I secretly save the best for myself – my messy beautiful

The boy across the street is incomparably generous. He lets Jo borrow all manner of toys for weeks on end. He often intones, “I have soooo many toys. Sure, Jo, you can borrow.”

Jo, on the other hand, is like a stingy old codger on his death bed, bony fingers wrapped around whatever happens to be within reach.

Photo by Skesis

He gets it from me.

When I’m portioning out food for a meal, I constantly evaluate AJ’s plate against mine, and if his looks better or has more meat or sweet potatoes or sauce or whatever I might be after, I do a little switch-a-roo before smacking the plates down, and no one is ever the wiser.

My stingy little codger gets fed, eyes twinkling. “I got the best one.”

I know at this very minute that there are 4 chocolate chip cookies remaining in their crackly plastic sleeve on top of the refrigerator. I hid them under the tortilla chips last night so that Jo won’t notice them. If he asks for one later today, after having eaten an entire kale salad topped with steamed broccoli, I will give him one. Maybe half. And I tell myself it’s because I want to keep him healthy. But mostly, it’s because I want them for myself.

I have a friend, Clio, who I laugh with while our kids bounce around on her back yard trampoline. She brings out bowls overflowing with berries. Platters of cut cheese and crackers. There is an industrial size box of sustainably-manufactured, organic gummi candy in her pantry, and she doles out those little packets like they’re going out of style. I love going to her house. Shockingly, so does Jo. I often imagine–nay, hope–that heaven is like Clio’s house. Laughter in the back yard and delicious snacks neverending.

I know the basic concepts that are behind all this. My mother was also a food stasher, and likely her mother, who grew up poor in a dusty Texas town. Scarcity vs. abundance, blah blah blah. And I’ve tried to shift the dynamic—boldly buying a big $5 clam of strawberries and just polishing off the whole thing with Jo in one sitting on our front porch. Those moments of abandon feel good. But my default is the codger.

The bony old hoarder who thinks there’s never enough for her.

Pull up a chair, old gal. What are you hungry for?


I was inspired to write post by Glennon Melton’s Messy, Beautiful Warriors project on her blog, Momastery. The very first post I ever read there was this one. So I’ve kept in touch with her.

Learn about how to add your voice to the project here, and check out her book here.

(And no one paid me to write this, despite the commercial feel of that little banner down there. I just harnessed the inspiration this morning and thought you might enjoy knowing about Glennon’s stuff.)

19 thoughts on “I secretly save the best for myself – my messy beautiful

  1. Another great reason I do so enjoy living alone….it’s all mine. But, I do ration my own stuff to myself. How odd is that?….not so much.

  2. There’s one of those Facebook truism cartoons floating around that days something to the effect of “motherhood is eating an entire candy bar in the closet because you don’t want to share.” I “like” it Everytime I see it because it is so true!

  3. I have always been this way, too. (as has my mother)…it reminds me of that conversation we had about our mentality of poverty. I am really making an effort to recognize this and change it in my life. Hell, I have greeting cards I’ve saved for 15 years because they’re so cute, I don’t want to use them on someone else. Just a few days ago, I decided to pick the nicest one and use it on a friend. And it’s working…giving away something I’ve been hoarding brings me much more joy. (Still a long road ahead, though. I have to consciously surrender often.)

    1. Yes! “The mentality of poverty.” and YES! giving away things we hoard. The other day, I found a V05 Hot Oil treatment tube (!! they still make it!) that I found at a vacation rental we stayed at 3 YEARS AGO. I would look at it in the shower for 3 YEARS and think about how lovely it would be when I had time to put up my feet and lavish hot oil on my hair. I took the tube with me to a women’s weekend recently and forgot all about it. When i got home, I found hot oil treatment all over my suitcase. The tube finally broke. Hoarding fail.

  4. What a relief to know I’m not alone in my food hoarding! I wonder if it’s because as moms we’re so used to giving so much of ourselves so much of the time that when it comes to doling out “the best” food and we can get away with it without anyone noticing, it’s like a small gift we can give ourselves. Nicely admitted and written.

  5. Oh God, yes–I tell myself it’s from growing up with two perpetually hungry brothers and a hungry dad who ate everything in sight and against whom I had to fight for food. Or maybe I just really love to eat….everything…delicious?

  6. Oh my God!! Me, me, me! This is totally me. And I am surrounded my people who will gladly give up their best to me. Sometimes I think I am the only person like this. So thank you. Time for some self-reflection. 🙂

  7. HM, Your stories, self-deprecation and way of putting things bring regular measures of laughter to the world … You are such a fun and engaging voice to read, are bold and courageous, and I always feel like you deeply empathize and sympathize. Thanks!

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