowest lemon not into our tea cups but onto our tongues… drip by puckery drip… and we grimaced and squinted and giggled while we teased each other during this little contest.  How did I miss the sun shining on my soul in those moments?

We took some time to watch monster trucks on tv… because it’s a fun thing to do with a 4 year old boy.  Those behemoths slam around incredible tracks with leaps and turns that defy gravity until they don’t and that’s when the crowd goes completely wild.  So we were inspired and pulled out the many bins of collected mini metal trucks and we crushed matchbox cars and bumped over every obstacle we could find.  We messed up a square of space and made vrooming sounds and revved our engines and leapt through the air like a morph of transformers and crazy metal head ballerinas.  Perhaps I neglected to mention that my 4 year old is addicted to rock music which he plays loud and proud from whatever radio station his bitty fingers can tune in on his radio cube.  He rolls like that and it’s cool.  And I see now that 4 year old creativity with monster trucks set to a  rock and roll soundtrack were my mid morning snack.

Now, my little guy wanted to take a bath mid day and I had no reason to stop him.  Sometimes it’s a good thing to encourage water play because it means that they get clean without a battle later in the day.  But I usually don’t say yes to this kind of thing because some commitment or another is looming.  I got well and truly splashed after a bit of overzealous fun with a toy boat’s antics so I took the opportunity to dump a bit more water on my head to freshen up my style… yup… I roll like that sometimes.  Now you know.  What should be more interesting than that though it what happened next.  My little fella wanted to get dried off so he could blow dry my hair because he knew he drenched me!  I dried him off, helped him get dressed and then sat down on the bathroom floor with my brush and blow dryer and let the guy go to town.  I couldn’t have guessed how incredibly gentle this experience was.  I figured that I was in for some real fun with head jerking and hair pulling and that I was going to be doing a few minutes of my tried and true grin and bear it mommy face.  But that is not at all what happened.  He brushed my hair so gently and sort of twisted and twirled sections of it in a charming way for a few minutes while wafting warm air my way from the dryer.  It didn’t last long… things seldom do when you’re working with someone who is 4.  But he did what he wanted to do, he enchanted me with his caring and tenderness and then sat in my lap while I finished drying my hair.  What a treat to spend time in the presence of such loving kindness.  What a gift my child gave me in return for a few moments of bathtub abandon.  It makes me mourn for missed moments and time that I’ve wasted to the “no” and “not right now.”

We went outside to shovel a bit of a path on the back steps a little later in the afternoon and I heard my sweet boy say “it’s like walking on sparkles mommy.”  And I took the time to look around and thought how incredibly beautiful the snow is, even though I am not a snow person.  So I walked on a carpet of diamonds with a prince and we built a castle… then we escaped on colorful sea shells and slid away to the end of the earth… at least that’s what I imagined with my 4 year old as we shoveled and shaped a grand pile of snow and then took a break on our sledding hill.  I walked on a carpet of diamonds with a prince.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

Perhaps the best moment of my day was when my children agreed to take my hands, one on each side of me, as we walked upstairs on their journey to bed.  The feeling of warmth, trust and comfort that comes from holding a child’s hand shouldn’t be taken for granted.  My boys got cozy and warm in their flannel jams before we made a cocoon of comforters on the bed where we read stories together nightly.  Their heads full of adventure and characters, the perfect fodder for dreams, I took my time tucking each one in.  As they are winding down they talk about their best moments from the day and what they plan for their tomorrows.  I listen to them talk about their dreams and I hold their hands and open my heart as they pray.  I wrap them up in warm blankets and seal their eyes with kisses and love.  Sometimes I get the ultimate reward from that unexpected hand that touches my cheek for a moment or the kiss planted softly on my hand as I pull up the covers.  “Stay another minute” isn’t something I dread, it’s my treasure because I know that there will come a time when they won’t want me this way anymore.    

So on a day like today when I’ve fasted for no good reason, I am that much more aware that what sustains and nourishes is love, laughter and kindness.  Fed by moments of connection, I am going to bed with a full and satisfied soul knowing that on days like today, joy is my spice, creativity my flavor and love my super star nutrient.  As someone who often places a focus on food because I value the health benefits, I am feeling humbled.  I think it’s worth adding love, joy and creative connections to the nutrient list… what is more nourishing for the world than a soul well fed?  Maybe its moral density or spiritual density instead of nutrient density… whatever it is, it’s as critical to healthy living as greens and beans are for a healthy body!  I think it’s about living with intensity and intention rather than going with the grain.  But then I guess I go against the grain.  Maybe you should too.

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