Sunday, December 17, 2006

Vegetarian Smarty Pants'

Woesy are the tales a number of my non-culturally-vegetarian friends have told about declaring their food choices to friends, lovers, family, and parents. Though many families come around to at least accepting their wayward muncher's habits, it almost always takes at least a very uncomfortable Thanksgiving or so before it happens.

My own father now not only accepts it, but enjoys cooking vegetarian meals for me and GreenDaddy when we come home. I suppose at a certain point, when you live far from your family, a good solid fact like "M. is a vegetarian" is a treasure. My dad may not know the particularities of how my tastes have changed, so he has a hard time finding just the right birthday gift, as he used to love to do; sometimes he and I spend torturous hours together because we're not even sure enough about each others' changing tastes to have good conversations...but he can count on the no-meat thing in our relationship, and I can tell he relishes it.

His meals say to me: it's true, we don't know each other as deeply as we did when you were a child, but look at this wonderful pasta I've created without the beef I'm so fond of...I made it because although I don't know everything about you, I know something important about the choices you make, and I want you to see that I'm still listening to you, I'm still helping you to be whatever it is you've become, even if I don't understand it.

Besides cooking me vegetarian suppers, these days, my father brags about me. He brags, according to all his friends, about my sweet husband, my weighty baby, and my handsome intelligence. He's always bragged about my smarts, though he makes fun of the vegetarianism even as he supports it. But now, thanks to the heads-up from T., I can explain to him that it is because of the very smarts of mine that he loves to brag up, that I don't eat meat. I can say, "Dad, I can't eat steak. My IQ is too high." Yuk, yuk, yuk.


Henitsirk said...

Isn't it hard living away from your family? I have that same feeling that I no longer really know my parents. Especially during the holidays when we always seem to give each other presents that aren't quite right.

Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

I love this post. Thanks for writing something so positive about families accepting differences w/in their number.

So many people would focus on the ways that their parents don't "get" them anymore, instead of noticing the ways their parents try to be understanding.