Part of me is aghast at the breakfast that left the boys laying round-bellies-up on the couch, moaning with overstuffedness and questioning the wisdom of those last seven or eight bites of chocolate chip waffles. But I must admit, I am inwardly giggling a little bit, too.
"I'm fine with a little belly ache," said Woody, "for this much good waffles."
The boys' Grandaddy--Daddy Honey's father--has a favorite expression: "Everything in moderation--especially moderation." And it has always made me smile. Because isn't that the way it is, whether we subscribe to it as a life philosophy or not? We try hard to cultivate patterns and ways of being that are healthy and life-affirming, and then, we start to feel our good choices like a noose around our necks and we strike out against all those shoulds--should eat well, should exercise, should mediate, should make the beds every morning--the shoulds change, but our eventual resistance is a constant.
So, while our plates at the Honey House are mostly full of plentiful vegetables, unprocessed meats, real fats, fruit, and occasional grains such as oatmeal, rice, and cornmeal, sometimes they're mixed with other things such as chocolates and cookies and sweet breads. And sometimes we go whole-hog for the other joys of modern eating, those that may come with a little discomfort afterward but that nonetheless satiate a spot in many of us that longs for luxurious treats and sensuous, sweet delights: ice cream sundaes and birthday cake and, well, chocolate chip waffles.
I've been inspired in this most by two wise friends of mine, Jennifer and Sarah. Jennifer absolutely radiates with health and naturally gravitates toward things like carrot juice and salmon fillets. And yet, working as a teacher at a little hippie school through the '80s and '90s where plenty of parents had copious and strict rules about diet, she witnessed children binge as teenagers who suddenly, having a measure of control over their own diets, went back to fill in all those gaps with as much "junk" as they could. So, she offers her 8-year-old son Isaiah a lot of choices. She said he consistently chooses a pretty balanced diet with treats here and there.
Sarah's son Sean has some food allergies that limit his choices at public places, restaurants, and at friends' houses. So at Sarah's house, she has whole huge drawers and shelves full of his favorite foods that he *can* eat. When he has friends over, he feels the abundance and shares generously, finding balance that way.
Woody read off the recipe and mixed the dry ingredients while I helped Fox with the eggs and milk.
My boys will remember waffle mornings happily, I have no doubt. And as adults, they'll make their own food choices over which I'll have no influence whatsoever. But hopefully, they'll eat not out of resistance to a mountain of shoulds and no's and limitations from their childhoods, but rather for the love of health, good food, and enjoying the experience of deliciousness and interesting textures in one's mouth.
Moderation, balance, whatever we want to call it, I have a feeling most--if not all--of us are going to spend most of our time in life seeking it and less of our time relaxing into it, whether it be with food, stress, work, family, or whatever. Maybe that's just part of being a human.
But it is something, isn't it, to be on that journey happily, and to recognize good when we've got it.