You see that is what being a parent is all about. Having the opportunity to have something that you love. Then intentionally doing without so your child, who loves it equally (or at least in that moment claims to), can have it. I never understood that like I do now.
And I am not saying I give everything to my children. I sit up late and chow down on their chocolate when they are not around. I really am looking out for their best interest since they do not need all that sugar, right? I am a responsible parent after all. I admit that I have even hid, I mean wandered, in the other room to enjoy a delectable cookie or some other treat out of sight (and sound- my 18 month old has developed the same keen hearing for candy wrappers as my 3 year old).
But with strawberries, I don’t even get a shot! Those little munchkins ate an entire carton (save 1 lone strawberry) within an hour of me PURCHASING them. And that last strawberry, those little snipers got it before I could even make it back to it.
Anyone who knows me knows I do NOT share food. It just bugs me. I am finally coming around to sharing plates “family style” at restaurants. But that is only if I am with people who like the same things as me. I have this weird anxiety that I won’t get enough of what I want. I blame it all on my family’s first trip to a sushi restaurant. I ordered the “safe” chicken teriyaki while they all got roped into trying ‘new things.’ Why they decided trying sushi for the first time in a mountain town in Utah when we lived on the coast is beyond me. Either way, my 13-year-old self was having none of that. All the food arrived, and I got 2 bites before my bowl of food was whisked away from me only to return with 5 grains of rice and the dregs of sauce. I think it scarred me for life.
And as I have gotten older, I have gotten less inclined to share the things I actually want. Like a dog with a bone, I guard my favorite foods. So you can imagine my own surprise when the impossible happened. We were at lunch when my son was about 11 months old. I had ordered something that came with a Parmesan garlic crisp. Something I would normally savor and nibble to prolong the wonderfulness of it. And would never dream of even slightly considering the notion of sharing a tiny crumb with someone else. As I prepared to take my first bite, a chubby little finger came up into my peripheral and pointed to MY crisp.
I swear it was like an out of body experience. I saw my hands move back and break the wafer in two. And one of those pieces floated across the space, in what looked like my own hand, into the small-outstretched fingers of my son.
I knew in that moment exactly how much love I have for my son. I did what I never would have done for any other human being on the face of the planet. Lucky for me, he is a picky eater, so these days he rarely asks for anything. Except for my strawberries. His sister, on the other hand, she eats it all.
Someday, I know I will get to eat a strawberry again. Or not have to share my slice of cheesecake. At some point, I’ll get to stop shoving the giant piece of chocolate I was slowly enjoying into my mouth all at once because I hear little feet running towards the closet I am hiding in.
I know that day will come. Ironically, I am dreading it. For I know the strawberry will then be tainted with sadness. Because my babies will be all grown up and no longer be stealing my strawberries.