My son called last night and said he was making dinner for me. I expressed my appreciation as this was not something he would regularly offer. In the past, he has very sweetly attempted to make me boiled sausages for dinner and fried eggs for breakfast a few times, but when the experience fell short of his expectations, he would be frustrated and give up. This time I asked what he was making, and he said it was a surprise.
When I was half an hour from home, my son called again and asked exactly when I would be home, as he wanted to keep the dinner warm for me. I could feel his genuine care in making this dish and expressed my appreciation again. I was looking forward to seeing what he has concocted.
When I opened the apartment door, he was sitting in my usual seat on the dinner table, literally guarding the dish he has made for me. Indeed it was a touching moment.
On the dinner table was a plate of relationship—a blending of what I liked to eat, eggs, canned salmon, chilli peppers, cumin and what he liked to eat, baked beans and ketchup. Even the rim of the plate was decorated with ketchup for presentation. There was also a cut avocado and a glass of coconut milk—a whole spread! I have a gluten and dairy free diet due to being allergic, and have chosen not to eat processed sugars and vinegar (it contains gluten) for a while, so seeing this fusion of a meal, I knew my body would not thank me if I ate it. So I told my son I couldn’t eat baked beans and ketchup because of the sugar and vinegar, and his face sank. Feeling into it more, what I felt he was really saying, was more than if I would eat what he has made or not, but it was “Mom, don’t leave me behind.”
I understood that, so I tasted some of it.
Knowing that to not truly leave him behind, I have to take responsibility to live what I know. I was very clear that to taste the food that my son cooked was not to pander to his wishes, but for me to understand life deeper.
I expressed how I could taste and feel the many layers of care he has put into making this dish for me, reflecting on how much our relationship has deepened. I asked if he wanted to finish the rest of the dish or to save it. So he also took a bite of what he has made and said he did not like chillies. I asked then if he minded we disposed of this dish, as neither of us can eat it, he agreed it was a good idea, without feeling upset at all. He saved the coconut milk for himself and I had half of the avocado.
Even though I only took a bite, I could almost instantly feel the effects.
My heart felt like it took a beating with the minuscule amount of sugar and vinegar that I ingested.
I told my son how my body was feeling. He has never been interested in what I didn’t eat in the past or why or maybe I have not really felt and shared the depth of the why myself, so whenever I started to share, he would block his ears and would frequently make nasty comments on my choices of food. But this time, he listened. I was sharing all that my body was feeling at that moment, while it was on-going.
What an absolutely precious lesson this was. Firstly I now have a reference of how even a tiny bit of sugar felt in my body, it was an absolute abuse and violation, and it was a deeper acceptance of how sensitive my body really is. This deepened my commitment of even taking more care with my body when it comes to saying No to foods that don’t support me. Feeling the acuity of the impact also allowed me to share what I felt with my son and as it was much more than just words, he received it with openness.
With my choice of eating what did not support me, I had to bear the consequences of the impact on my body, and laid awake for a long time before falling asleep. But in choosing to give myself tender understanding as well as super acceptance of my choices, the relationship with myself and with my son both deepened.
Even though in the end the dinner was not eaten, my son reflected back to me a closeness that we haven’t experienced for a long time.
We are not here to be perfect, but when in honesty we communicate and share ourselves in realness, no matter what our choices may be, whether we are dining together or not—every step of the way we are learning, walking and growing together in relationship.