Successful Dieting; Stop Eating What Is Eating You

Walking at the park and shamelessly eavesdropping whenever the conversation is close, snippets because the see-saw of passing keeps contact to a minimum. Couples sharing a story and parents laughing with the kids are my favorites.  I listen and we smile when they look my way.

Today was different.
A young mother needed something…some comfort, some pain relief. And it was pretty obvious that food was her pill of choice. Dad and kids walked together, but several steps behind mom as she struggled to carry her weight. They seemed to be giving her space. When Dad and the kids laughed, Mom angrily shouted for them to keep up. One of the girls asked if they could stop on the bridge and look at the water. Mom’s sigh let everyone know the depth of her annoyance.  She stopped dead-still, back to the family, foot tapping, and waited while they interfered with her life.  They looked at the water.

No way for me to make this my business. None.
I could smile and say something inane…”beautiful day”…but it wasn’t a beauty she could see. So I just said, “Hi. Cute kids. Nice day to be together in the park.”

And I moved down the path, helpless.

This young woman reached for the comfort of food–the comfort of eating and the comfort of suppressing what was eating her.  That comfort is vital but her choice is deadly.  To sustain we have to find some wiggle room–a way to get out from under the pain.

Sometimes, the comfort is food or drink…or both..fleeting comfort that adds new layers of need.

Realistically misuse of food and drink lead to a new guilt, but a guilt that is easier to handle than the guilt or shame that triggered the pain. This new guilt is one that masks the hopelessness and one that we say we can control. We just need to stop.

That isn’t the key.  Dieting won’t open the guilt and shame to the light of freedom.  Dieting is the twin of drinking/eating for oblivion, another broken crutch that won’t hold the weight.

Risk.  Risk trusting someone, an individual or a group with whom to share what needs to be spoken.  Risk opening up what festers so the healing can happen.  Imagine the joy of no longer needing the false comfort because we faced the real pain and we understand.


Single Mothers

Playing alone, my three-year old grandson prepared to knock over a stack of wooden blocks.  Hand poised to topple, he said in a gentle and loving voice,  “Now, Son, cover your ears.  This will be really loud and Daddy doesn’t  want your ears to hurt.”  Sam was being Dad and taking care of business, the business of protecting his Son.  A very small happening with huge significance.

My intention is to focus on the importance of dads in the development of children, but once again I list disclaimers first.  Tag end placement risks misunderstanding.

Single parenthood, due to the loss of a military spouse, should have our country’s complete  support.  Becoming a single parent as a result of fulfillment of duty by a deployed member of the armed forces  is tragic.   Women and men left to raise families deserve every possible measure of comfort.

Any family in which death takes a parent deserves comfort and support.  The difficulties are staggering.

Single parenthood due to divorce often demonstrates that the worst consequences are not handled by the adults but by the children.   I know from personal experience the depth of hurt felt by children.

A newspaper article about an organization formed to discourage teen pregnancy, listed added difficulties experienced by very young parents, especially any girl facing the future without  help from the baby’s father.  This kind of single parenthood has unique problems and soul-searching decisions.

There are some parents, male and female, who do not deserve the title.  Their children are better for the absence of such people.

My need to list disclaimers first is my need to avoid any shadow of disrespect for difficult circumstances and difficult decisions.   Millions of single parents in those difficult circumstances do raise the children in loving and supportive homes.

All that being said, a statistic heard on NPR staggered my ability to comprehend.  I listened, hoping to hear a correction of the statement that 2/3 of all births in 2008 were births to single mothers.  Two-thirds of all babies born in 2008 were born  to women without a partner of the same or opposite sex?

No numbers told how many pregnancy were within same-sex committed unions prohibited by law from  ‘married’ status.

No numbers explained how many committed opposite sex couples preferred to raise children without being legally married.

Teen pregnancies were part of the statistic, but the percentage was not given.

No follow-up statistic listed rape pregnancies carried to term.

What has me shaking my head is the number of women choosing to raise a child without a male parent.   How can the influence and importance of a male parent be so discounted?  Uncles, grandfathers, male friends have a role and can step up when difficult circumstances prevail.  But to choose to raise any child without a father in the home is a choice I have great difficulty understanding.

Remember that old  slogan, ” A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle”?  As a woman who has a lifetime record of supporting feminine issues, I say, “Fine”.  We are strong.  We  roar.  We are invincible.

But we are a single sex, that Venus/Mars thing.  We are all we can be, but we are not male.   Any little girl needs her dad to enrich her princess quality, to show her how a man treats those he loves, to be reflected in a way that perfects  her roar.  Any little boys needs his dad to share the mysteries of the  male walk, to show how to take care of business, to support the roar.

I sit here shaking my head at such discounting of the importance of Dad.


This is hard. Two rights searching for a way to avoid a wrong, to find the correct solution without breaching strongly held opinions.  Right now the Republican/Democratic primary ads reinforce the conventional wisdom of, “I win at any cost.  You loose.  I am right even if I twist the truth.  You are wrong.”

Surely there are  bits of history and wisdom earned by sorting  decisions  deeply affecting self and others. We need to find that narrow place allowing wiggle room.  It is too painful to believe that every solution must have winner/looser paradigm.

Together, back and forth, we have traded thoughts, being careful to manage the emotion and continue to express nearly opposite opinions. We have acknowledged that there is spillage from other life situations causing some added stress and coloring this disagreement.

But it is there–that gorillaphant in the room. Over? Under? Through? Around? This IS hard.  This is one of those inescapable and annoying life lessons.  Surely, one person does not have to lose so another person can win.