Grilled cheese sandwiches and easter candy: the ingredients for a happy life

healthy lifestyle concept – good food, health and life – reminder words handwritten of sticky notes

I worked hard for a year to lose the weight I’d gained during a 2-year mission for my church.

The attempt to lose the weight began in 2015.

I succeeded in getting back to what I weighed as a senior in high school, when I was at the peak of physical fitness.

The last year and a half has been taxing on my mind and my body. During a year-long separation, I maintained daily workout routine and healthy diet, though not as strict as I’d been.

When my kids are here, I want to be a kid, too. When my 4-year-old wants to eat candy with her daddy, I don’t want to refuse.

At times, I’ve felt like I’ve fallen off the wagon, completely abandoning all efforts for some semblance of a nutritious diet.

I view my body as a blessing from God. I want to take care of it. I want to be in shape. I want to feel good about myself when I look in the mirror. I pride myself on being able to do physical things that a lot of people can’t do.

I also want to enjoy life, but I can’t shake the guilt that comes when I eat a piece of cake, or candy, or ice cream or a donut, etc. I become worried that all that I’ve worked for will be undone.

I pray for the Lord’s help in finding balance, to have a healthy outlook about it, to not be afraid of not eating perfectly all the time, and that my body will remain physically fit.

I take my kids to my grandmother’s house. Stepping into her house brings me back to childhood. There are so many happy memories there, and her backyard is a wonderland of childhood joy.

This was the location of so many family occasions, including an annual easter egg hunt. I hosted my own easter egg hunt with my two kids this weekend, since they will not be here for Easter.

I showed up with two buckets, a sack load of eggs and more candy than we could ever eat.

I start filling the eggs with candy. My grandma asks if we’ve had lunch.

“No,” I replied.

She fixes every young child’s favorite dish–grilled cheese sandwiches and milk.

Grilled cheese sandwich on old wooden table

Great, I say to myself. Just what I need. Dairy fat combined with the mountain of sugar I’m about to eat.

My kids are full of joy as my grandma sets their lunch on a small table in the sunroom.

“We’re having a picnic,” my daughter says.

She, along with her little brother, sit happily eating their sandwich as they watch dad fill up easter eggs.

In true grandmother fashion, my grandma sets not one, but two great big, greasy grilled cheese sandwiches on the table next to me. They’re cooked to golden brown perfection on whole wheat bread with mayonnaise, just like she used to make for me when I was a kid.

Even though I know I’ll probably regret it, I take a bite. It tastes just like I remembered it as a child.

I continue to fill easter eggs in between bites.

Pile of colorful Easter eggs

A feeling of child-like joy enters my heart. This lunch may not be the most nutritious meal, I say to myself. But for the first time today I am in a happy place. I am reliving all the happiness of childhood as I recreate that experience for my own kids.

My kids and I thoroughly enjoyed our grilled cheese sandwiches.

I hid the eggs and walked with them as they hunted for them. The air was cold, but there was warmth in my heart as I watched them.

When we’d found them all, I took them inside to eat candy downstairs on the couch as we watched another childhood favorite–“The Brady Bunch.”

It was a perfect moment in time. I relaxed. There was no guilt, only joy.

When grandma makes good old-fashioned food for me and my kids, there is an added ingredient that cancels out fat, sugar and unwanted carbs. That ingredient is love. When you have love, your life is complete.

If I had it to do all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing.

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