J2 Content – Perspectives

A varied collection of thoughts on education and parenting

I Love You More Than Cookies (and Donuts)

I said that once to my daughter. In fact, I’ve said it to her many times.

She knows it means I love her a great deal, because she knows her Daddy loves to bake and to eat sweets. Cooking is fun for me, and it’s a social thing for me as well. I cook with my mom. I cook with my wife. I cook with my daughter. I cook for dinner parties we go to, and I cook because it makes me feel good. I don’t mean “grilling” either, I mean cooking… stuffed chicken breasts, soups, stuffed peppers, chili, pot roast, cakes, cinnamon buns, crumb cake, cookies, etc., . I’ll cook from a cookbook. I improvise. I experiment. It’s something I enjoy doing.

I also eat what I cook. Again, it’s a social thing. When my family leave the house  to do something, we (I’m embarrassed to say) usually go out to eat. A night out is rarely a walk, a bike ride, or a trip to a park. It’s a trip to the movies with a giant tub of popcorn or a trip to that town with the good restaurant or a good bakery.

So, when I say to my daughter “I love you more than cookies” she has no doubt in her mind that she is very important to me.

But, there’s a part to that statement which I’m not giving enough attention to. I love her more than cookies( and donuts), so I need to stop eating those cookies and donuts (or at least eating so many). Because with each extra treat… each unnecessary calorie, I’m risking cutting short the time we’ll be able to spend together. I love her more than cookies, so why do I eat the cookie knowing it could take a year away from my life with her?

Even more, I know that she looks to me as a role model. She’s a petite and active young woman now, just as I was once a much thinner and more active young man. Circumstances change as we grow older, and I find myself now having held on to my affinity for snacks but not having maintained my active lifestyle. My daughter sees that and she knows (or at least thinks she knows) where my priorities are. I do not say that I love her more than my bicycle or more than hockey – I tell her that I love her more than cookies.

Right now, she has her mother and I telling her she can only have 2 cookies or that she should have an apple when she’s hungry. Mom has Doritos for breakfast, Dad grabs 2 cookies and 2 more for “later”. She sees that. She knows that mom gives Dad the extra big slice of cake, and she can’t wait to be old enough to be able make a batch of brownies every time she is craving a chance to “lick the bowl” just like Dad does. She also sees and hears very little about how much I exercise. I do some, but it’s far more noteworthy when I do than when I do not. I have every reason to think she’s going to follow me down this path. Why shouldn’t she?

I love her more than cookies… so why am I choosing cookies over an extra month with her and her future family?

It’s not too late… I’m not “fat”, just not the fit and active person I was 3… 4… 6… 10 years ago. And I have every reason to get back into that.

I often make the excuse that with two kids and a lot of  busy days, our house is necessarily full of junk. That’s not true, though. It’s my own fault that the kids prefer “Milk and Cereal Bars” to eggs and bacon, and the fact that such foods are in our cabinets is my responsibility as well. I do much of the shopping. We do not need 5 kinds of granola bars or Magic Shell ice cream topping. We could have more fruit and vegetables in the house.

With this post, I resolve to make a change. It’s a change I’ve made in my head a dozen times over the last two years, but today I put it (electronic) writing.

It is my hope, that doing so helps me stick with it… because I do love her (and my son and my wife) more than cookies (or donuts).

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