This past Sunday, my pastor told us to ask our kids “What three things is your mom/dad most passionate about?” Now, I was a bit fearful, thinking my son might say money or work or exercise or reading (‘cause I’m cool like that). But, I decided it would be interesting, so I asked him as we drove home from church, “Son, what three things do you think I’m most passionate about? You know, things that are really important to me, things that I like to talk about, things that I feel strongly about.”
He thought for a moment – and keep in mind he is 11 so he knows what the question meant – and then with all sincerity said “Diet Coke, sleeping and eating.” Worse than I thought.
I kind of laughed and said “well…,” and he quickly said “Is that the wrong answer?” I sputtered out “Well, no, there’s really no wrong answer and if that’s how you really feel…” Then he went on to explain in detail how he saw my passion for those three things. Ouch.
My first reaction was disappointment. Diet Coke, sleeping and eating. Really? What about writing – which, need I remind him, pays our bills? What about the fact that I have been on a soccer team for six years and love playing? What about the nursing homes I visit twice a month with our dog to bring joy (and a bit of dog hair and slobber) to people with depression? What about the camp we BOTH have volunteered at summer after summer for kids with disabilities? Seriously? Am I not passionate about those things?!?
My next reaction was defensiveness. OK, yes, I drink about five to six bottles of Diet Coke a day. And yes, I might be a bit high maintenance about drinking those Diet Cokes (16 oz. bottles only, only the Diet Coke above the label). But I figure there are a lot worse things to get addicted to, and besides, it was the endless, boring hours of playing Hot Wheels with HIM years ago that led me to hit the Diet Coke bottle.
Sleeping. Well, yeah, son, if you were a single mom trying to work from home, run her little business, drive carpool, care for the dog, hamster and three fish, do copious amounts of stinky boy laundry, play Monopoly with you ad nauseum and, oh yeah, resist upping her habit to eight Diet Cokes a day, well you too might be A LITTLE TIRED. You too might talk about sleeping a lot. Frankly, it’s more of a longing than a passion for me, because, oh yea, I DON’T DO IT VERY MUCH.
And then there’s eating. His explanation was that when I haven’t eaten I get really grouchy. I’d have to agree on that. When my blood sugar starts tankin’ you don’t want to mess with me. But I’m not passionate about eating. I simply need to eat when I need to eat.
People who are passionate about eating tend to eat at nice restaurants that don’t have video games. People who are passionate about eating tend to cook meals that do not come in a cardboard box with a little plastic tray. People who are passionate about eating actually sit down when they eat.
As I sit here drinking my Diet Coke, pondering a snack and hoping to get to bed before 1 a.m., I am more resigned to the truth. I mean hey, who isn’t passionate about Diet Coke, sleeping and eating?