He's gone to bed hungry after refusing to eat his dinner tonight. There was a storm of angry tears and frustration first, though, along with a sinking-stomach feeling settled deep in my body.
We're no longer caving to all his wants for food that isn't delivering him the nutrition he really needs.
Three long days of torture for the mother-heart, I tell you.
This trying to do what is right, what will nourish and heal his body instead of allowing his cravings and desires to infiltrate reality as needs.
It feels like a battle of epic proportions, taking on the 2 year old and his food preferences for only carbohydrates, meat and dairy. Nothing green goes in unless its been finely shredded and mixed in with another food. And that's only a recent development.
I cling to it, and I cling to His feet.
This is about so much more than whether our toddler eats green beans.
And yet, it is exactly about our toddler eating green beans, too.
Because like with anything else in life, the mind and the will directly relate to the health and the strength of the body and both the heart and metaphorical heart.
This battle is mind/will and strength/body combined in a doozie of a saga.
I know what his food preferences lead to -- they lead to catching every cold that comes his way as well as long-term illnesses parents pray their children will never face.
This sugar-loving, acidity-forming, antioxidant-lacking diet doesn't lead us down paths we want to tread.
Try explaining that to a two year old who knows the wonders of cheddar bunnies, though, on his tongue.
We must grow, though. Him in his tastes and me in me ability to determine how to best help him make healthy choices.
And all the while be sure that enough grace is laced into the hardballs life naturally throws in our faces; I must keep reminding myself that we parents don't really have to teach our kids the hardness of life. Life teaches that on its own.
Grace must be lived out, shown with flesh on.
So while there will still be the movement toward healthier eating for sure; we'll probably never repeat him going to bed hungry again.
I know; one missed meal won't hurt his body. It's true. He will learn to eat his dinner if we continue to tow the hard line. But maybe the line can be towed without the fast-forward jerkiness that comes from my desire to teach him to eat well and eat what's served nownownow.
I don't know if I know what that looks like in real practice, in real life. Maybe love, maybe grace while still standing firm looks like the green macaroni we had for lunch today -- when I blended spinach into the cheese and milk and made a green cheese sauce for his quinoa/kamut/amaranth/durum noodles.
I really just don't know.
But I do know this -- neither his belly nor his heart are overflowing with anything but anger and emptiness tonight.
And, when thinking, that's not a place I'm willing to go again.