I didn’t make a New Year’s Resolution about diet and exercise this year, which is something I usually do. Why? Because in the back of my mind I knew I couldn’t keep it for more than a minute and a half. I’m out of control. I've been out of control the whole month of December. I knew this for sure yesterday at the grocery store when I was thinking about the second anniversary of Don’s passing that is coming up next week and I found myself grabbing a bag of Brachs Mandarin Orange Slices. Can we all say comfort food with a capital ‘C’? I haven’t bought them since the first time I went to the grocery store after Don’s funeral but I have a long history with those candy orange slices. I can still remember sitting in my mother’s lap and her reaching into her side table drawer and giving me one of her orange slices. We kids were not allowed to touch her bag of Brachs and the only time I got a piece is when I needed to be rocked in her lap. I can know all this stuff about why certain foods become our comfort food of choice, but yesterday I was still powerless to control the longing for the feelings that go along with eating sugary orange candy. By the way, did you notice how easily I blamed my mother for what she did in the first twelve years of my life and I failed to take any responsibility for my poor food choices during the rest of my life? The mothers of the world are always at fault. It’s a fast and firm rule of life and who am I to challenge that?
I worked so hard at controlling my weight last year. I even took cooking classes for crying out loud and I walked two miles faithfully two or three times a week from spring to late fall and rode my exercise bike in the cold weather months. And now I’m right back where I started. Already I’m fearful of my biannual check-up in April if I don’t get myself back in check. I could take on my wimpy little undernourished doctor with one arm tied behind my back but he still scares the crap out of me with his soft-spoken concern. If he’d just yell at me instead I could go home and nurse my resentment with a half of pint of mint chocolate ice cream and feel like I showed him who is boss of my life. (People who arrogantly tell you not to eat this or that just drive some of us into closet eating.) Healthy-eating-for-one cooking classes are starting up again at the senior hall in February. Big sigh here. Maybe I need to sign up again since the first round of classes I took last year didn’t stick. I’m a failure. I’m sorry but sugar still tasted better than pinto beans, cabbage soup and broccoli---well, maybe not broccoli. I eat that twice a week.
In the meantime, I will work on a teeny, tiny goal of making this bag of Brachs Mandarin Orange Slices be my last bag until this time next year. I’m starting a new tradition in my life and allowing myself to fall off the Brachs' candy wagon once a year---barring catastrophic events like invaders from outer-space taking over Miami and halting production of one of my favorite TV show, Burn Notice. If the cemetery wasn’t closed for the winter I could be the widow who stands at her husband’s grave site each anniversary of his passing with a bag of candy in hand and people would wonder why I didn’t bring flowers instead. Why can’t they see that little girl inside me who needs to be rocked in her mother’s lap? Why do I still see her after all these years? ©
P.S. The photo above---one of my favorites---is of my mom and my niece, but it could have just as easily have been a photo of my mom and me. There were a whole string of rag-tag kids who got rocked in her lap and when we were too big to be rocked, we still managed to snuggle up tight in her chair. And I'll bet we all have a fondness for Brachs Mandarin Orange Slices.