And writing is so much better than eating pretzels, which is what I did yesterday. Not that there is anything wrong with pretzels. There is just something wrong with the way I eat them. When my children are home and I don’t want to cry in front of them, I eat pretzels. One after another after another. Long after I’m full. Just to taste the salt on my tongue and feel the crunch, which for some reason keeps the tears away.
This is not a good lesson I’m teaching them, if they’re learning, and aren’t they always learning? But I don’t like crying in front of them, either. I don’t want to be the mom who is always crying.
“What’s wrong with Mom? She’s crying again.”
“I need her to turn the Xbox on.”
“You ask her then. I’m not asking her.”
So . . . I eat pretzels. Which, having just turned 50 and feeling my metabolism slowing down, is not a good idea either. I’m just giving myself something else to cry about. “Hi guys, how’s it going?” Crunch. “What are ya playing today?” Crunch. “Have any homework tonight?” Crunch. Crunch. “Where’s Dad?” Might have to crunch in secret.
I was reading an article this week about emtional eating, the kind of eating that craves a particular kind of food, that comes on all at once, and continues long past you’re full. Yes, yes and yes. For those of you who know me, you know there is so much joy in my life. I have a job, two jobs really if you include teaching at the university, that I truly love. I have a husband I cherish and 5 kids I love (and worry about every day, but so does every mom.) You would be justified in asking, “Why are YOU crying? Why are YOU an emotional eater?” And yet, to me, that question feels like asking the sky, “Why are YOU snowing in May?”
Because it is.
Because I am.
I have been the person to teach lessons in my life, and now I am the person to learn them. Or maybe I have always been both. My prayer is that I will keep my heart open, each day, to whatever comes, and try to stop labeling it so much. This is painful. That is pleasurable. Isn’t it all both depending on how you tilt your head?
I am looking out my office window right now at a sunny day, eating a Cup of Noodles (my favorite thing except for peanut butter . . . and pretzels), and I am realizing that this view has given me both great pain and great pleasure in the 25 years I’ve worked here. The view certainly has changed over those years, first the Delta Center, then Energy Solutions Arena, but that’s not what caused the change in my heart. It was entirely the thoughts I brought to the gazing. I remember a time when the Trax station outside of my window looked like the scene from a horror movie. But when I think grateful thoughts, as I am now, this view is as nurturing as any serene moutain lake. The trees today are lush and green, the fountains lazy and inviting. The passersby seem kind and not in a hurry.
I think I’ll skip the pretzels today. I thank you, and Anna, for that.