On Being Taken Care Of


I'm currently sitting on the rooftop deck at New Seasons in Portland, OR. I've been travelling to Portland for work pretty frequently since moving to Seattle, and among the things I love about visiting Portland is getting to buy food on the company's dime (or having my parents pay for my food if we go out). This trip is for pleasure though, and while my partner and I are typically very diligent about planning our food, bringing snacks, grocery shopping and making out own food even on vacation I completely neglected to do that for this particular trip. I found myself away from home with no food and no one paying my way, and have therefore eaten out for every meal. And it has been equal parts expensive and delightful. I'm much more aware and concious of my purchases since they are with my own money, and find myself introspecting deeply before each meal. Is this what I want to eat? Is it worth the price? How hungry am I really? What am I craving? And I also find myself enjoying my meals much more. At home, eating is often pleasurable but also something I kind of have to do. I won't say it's "something to get through" -- I love to eat -- but it's not something I reflect on much.

I've also realized that part of my relishing these meals out is that I didn't have to do anything (except pay, woops). I didn't have to get the groceries, or slice the veggies, or cook the food, or do the dishes. I didn't have to save the leftovers or take out the trash or wipe the counters. This realization makes it sound like I've never eaten out before, which of course I have innumerable times. And in general I'd say I don't even like eating out that much - I love to cook, and to know what I'm going to eat ahead of time, and besides am generally a very picky eater. But on this trip, not having to think about food and eating what I want when I want without any of the work has been divine.

I think what I'm realizing in this moment more than how fun it is to eat out is how nice it is to be taken care of. In this case the eateries are taking care of me, but I also love seeing my parents for this reason: I feel taken care of. I feel free of worry and responsibility, neither of which weigh particularly heavy on me at all but enough that I appreciate when they aren't there. That's something I didn't, and couldn't, appreciate as a kid, when everything was taken care of. And begs the question what do I have now that I'm not appreciating before it's gone?

So anyway, major shout out to my mom for taking care of me, both as a kid and now. Both literally and figuratively, I couldn't have done it without you.