Monday, March 15, 2010

Food.....a decoy?

Well anyway, another funny woman, Erma Bombeck, wrote that she could always tell when she started a new diet. On that day, she would ransack her sofa, lifting up each cushion to find those M&M peanuts she knew she had long ago dropped. Food. Hmmm. Is it what we eat or how much time we spend denying ourselves donuts?
I'll circle back around to the word nourishment, but you'll have to wait a minute. Because as we know, (Spoiler Alert!) it's real nourishment that we seek.
I am from a huge family. That's three meals a day multiplied times all of those years. That means my mother had to supplement with fillers like rice and spaghetti and grits and potatoes. (Carbs anyone?) It was simply too costly to go the route of braised asparagus when feeding eight children. Sometimes, for a treat, we got salads. (Salad: Mostly 1000 Island dressing with lots of croutons. Salad.) When my boys were little and with me in Bell's Grocery Store, Cole would say, "Mama, please may we get some grapes and Kiwi?" My answer, "No, that costs too much. Go find those cheese puffs." (I am so sorry, Cole. Please forgive me. I'll FED EX you some fruit tonight.)
Taylor was in elementary school from the time he was 4 until he was 14.(He's...well, you know what he is.) Taylor had a phenomenal, incredible, gifted, beautiful teacher, Mary Sgarlato. Each day we sent snacks with our kids. One day a carefully worded note came home from Ms. Sgarlato that read, "Maybe you could vary Taylor's snacks some to include a more healthy variety of foods." What??? What on earth was wrong with Cheetos and slices of Velveeta? But, I listened to her and made changes. The very next day I sent Doritos and miniature marshmallows. (Kidding!) I can't remember what I sent after that, but I'm guessing I gave sliced apples a whirl for a week or two. Old habits are hard to break.
What I know is this: Eating (Food) is so often not about nourishing our bodies. We trick ourselves into thinking that the sugary icing or the hot buttered roll is going to fill up that hollow place in us---that hollow place we have not even identified....out loud. If our bodies are true containers that offer a home to our souls and our spirits, what is it that our containers need that feeds us?
What is real nourishment anyway? What nourishes your soul? What nourishes you so much that you forget to eat lunch or keep going right through dinner? My guess is that it might have to do with being engaged---being in contact--being connected with yourself and with others. My sister told me yesterday that for her, emotional pain is being estranged from herself and from others. Yes, I would say that could cause a hole in our hearts for sure.
How do we fill in and fill up that hole---bridge that gap----circle back together---back to our holy selves? So,here's my big fat spiritual question:
How do we make the hollow ......hallowed?
Real nourishment calls for us to reach out, to connect, to notice one another, to acknowledge, affirm and touch one another.
News flash: Krispy Kremes are a decoy for real love--for nourishment. It's true.
I'm sure I'll probably crave donuts for as long as I live. That's ok. What I want to crave along with those, however, is real, complete, nourishing food....for my soul.

And, when you find those M&M's under your sofa cushions,
keep them.
But send us all some love.
Our souls are hungry.
(Ok, on second thought, and maybe just send me a few of those M&Ms--in an unmarked box.)

Airport Security: Rated R

Isn't this a family-oriented blog? I need to give one of those "Mature Audience" warnings at this point about this post. This posting is meant for mature audiences. If there are young children in the room, ask them to leave before you continue reading.
Taylor and I have had the pleasure of flying in and out of Molene By-God, Illinois many times. Molene is the most direct route to Iowa University Hospital and our holy neurosurgeon doctor guru. Let me just tell you that the airport security folks in Molene take their jobs very very seriously. The screeners might even be elected positions there. It's like Atlanta airport security on steroids. Getting through security in Molene with Taylor almost requires a passport. Only a video of our screenings would convince you of the absurdity of it all.
Taylor has little titanium rods in his neck. He has had two major surgeries on those two very high vertebrae---the risky kind---well, only if you value being able to move your limbs before and after surgery. Ok, enough of that medical background. Ho Hum. Just get the picture in your mind: Incapacitated Adult Down Syndrome Male (I have the legal documents that state this), neck brace, physical pain, MRIs/X-rays in hand, airport wheel chair requested.. In Molene, for whatever reason, they always separated Taylor and me prior to going through the x-ray hall of fame. Remember, Taylor can't talk. When I went over to explain to him that he would sitting on the other side of the plexiglass from me (his mother and legal guardian), the security officer informed me, "Ma'am, if you touch him, we will have to isolate you. You are not allowed to approach him in any way." I guess they did not want me to remove the marijuana or meth I had stuffed into his pockets. But the fun was only about to begin.
Here's "Dwayne" the career ladder security officer-screener trying his darndest to engage Taylor in the airport's version of Simon Sez.

Dwayne: "Mr, Clausby, we are going to need for you to put your hands on top of your head."
Taylor: (Stage Direction): Does not move. Does not show any sign of recognition that any direction had been given.
Dwayne: "Mr. Clausby, put your right hand on top of your head."

I, with my nose pressed against the plexiglass, am thinking: Taylor does not know his right from his left. He has been in physical therapy for two years trying to get his hands on top of his head. If you can get him to do any of this, Dwayne, you're hired. You can give up this airport job and become a physical therapist.

Dwayne (On his walkie-talkie): "Darla, I'm going to need back up here. Mr. Clausby is not cooperating. We're going to need to do a pat-down and search."
Me: First of all, get his name right. It's only two syllables and you have not read it right yet. America, feeling safer yet? Mr. Clausby might be a terrorist.
Dwayne: "Mr. Clausby, we're going to need to pat you down. Spread your legs."
Taylor: (Stage notes) Sensing that someone is about to touch his pumice, tells Dwayne, "Not nice. Go nice. Mine. Not yours." (Translation: Nobody was going to touch Taylor's good-touch/bad touch bathing suit area. Especially Dwayne with his blue latex gloves. Sorry, Dwayne. No can do.)

Apart from being totally appalled, infuriated and ballistic, I am also a bit amused that neither Dwayne nor Darla are able to (1) Find any drugs on Taylor. I guess they concluded that he is not a "mule" (drug runner.) (2) Nor is Taylor any good at playing Simon Sez. Taylor never put his left foot in and shook it all about. Not even once. Following two or more directions has been a goal in his IEP since he was two. He was not going to suddenly "get it" because he was in an airport.
Relenting and coming to terms that Taylor was not able to "Do the Hokey Pokey," we were reunited after the truncated strip search. But! There was still the luggage! Taylor's bag was emptied and itemized. On the advice of my Physician Assistant sister, I had packed my expensive shampoos in little < 3 oz. specimen containers. This was the funniest part (and the R rated part). Darla and Dwayne, took one look at the three medicine specimen containers---full of white, pearly conditioners and assumed that Taylor had provided "specimens" for the doctor. Tense, furtive eye-contact between them told me that they were stumped. The only words Dwayne spoke to me were, "The doctor ordered these specimens?" D&D, homeland security protectors assumed that the contents in these little jars were.....well, uh.....semen. (Oh, come on! You gotta laugh!) But, you can believe they were not about to have that conversation with me---and certainly not with Mr.Can't-Even-Play-Airport-Simon-Sez-Drug-Smuggler Tyler Clausby.

By the time they finished with us, D&D even allowed Taylor to take a huge bottle of orange juice through security. Because I didn't want to pay $3.89 on the "other side," I told D&D that Taylor (Tyler) was diabetic. They didn't even flinch. Diabetic and uncooperative. Maybe they radioed ahead to Atlanta.
"Let him pass!" Dwayne said. "Let him pass on through!"
Homeland Security heard from me. Believe it.
Everybody sing: "And you do the Hokey Pokey and you turn yourself around....that's what it'a all about."