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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Something's Got to Give

San Francisco is filled with contradictions on the best of days, and today, which felt like the first day of summer after months of fog, was no exception. It felt like the entire population of the city was out for the day, trolling to replenish flagging Vitamin D supplies. Golden Gate park , our first stop, was jammed.

We took Lindy Hopping lessons overlooking the DeYoung Museum in the dazzling noontime sun. One of Pascale's friends from school, Matijs, happened by, and they danced a shy little rock-step together. Grown men in elfin costumes wheeled around the park on old fashioned bicycles, with front wheels that were easily five feet long.

Later, in the roller skating pit, "Thriller" blared from the speakers, and several women, aged twenty to sixty, all on skates, danced all the steps in perfect synchronization. Pascale and Matijs danced, holding hands. Watching a six year old couple dance together is quite a thing. Later Matijs asked Pascale if she knew who he was going to marry. "Me" she said, looking at him with big blue eyes. "I'm going to marry the sky," he said. He also wanted to marry the air before finally settling down with dirt, for the long marital haul.

Later, at the Beach Chalet, on the far end of the park, we celebrated our friend Greta's fifth birthday with a bunch of friends at a concert. Music and late afternoon sunlight floated through the trees, and the city kids took full advantage, climbing ever higher, while their anxious parents hovered below, exhorting their kids to get down.

When the crowd thinned and both Pascale and Liam were coaxed from their trees, we sat down to dinner on the patio. We sang along to Kinks songs, played hangman, and ordered: Two hamburgers and french fries for the kids. Crab Cakes and Sweet Potato fries for me, which really, is just a dressed up version of what the kids ordered.
We've been trying to make healthier choices this year. I dabbled in gluten-free eating, embraced quinoia and lentils, started brewing up my own stocks, reduced the amount of meat I ate, took the family as organic as we could manage and bought only grass-fed meats. Still, I can't say that as a family we've really gotten as healthy as we could be. Recently, my husband ordered a sandwich, and was given a choice of fruit, salad, or more bread on the side. He chose the bread.

So, on this perfect summer day, I make a decision. I'm going to work with my butter-pasta loving, burger chomping, french fry adoring kids, and see if I can make more of a difference in their diet. I pledge to eat more healthfully, and even more, stop making excuses (and a side of pasta) for dinner for the kids each night. At the end of the year, I want to have at least 12 (one for every month of the year) healthy, easy dinner options that all of us enjoy, and six (because I'm not completely dotty) healthy lunch main courses, to replace the bagels and pasta that form the backbone of those little monkey and kitty covered lunchbags now.

The clock starts ticking today, August 22nd. Wish me luck.

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