I would give my last breath for my kids — would literally trade my life for theirs with absolutely zero hesitation. They need a kidney or an eyeball or half the blood in my body? Hit me with some anesthesia and take anything they require. I’d go to the end of the earth, drag myself across a desert until I’m as dry as the sand, scrape along hundreds of miles of pavement on my hands and knees if it meant saving them from hurt or harm or heartache. I would do anything for my children, with one tiny-but-important exception.
I won’t share my food with them — because there’s no “we” in “my food.”
I know. Parents should set an example of generosity and a giving spirit, and I strive to do so every day — in other areas. But when they come to me with those big, pleading eyes and hopeful expressions asking if I’ll spare a bite or a sip of whatever I’m noshing on, they’re met with a swift and ruthless nope, and they’d better stop that reaching before they find themselves with an accidental bite wound. I’m not trying to be mean, but there are some perfectly legit reasons why I don’t want them all up in my refreshments, whether I’m eating candy or kale.
First and foremost, kids are gross AF. I’ve seen those fingers probing various orifices (and then wiping the findings on my walls — thanks a lot, piglets) and leaving the toilet without encountering the slightest trace of soap. I’ve witnessed the way those remnants of chewed-up food slide into the cup after they get a drink, and the string of spit approximately the thickness of a tugboat rope that tethers their lip to your glass. I know how they lick the flavor off the Cheetos and the cream out of the Oreos and then leave the slobbery remainder once the good stuff is gone. I take my food too seriously to allow it to be abused in such a vile manner.
Then there’s the matter of snack inequality — namely, my kids get to eat yummy stuff all the time, and I don’t. They get cupcakes and those soft, frosted sugar cookies at school when it’s somebody’s birthday. They get sweets at every holiday and lollipops at the bank drive-thru. Meanwhile, I’m over here sadly restricting my intake of sugar, so I can fit into the swings when I take them to the playground (plus, my leggings only have so much stretch).
So when I’m diving into the deliciousness that is one of my few-and-far-between indulgences, they damn well better think twice about asking me to share. Oh, you had a cupcake at school and that squished Twinkie your friend gave you on the bus, and now you want a piece of my weekly treat? Step off, sucka. It’ll be somebody’s birthday again soon.
Look — I provide them with all the nourishment they need. It’s not like I’m sitting there chowing on a banquet while they wait with empty bowls like Oliver Twist. They aren’t deprived. And if I have something especially enviable, like a box of Girl Scout cookies I don’t wanna come off of, I’ll squirrel them away and enjoy them privately. I’m not stuffing my face with goodies in front of the kids while they’re munching joylessly on carrot sticks.
I spend my days giving everything I have — almost endlessly — because that’s what moms do. My children siphon off my physical, mental, and emotional energies as I shuttle them from place to place, remember important things on their behalf, advocate for them, mediate their arguments, help them with homework. And if I want to keep something as trivial as my food from them, I’m not going to feel guilty about it. Because as any parent can tell you, it’s pretty much the only thing that I can guarantee is mine and mine alone.
I’m not withholding love or care or parental guidance, just that Cadbury egg stashed in the back of my top dresser drawer.