I have some catching up to do with posting this week’s installments of my new book, Dates with God. Here is Chapter 4, Part 1: Emma’s Letter #4, in which Emma gives gets a blow from her mother-in-law’s sugar artistry.
Emma Week #4
It’s getting harder to keep to my only 3 sugar treats a week goal. I have lost nearly every week on it. It doesn’t help that my husband’s mother is the Rachael Ray of cupcakes. She treats them like an artist’s canvas. Last night she feted Clark to a birthday dinner. She had 4 dozen cupcakes of various colors, flavors, and every imaginable Pixar character featured in frosting, surrounding a centerpiece made of a chocolate caramel 3-tiered cake that would make any foodie envious. Let’s just say I am glad she doesn’t know anything about food blogs, or she would have had even more of a sensational masterpiece. It’s all old school for her, with her piles of Better Homes and Gardens and Housekeeping that she refuses to throw away because they give her so much inspiration. She also had 4 different flavors of ice cream, and a Baskin Robbins assortment of toppings. I had been planning all day to cash in on my last day of having treats this week. I count a treat as one nice generous bowl of 3 scoops of ice cream or one huge slice of cake or 3 cupcakes since cupcakes are little. I had already had two treats this week so the treat I had at the party would be the last for the week.
We had tons of leftovers, so Clark brought it all home, of course. I never make stuff like this for him, and it’s all love incarnate from his mom. He put the cupcakes on the counter and the ice cream away when we got home, after 10 PM. So in the morning when I went into the kitchen, I so wanted to just serve it all for breakfast. But I was good, I had enjoyed it last night and I knew that I remain rational when I eat sugary treats on a full stomach, but if I eat any on an empty stomach, that just makes me want more and more to satisfy myself. I quickly got rid of the food porn by burying it all in the fridge, for Clark to unearth on his own. I had to package it up first of course and that was dangerous. I kept getting frosting on my fingers and had to be on my toes to remember not to lick my fingers. Instead, I had to keep rinsing them off. When I went to the fridge I had to hide it all behind the cabbage and the bean sprouts. Then I tried to forget it was all there, all day, calling to me. Pure torture!!!!
Everything went well until I had to pick up my kids and my friend Danielle’s kids from the homeschool art class. I agreed to babysit the kids while she got her hair done. We came home and discovered we were locked out! I had to send Christopher to a back window to see if he could crawl through an open window after popping out the screen. It took 45 minutes because a Curious George book was stuck upright right against the glass of the small window in the laundry room. That made it so we couldn’t slide the window. We had to bang the book down and then the window was really sticky and didn’t glide easily.
By the time everyone was gathered inside we were all tired, grumpy, and hungry. Those cupcakes were calling me by name! I had been off sugar for 3 days and my body was screaming for it. One of the ladies in class last week said that that is common when you go off sugar, to feel cravings. She said that it’s the yeast in my body dying off and fighting death by begging for more sugar to keep them alive. In addition to my yeast clamoring to be fed, the kids were yelling too. It would be so much easier to just place a platter of cupcakes in front of them than to actually make something healthy, I thought. So I caved in.
As I watched the kids devour them, I felt so left out and envious. Then I thought, Well, you’re only on Day 3, and those look so good. It doesn’t really matter, you can eat them. You aren’t a bad person for eating sugar. You can start over tomorrow. And you will be less likely to lose your temper at the kids when you don’t feel deprived and left out. So I gave in, and ate one. Then I ate another, and another. They did taste good, but then I felt totally gross the rest of the evening. First I felt hot and spacey with my increased blood sugar, and then after the blood sugar crash I felt groggy as I slogged through making dinner and doing evening chores and getting the kids to bed.
Here is my lost battle analysis.
Where and when was I when I said “forget it”?
At the kitchen table staring at the cupcakes on the table, yesterday around 4:15, and then deciding to eat them.
Where and when was I when I had the stupid conversation?
Hmmm…well, it’s what I just wrote about above. I guess that wasn’t really me having those thoughts. It was satan whispering them to me.
Where and when was I when I felt the Dude Moment?
Yesterday at the kitchen table when I thought, Just eat those cupcakes. They will taste so good and you won’t have to fix anything else. Yes, that was definitely a lie. Because after I ate them I felt such a sugar crash that I definitely needed some protein and fat for dinner to balance the carbs out. Another lie was that eating the cupcakes would make me less likely to get angry at them. I actually lost my temper with my kids because I had eaten the cupcakes. They made me feel less patient. Another lie that was part of the Dude Moment was “It’s easier to just give them the cupcakes then to fix something healthy.” It was easier at first, true, but in the end it wasn’t easier because the kids got more grouchy after eating pure white sugar and I had to referee bad behavior and arguments among the kids as I fixed dinner.
Where and when was I when if felt the build-up of negative feelings?
I was going to say it was after the art class when we were stuck outside and we had to work to get the window open. But after thinking more about it I realize it was actually all day and it started the night before at the birthday party with me eating the allowed treat and then feeling lousy about it when I went to bed because even though I ate what was allowed by my written goal, I ate past the point of being pleasantly full. I also had a lot of feelings of annoyance from my mother-in-law building up inside me during the party as well. She can be such an approval suck that it drives me crazy! Those carried over into the next day.
Where and when was I when I had the beginning of a negative chemical spill?
It was definitely at the birthday party. Clark and I had an argument on the way over to the party and then his mom was in such an obnoxiously cheerful mood that I felt slightly bugged for the rest of the evening.
What could I do differently if I replayed the event over again?
As I think about it, those cupcakes weren’t that good. Frankly, I’ve had more enjoyment from my chewy, fudgy brownies that I make from scratch. Next time I am going to a party or event where I am planning on allowing myself a treat, I am going to bring a treat that I make myself, like my brownies. Those brownies don’t give me as high of a sugar rush and crash because of the whole, natural, fat and sweetener in them. Then, I am also going to ask Clark to keep the sugar at his office and share the poison over there for people who aren’t as sensitive to sugar as I am. I realize that for some people, it really doesn’t affect them. Not everyone is sensitive to it as I am. Some people can eat a little bit and then stop and it’s no big deal, like Clark. Not me. If I eat it, I want more and more. I don’t want to leave it alone! It’s time that I just don’t let it into the house. I am not going to bring temptations like that into my house again!
Heavenly Father, I thank Thee for this lost battle. I thank Thee for the time and skills Thou hast blessed me with that allow me to do these Lost Battle Analyses. I thank Thee that I am learning to be grateful for my failures so I can be thankful in all things. I am learning so much!
I noticed a chemical shift just the other day that really got me spinning. I was listening to a radio show on marriage while driving. One of the callers said her marriage was so wonderful, that even if she had to live in a shack with a dirt floor and a palm tree roof, she would be happy, as long as she could be with her sweetie-pie husband. When I heard that I wanted to gag. I felt annoyed at how people talk so cloyingly sweet about their marriages like that. I felt sad and mad and frustrated that I can’t say the same thing about Clark. It takes more than love to be happy! It takes more than just being married to be happy. I wish I knew how I could be happy, regardless of what he does or how much money he makes.
Speaking of money, I have been learning more about being frugal. This stuff takes me back to days with Grandma. She was quite the frugal queen. My friend Jana gave me some books about frugal living and shared with me her blog. OK, God, I can handle certain things, like recycling Ziploc bags and using coupons. But, dear God, I really wish my husband brought more money in because some of this frugal stuff is just ridiculous. Jana has a bunch of zealous frugal tips that make me laugh. I just can’t quite bring myself to do all the stuff she does. Like going to the cemetery the day after Memorial Day to gather up leftover flowers so she can transplant them in her front yard and dry the rest and decorate her house with them. Or asking to have heavy-duty plastic plates at the end of a dinner party so she can take them home and wash them and reuse them. Or dumpster diving. Or spend four hours every Saturday morning to hit all the garage sales in town. Can I just be done with being poor?