Sweeter Still

The other half of the custard brownie sundaeAfter five days without sugar, my dessert box craved something sweet on date night. After eating half of our two-for-one custard brownie sundaes, my husband and I looked at each other with the sickly feeling of overindulgence.  “It’s almost too sweet,” he said.

I agreed, and we took the extras home to the freezer for another day. But that didn’t keep me from going back and finishing mine an hour later. My husband’s is still sitting in the freezer.

For most of my childhood and teenage years I swung between the sugar extremes. All or nothing. I craved sweets, indulged whenever possible and still never tired of their pleasing charm. I even worked in the ultimate job—an ice cream shop with free-to-eat privileges. Until . . . I saw the negative consequences and swore off sugary treats for two full years.

But I returned to eat, again—cheesecake from my mother-in-law, a boxful of Teddy Grahams, and Twizzlers and Twix  from the gas station by my apartment.  My passion for sweets crashed again with an ensuing low.  Since a sweet tooth never seems to be satisfied, I lost myself in either indulgence or prohibition.

My emotional and spiritual swings mirrored my sugary ones.  To compensate, I redirected my passions into good pursuits and rode out the lows with the saying, “No sudden movements.” That could be compared to assuming fruit desserts like strawberry rhubarb crisp, peach cobbler or blueberry strudel are nutritious no matter how much you eat.  The indulgent self-satisfaction followed by self-justification still remained.

A flurry of circumstances, though, in these middle-age years brought that opposition within me to a climax.  In a world of pleasures to pursue and causes to fight, I prayed to set aside my zeal in favor of temperance. And, I chose to bridle my passions rather than let them consume me.

Even now, a worry remains in the back of my mind: Can I still eat the sweet fruit of life and make a lasting and purposeful impact without being driven by extremes?

Sweetums, my ten-year-old daughter, answered that. She thrives on crackers and cookies, and “plays” passionately with her siblings. My husband says she could be my clone.  Now, instead of seeing my weaknesses reflected in her, I teach her how a bridle works and show her how she can bridle her passions. When I asked her what she can say to herself when these overwhelming desires come. She said, “Hold your horses.”

Our shared understanding makes our love sweeter still, just as the delights at life’s tables are made sweeter when we choose according to the small, intuitive guidance of our own heart.

This post is an entry in Scribbit’s March Write-Away Contest. The topic is “Sweets.”


  1. Michelle at Scribbit
    Mar 16, 2009

    Sounds like I should send you a box of the anchovy truffles if you win 🙂

    ANd you’re right about sharing an understanding, something about that realization makes things better. Ignorance is not bliss.

  2. ph
    Mar 16, 2009

    I honestly forgot about it within 5 minutes of putting in the freezer. I wasn’t reminded about it until lunch several days later. It was tasty (but still probably too sweet). I was happy she reminded me…

  3. This is a timely post for my family! My husband has a notorious sweet tooth, and his 12-year-old daughter (my step-daughter) seems to have inherited it. On Sunday, they made a deal to go a whole week without any sweet treats, to see if they could break their craving a bit. I love this: “Now, instead of seeing my weaknesses reflected in her, I teach her how a bridle works and show her how she can bridle her passions.”

    I, on the other hand, am the kind of person who can have a tiny square of dark chocolate and be completely satisfied for the day. I think this comes from having a low blood sugar issue–my body and mind have always known that no matter how good sugar tastes, it makes me feel terrible. I just have a bit, and call it good. (My vices are the salty snacks. 🙂

  4. Jordan (MamaBlogga)
    Mar 20, 2009

    I’m a total sweet-tooth binger, too! What a great thing to start teaching your daughter young—self control.

  5. Unnamed Woman
    Mar 21, 2009

    I can so relate to the all or nothing deal. The only time I have control of my sweet tooth seems to be when I sign off of sweets altogether. It’s so hard to just be moderate. Part of my self-diagnosed OCD, I think!

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