Feeding Your Inner Child

Me at about 4 years old. Gotta love the Donny Osmond cut;-)

Most of us are familiar with Throw Back Thursday (TBT) pictures that populate our Facebook and Instagram feeds. For a spell in cyberspace, we share a piece of our physical selves before moving on to emoji-respond or perhaps comment on someone else’s photo from the past.

But do we consider the person in that picture? Do we contemplate the perceptions and notions of the person residing in that young body?

The little girl in the photo here is me at four years old. It’s summer in the Catskill Mountains of New York. It’s before I knew about things like stereotypes, “traditional” roles and the expectations of others. It was before I knew fear and each day was a glorious discovery.  

Although that little girl didn’t have the words to use then, I can distinctly recall feeling empowered holding that heavy bat in my hands. An anticipatory eagerness dwelled inside of me each time a ball was sent my way. I didn’t want to stop playing.

Shortly after this picture was taken, I heard phrases from adults and kids just a hair older than me (though back then, the age difference felt monumental) that altered my perception of that little girl and her bat:

“You throw like a girl.”

“You can’t play that.”

“You don’t know what you’re doing.”

“You’re too delicate.”

“Baseball isn’t for you—it’s a boys’ sport.”

It was the 70’s and gender roles were still fairly traditional and inflexible. 

I invite you to pour a cup of tea and “interview” you from the past, before the world filled you with memes and ideas that no longer serve you. There is a power that comes from returning to the past with fresh eyes: a shift in our perceptions. This shift has the potential to nourish our soul.

COVID-19 is a horrific virus that plagues all of us; it does, however, offer us the gift of time to reflect and question what is feeding us and what we might prefer to be ingesting. 

Food for Parents and Kids of All Ages

During this pandemic, while doing our part to stay home and flatten the curve, I stumbled upon this poem my son had written at nine years of age. The genius of this assignment is its simplicity, it’s ability to extract one’s perceptions and personality preferences through present tense verbs: I see, I cry, I dream.

While many of us are still homebound, I encourage you to nourish yourself and your family members with this poetry “workout” of sorts.  We have all seen the GIF pictures flooding social media now of people going into their respective fridges every ten minutes, irrationally hoping to find something new to eat. 

But more often than not, we are hungry for connection and understanding—particularly during this unchartered world of COVID-19. Why not try to feed yourself and your loved ones by fostering that connection and understanding via poetry?

Here’s what I’ve created:

I am apart but never alone.

I wonder if our new normal will ever feel normal.

I hear the news in the background like a garbage compactor that never shuts down.

I see hope in the angels on the frontlines fighting to save humanity every day.

I want the pandemic to unite, not divide us

I pretend I can go to my mailbox without fear

I feel for the planet

I worry about what comes next

I cry for humankind

I understand my parents more each decade

I dream about sitting in a restaurant with family and friends

But the most important thing I do is see each day as a new opportunity

                       My Son’s Poem in 3rd Grade

Memorable Mad Libs

My son is on the cusp of 13, close to that age where young adulthood is a few blinks away. Up until last year, he LOVED Mad Libs—that simple pencil-to-paper game that works both your comedic creativity and parts of speech knowledge.

With social distancing still encouraged during COVID-19, I found my wandering imagination waxing nostalgic for our giggling days spent over many a goofy Mad Lib. Aha, I thought (I regularly talk to myself), presents are often forgotten but a personalized Mad Lib—now that’s a memory he can take to college someday🙂

So here’s what I created for the soon-to-be teenager. My maternal gut tells me I’ll be witnessing a smile that money can’t buy, perhaps a belly laugh or two (depending on his answers;-)

Here’s what I believe most of us in this life are hungry for: to matter, to be noticed, to feel heard. Each of us has the power to help feed another’s soul. Toni Morrison once said something I will never forget (this was way back on the Oprah Show in the 90’s—where has time gone??):

“When a kid walks in the room—your child or anybody else’s child—does your face light up? That’s what they’re looking for.”

A personalized Mad Libs is a great way to show a loved one they matter. You are giving that child (or adult:-)a verbal “light up” from you to them.

Feel free to use the Mad Libs I created for my son. I encourage you to get creative and feed your own soul in the process:-)

Cooking with Coronavirus

Roasted Red Pepper and Lentil Soup–Yum!

Wow—my first official blog post is here…in the midst of a worldwide pandemic! No wonder I had time to cook up the tasty soup pictured here. 

Food and relationships—they go together like bread and butter. The epiphany came to me several years ago, after parting ways with my ex. I found myself hungry, starving actually. But it wasn’t for food; when I sat with the sensation of desire, I discovered that I was desperate for connection. 

Suddenly, a flood of food references percolated (see what I mean?? Coffee anyone?) in my head:

Boy I’m in a pickle!

              I’m craving a sweetness I don’t know how to find.

             I’m ravenous…for company.

             My upcoming book (launching July 2020:), The FriendshipDiet, explores the physical, spiritual and psychological metaphor between our intimate relationships and food. 

            The Friendship Diet requires us to look within, to explore the emotional terrain of ourselves in order to better understand our past and current relationships—what better time to reflect than during a worldwide pandemic!

            I leave you with an easy recipe I created based on a combination of my inner nutritional guidance and what I had on hand during our current stay-at-home order. Just like a relationship, you’ll notice that the best soups require time—something we are gifted with right now.

Roasted Red Pepper and Lentil Soup:

Ingredients:

1 pint of sweet peppers

1 cup of red lentils (rinsed well)

1 cup of grape tomatoes

2 cups of chicken or vegetarian broth

½ an onion (roughly chopped)

Directions: 

Sautee the onions in 1 tablespoon of olive oil/butter/avocado oil/canola oil

Mix the peppers and grape tomatoes with ¼ tsp. of salt and 1 tablespoon of olive oil (or others above)

Roast peppers on a baking sheet for 20 minutes at 400 degrees

Place broth and washed lentils in a pot with the now roasted peppers, tomatoes and sautéed onions. Allow to simmer for up to an hour.

Using an immersion blender or regular blender, mix the ingredients together until a thick soup forms.