This post was inspired by Red Writing Hood. Red Writing Hood is a writing meme. It can be fiction or non-fiction and the word limit is 600. This writing prompt is sponsored by The Red Dress Club. The topic this week was gluttony.
By the third restaurant on Tuesday afternoon, I was ready to call it a day. Scanning menus, searching for something edible for my sick digestive system, was a bigger challenge than I imagined. My mom was patient, kept insisting that the next menu would look better, so we trudged down the sunny streets of downtown Ann Arbor in search of a healthy meal. Finally sinking into wooden chairs by the windows of Cafe Zola, we sipped Ginger and Ginseng herbal tea, nibbled on chicken and tarragon salad.
Giving up coffee has left a gaping hole in my morning routine, and the afternoons drag on for hours without a warm vanilla chai. Friday marked one week of eliminating potential acidic dietary hazards. A week of no wine with dinner, no salt and vinegar chips as a late afternoon snack, no salsa or roasted garlic, and certainly no sun-dried tomato and mozzarella sandwiches. I stand lost in my pantry, covet the things my children can eat, and wonder when I started counting the days until I could order a pizza.
Food is about control and choices for me. It is about setting a certain entertainment ambiance. It is about sharing a bottle of wine with friends. It is about rewarding my kids with baked goods from my kitchen. Not too long ago food felt like my enemy. And for something that I didn’t want to think about, I thought about it constantly. Eleven years ago I hung my head for the last time in my toilet, trying to wipe away the green ring of stomach acid off the underside of the seat, back splash from forced upheaval. Most days I rationed calories. The days that pulled me in all directions ended in gorging, followed by vomiting. But as I cleaned my face that night and rinsed my mouth, fear rather than guilt washed over me. A fear of not being around to take care of my daughter overwhelmed me – as a single parent, how could I take care of her if I was constantly making myself sick?
I walked down the hall to her bedroom thinking maybe this day would finally be the change. I sat in the dark, snuggling my daughter in a huddle on the floor, singing Amazing Grace to lull my two-year old to sleep.
Her breathing eased. I kissed her cheek, and in her dreamy state she whispered, “I’m so glad you are found. Mommies shouldn’t ever be lost.”