Yesterday when my son came home from school he couldn’t wait to tell me all about this boys club he started with some of his friends from school. I’m very familiar with these. He loves to create clubs that are just for boys and by the end of the day he always asks me if I want to join the club and all is well again. Last night was different; he told me girls were allowed if they liked dairy or dog food. He always finds a way to include our dog Lisa so that’s where the dog food comes in.
She is the best who wouldn’t want her in their club.
When I tucked him into bed that night he held his ground about the dairy. He posted this sign on his door. Just to be sure I got the message.
I thought to myself, maybe he isn’t OK with my diet. Maybe he doesn’t like that I don’t eat dairy or meat. After all we once ate a lot of cheese together. Two years ago cheese was one of my favorite foods. I often ordered the cheese course after dinner when my husband and I went out to eat. My son and I loved to eat nachos after school and have yogurt in the morning. Now all that has stopped and I guess he is still making sense of it all.
I thought he understood why I gave up dairy. I’m lactose intolerant and despite how bad cheese made me feel I continued to eat it for most of my life because I was addicted to it. He knows now that I feel so much better since I’ve stopped eating it and that if I do eat it again my stomach will hurt. We have talked about this many times together. Something tells me it’s not really about me not eating dairy.
I recalled the comment I left on Crabby Vegan’s blog yesterday, he’s not that crabby once you get to know him. He was struggling with a similar issue with his sons who were not vegan. I suspect this is a common problem in homes where there are vegans living with omnivores. This is why when my son and I are playing dinosaur together he is always a meat eater and I’m always a herbivore and his dinosaur always attacks mine at the end. He is not happy that we eat different foods.
My son and I are very close I stayed home with him all his life, he is now 7 and in school. We did everything together before he started school, on some level he thought we were the same person. He would like to say things like” We don’t like that do we Mommy” Or “That’s our favorite right Mommy”. Now all of a sudden I’ve become this person who doesn’t order a cheeseburger when he does or want to eat pizza on movie night. He takes comfort knowing that Dad will still eat what he eats and he enjoys saying things like “The guys want meat tonight” There is a big separation there, one that I didn’t realize existed until yesterday.
Today when we were at the grocery store he asked me to buy some almond milk for myself so we could have cereal together. I usually tell him I like to make my own and move on. This time I bought the almond milk and I will make sure to have a bowl of cereal with him even though I don’t eat cereal anymore. I will make a big effort to make myself some vegan mac and cheese once in a while when he is eating his mac and cheese. I will have coconut yogurt at the same time he has his yogurt. I realize now that it’s not about the food, but about the ritual of eating the same foods at the same time. It’s worth the extra effort to try and eat more of the same foods. I know it will make my son very happy. He might even invite me in his club.