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Thanks for feeding me spinach, Mom.

By Robyn Openshaw, MSW | Sep 16, 2013

Emma and RobynI’m having a rough month emotionally. Completely coincidentally, my three oldest kids left home within a few weeks of each other. (This photo is the morning my daughter moved into the dorms.) I find tears welling up in my eyes for no real reason, lately, missing my kids and feeling nostalgic. We also sold our home and are renting it for the rest of the year before we move. So much change!

It’s just me and 13-year old Tennyson now. My older friends tell me to relax—the kids come back, they say. (They come back maybe too much, they say.)

But Tennyson, youngest in a large family, and I are a little…..unmoored.

Why is there so much FOOD in the fridge? I don’t know how to buy or cook for two.

Tennyson crawls in my king-sized bed at night. He does his homework next to me in my home office. Where the heck IS everybody, we both are thinking.

Then I have this text exchange with Emma yesterday, who is safely ensconced in her dorm room at college, which she is LOVING.

Em:  Mom, funny story. I have this friend—she’s totally skinny, cheerleader, but she was eating a salad in the cafeteria today and said, “This lettuce is so cool, what IS IT?” And I told her, “Uhhh, really? It’s SPINACH.” She freaked out and called her mom and said, “MOM! I JUST ATE RAW SPINACH!”

Me: Hahaha!


“Thanks for feeding me spinach.”

Em: I can’t imagine how she’s gone 18 years without tasting spinach or even knowing what it looks like.

Me: Amazing.

Em: Mom, thanks for feeding me spinach.


OMG. I can die happy now. She wrote that, and I had the sappiest grin on my face for hours. Thinking back on all the tantrums and hard times being the Bad Guy. My oldest son, who is 20, told his siblings right before he moved into an apartment with his friends, “I totally get it why Mom cracked down on me every year about my grades. She is the only reason I graduated high school. Now I am so grateful.”

Stuff like this is coming out of my two oldest kids’ mouths on a regular basis these days.

sad 2I got teary on the way to play tennis this morning, thinking again about that text from Emma. I arrived at my tennis practice to play against an opponent with a 32 oz. Diet Mountain Dew, who says her first Mountain Dew starts at 7 a.m. every morning. She’s totally skinny, too. That doesn’t really tell the whole story, does it? What if I’d modeled and provided that diet to my kids, with all the strikes mine had against them when they were born? I get chills thinking about it. Because at my lectures, I meet people ALL THE TIME who fed their kids the S.A.D. even though the kids were born sick—because they didn’t know any better. And I hear their stories of reaping the whirlwind.

Tennyson came home from school later that same day:

Ten:  Mom, teachers always like me. Except, I have this one teacher who DOESN’T. I saw him drinking a green smoothie, so I went up to him and said, “My mom is GreenSmoothieGirl.”

Me, laughing:  Yeah? And how’d that go for you?

Ten:  He just looked at me. Then he said, “No. Your name isn’t Openshaw. That’s her name.”

Me:  And you told him your parents are divorced?

Ten:  Yeah. So the teacher dragged me over to his desk. GreenSmoothieGirl.com was in his bookmarks. He started watching your youtube videos, with me in them. He’d look at the screen, at me, back at the screen, back at me. Till he figured out—it’s really me in those videos!

delay gratification ticketMe, still laughing:  Then what?

Ten:  He likes me now! It’s awesome!

Bonding over green smoothies. There are worse kinds of brown-nosing, right?

What is the moral of this story? Parents, have some delay of gratification, and stick to values that matter to you. You’re going to get A LOT COOLER LATER. Eating healthy in 2013 is a lot cooler now than it used to be!

Posted in: Parenting

13 thoughts on “Thanks for feeding me spinach, Mom.”

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  1. Michelle says:

    Robyn: Loved this. Brought up some old memories for me. I was the youngest child in my family and well remember when my brother and sister left for college. It was just me and my mom, too. We moved from the family home to an apartment in a different neighborhood. Some hard changes for both of us. I wish you the best in this new chapter…Tennyson, too. I love that he told his teacher he was Green Smoothie Girl’s son! Smart kid!

  2. annpackard says:

    I loved reading this. It made me smile on an otherwise horrible day!

  3. Tom Czerwinski says:

    That’s a fantastic story…. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Michele says:

    Love all the stories, but especially the one about Tennyson…hilarious!! But awesome too.

  5. Marianne says:

    🙂 Just smiling. All so true. Congratulations on the gratification no longer being delayed!

  6. Nice story and great day for you on 2 accounts. I didn’t even know you had a daughter. You talked so much about the boys. Wow. You had your hands full and still flying around teaching. You still kept the family intact with you. And they are grateful. Slowly the appreciation comes in but you did live to see it and tell about.

  7. Jo says:

    This was the exact post I needed to hear right now, thank you Robyn you have brought tears to my eyes but I’m smiling. This week (as normal) I feel like the “bad guy” parent as I lecture endlessly about schoolwork and eating healthily whereas dad (divorced) is the good guy who gives them pizza and KFC for dinner and is all chilled out about schoolwork. I was feeling this morning how unfair it was but you have reminded me that I need to focus on the long term benefits, not the short term pleasure of being the pushover parent. Thank you, I love your blog and have learnt so much from you.

  8. Karen Derouin says:

    I hear you girl, just sent my youngest of four off to the Marines after graduating college, he couldn’t wait to go. Daughter graduated college this year too and moved into apartment 2 hours away. Oldest son also in the Marines 9 years, been deployed 3 times, lives 3 hours away for another 8 months, then wants to be deployed again. Oldest daughter lives nearby with my grandson, 1-1/2 years old. So no one in the house anymore, very sad. Find myself having bouts of crying, really didn’t expect the empty nest to hit so hard. Can’t wait until my daughter brings my grandson over to see “Mimi”. Life goes by so quickly, really trying to grasp the idea of making the most of it. Feel great at 55, drink a big green smoothie everyday, and my grandson loves them too. Thank you

  9. Annette says:

    I loved reading this Robin. I had a big ‘ole grin on my face the whole time! 😀 Sahweet!!

  10. Millie says:

    I recently received a similar text from my daughter who is attending the Skin Science Institute to become an esthetician.

    Her: “We talked about Candida today.”
    Me: “Yay!!”
    Her: “Your not crazy. Hahaha!”

    It feels good to have the outside world validate what you have been trying to teach your kids. 🙂

  11. Danielle says:

    Hi Robyn, I hadn’t seen that pie chart breakdown of the SAD before… can you point me in the direction of where it’s from?

    It simply astounds me that is how people eat – even as a ‘normal’ Australian eating a fairly common diet before I had ever heard of Green Smoothies or took an interest in eating for health, we were probably doing quite well by healthy eating standards. Although our culture gets more ‘American’ by the day, I am still shocked whenever we travel there to see such ridiculous proportions and nary a vegetable in sight. Especially given we’re not eating at fast food restaurants, but in nice places in fairly large cities. You’d think somebody would be able to find a vegetable somewhere! God, even in outback Australia, in the middle of nowhere and in a fairly low standard of pub, one can get an unhealthy chicken parmiagana with a hearty side of vegetables.

    1. Robyn, GreenSmoothieGirl says:

      Hi Danielle, that’s my genius assistant Jen, who puts the graphics in what I write. You can ask her where she got it, but I bet you’d find it by googling. Jen@greensmoothiegirl.com. Jo and Ann, hope the next day was better for you. There are rough days as a mom—okay, as a human! Cheryl, I actually have TWO daughters. 🙂 I love them both and feel bad if my boys get more airtime on here—probably because I’m always with Tennyson.

  12. Robyn: Thanks for sharing. I will have my son(15) and daughter(12) read this too! Just yesterday our 79 year old aunt & uncle said, “your kids think your dumb now, just wait till they are about 23 and you will be the smartest parents ever”. They have raised 5 kids of their own & 2 foster kids. Also, my daughter is taking a health class in Jr High. They watched a video on meat processing & McDonald’s food. She no longer wants to eat at McDonald’s. Oh, but when I shared about how bad their food was she didn’t listen. I am thankful someone got through to her! Keep up the great work!

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