This morning, Jesse went to his first day of theater camp. He goes every year and loves it. A few hours later, I dropped Gillen off down the street at Charlie Elliott Nature Center, for five days and four nights of camp. He has been excitedly waiting for four years to be old enough to go to the overnight version of his nature camp. I'm sure he'll be fine. My only concern had been that he and Jesse would get sick before these camp weeks - they also have a week of cool day camps while staying at their aunt and uncle's home next week. This "concern" of mine brings me to a past fear it's time I confessed here -
Eventually, painstakingly, finally, I saw my belief system for what it was. I got real about the fact that this is their journey. Plus, they might just have inherited the better immune systems of others in their families. It sure seems that way. I had an uncle that lived for a crazy number of decades on pretty much nothing but alcohol and cigarettes. And, I started to trust that they might even find their own way to choices that were best for them. As with their educational freedom, these are their choices to make. I can only strew lots of options.
Gillen went to an overnight birthday party this past Saturday night. The hosting mother is infamous for the large stores of Little Debbies, chips, candy, soda and other packaged food she keeps on hand - mass quantities of it that she uses to show visitors her love. She is very generous with this love. For breakfast on Sunday, they had bacon, sausage, biscuits, sweet tea (my favorite), eggs and hot dogs. Gillen came home raving about the sausage, but nauseous.
That same day, Jesse and I spent the entire day at Six Flags with his friend Logan and Logan's mom as both boys' early birthday celebration. You aren't allowed to bring food or water into Six Flags so we bought the expensive food there, all day. We rode the Mind Bender, and had loads of other looping, swirling, bumping fun. Jesse announced that this was his favorite birthday celebration ever. Over the course of the day, Jesse ate a Johnny Rocket milk shake, a cheeseburger, onion rings, a coke and ice cream. Maybe it was the sheer quantity, but I believe it was more to do with the quality, that made him throw up later that night at home.
He and Gillen were both dragging yesterday, due to their exciting Saturdays. Without my bringing it up, they both requested lots of salad and vegetables. They didn't want dessert. Today, they are going to camp fully restored.
This all goes to confirm, yet again (I seem to need lots of confirmation on this topic) that it was the right choice to start letting them make their own food choices, completely, and let them learn to listen to their own bodies. Their organic farming father, their food knowledgeable mom and, of course, their nutritionist grandmother have contributed acres of unsolicited food facts to the playing field. Gillen watched King Corn with us, they've gone to organic farming conferences, to Slow Food events, and many meals have been seasoned with our feelings about industrial farming and our country's food policies.
I no longer make frightening faces when they choose food and drink that I wouldn't choose. I have also noticed that they are less drawn to the foods that we used to ban when they were little. I think they're losing their fear that it will be the last bit of blue dye or high fructose corn syrup that they'll ever see. They choose to eat so many vegetables and fruits and love all kinds of food.
I'm sure that it's not the end of the battle, this fight with my inner demons. But for now, my more trusting side seems to be taking over the helm.