Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Lesson in Humility

Beautiful sunny afternoon, on the deck of friends home, overlooking amazing rolling green mountains. Enjoying spending a weekend in a strictly vegan household, no worries about the "food".... the smell of BBQ'd veggie dogs hangs in the air. There, 8 vegans sit - 

Enter friends non-vegan friendly family members. Whom are well accustomed to the freaky way vegans eat.  And are not quiet about their disagreement with this choice of life.

Non-vegan family members:
(Pull out blocks of curdles mammary gland secretions (i.e., cheese) and places in middle of all vegan food table)
"We brought lunch!"

10 year old vegan:
"Wow!! Vegan cheese!! It kinda smells funny......."

Vegan friend:
"Oh, umm, I don't think that's vegan".

10 year old vegan:
"Mom, isn't everything vegan? Can I try it?"

Mom (me):
"No, honey, sorry, that's not vegan."

Non-Vegan Family Member:
"Oh, I think it might be... hmmm, it should be okay, it's made with raw goat milk......"

The 10 year old vegan wears an expression of shock and horror. The 8 year old vegans beings to giggle. 

Hegan's eyes grow wide and he attempts to hide a smile. 

Mom (me):
"Ummm, no, I'm pretty sure it's not". 

This is when I realize I am wearing an express that clearly says "are you freaking kidding me?!?"  Picture eyebrows raised to the ceiling, jaw dropped to the floor. To my luck, she's distracted slicing the pus lumps.  I realize that my kids are looking to me to understand how to react and respond to this inadvertent (intentional??)  ignorance.

This is one of those mom moments where we have the power to teach that compassion extends to all beings, not just the animals.  Should they have known raw goat milk wasn't vegan? Yes, seeing they had previously argued over it before. But clearly, for whatever crazy reason, the bell wasn't ringing. Damn I wish I had had a gong.

So, I look at my kids who are on their damnedest best behavior, erase the shocked look from my face, and gently shake my head at them. And when it looks like they're going to protest, I raise one eyebrow and shake it a bit harder. And everyone goes back to eating.

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Later,  I explain to the kids why I didn't speak up - that it wasn't my place, that I expected it to start an argument, and most importantly, that I didn't want to make her feel badly. While I'm not convinced, she may have thought it was vegan. I said maybe!!

I wish I could tell you that I spoke up for the animals, that I explained that not only was it not vegan, but told her the plight of dairy animals. I wish so badly that I had shown my children how to be compassionate while being informative. I wish I berated her for encouraging the suffering of animals just to please her palate.  I wish that I did those things. But I didn't, I made a choice to be tolerant, to be compassionate, to show humility. And I'm glad I did - I'm glad I was given an opportunity to teach my children when to hold them, as opposed to when to throw them. As I've said before, damn it's hard being the moral center of the universe. :-)


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