I've been told I got my sweet tooth from my father. "The garbage disposal" who would finish off left-overs from our childhood dinner plates, was also the only one of my parents who would buy sweets when he went grocery shopping.
Taking delicate, silent steps into the pantry after the groceries were unloaded, our small brown eyes burst with excitement. Oatmeal Raisin Cookies! Chocolate Kudos Bars! Marshmallows! Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream (the white, never the green kind). Even Nilla Wafers got us going.
Following my parents divorce, I would look forward to weekends at my dad's when we would go grocery shopping after he picked us up. We always knew we could convince him to buy a sugar-y sweet ending to the evening.
There shouldn't have been a problem. We were healthy eaters; the point was that treats were a once-in-a-while thing. A reward for eating heaping spoonfuls of vegetables throughout the week.
But, there was a problem. Like my father with dinner, I became a racing motorboat determined to gobble as many scoops of Breyers as I could. This dessert will be your last dessert EVER, I would hear in my head—I swear, the voice was very, very clear. One scoop, two, three. One more mound of the creamy white stuff. I have never been able to shed this sweetness obsession. One Dove chocolate becomes a handful—my work desk littered with crumpled tin-foil wrappers. I stuff them into my trash can before anyone comes along and notices my gluttony.
One cookie, three more. I can't stop. In the grocery line, I spy a Kit-Kat. My weakness. King-Size. My weakness on 'roids. I slip the over-sized candy bar into my cart, temporarily detached from my own body and brain (which is telling me STOP! NOW! Resist the urge!). I peer over the lanes, as if pondering a dairy purchase, unaware that a stranger has slipped delicious sin into my cart—and oblivion. It's all the same. For as long as I can remember, packages of candy always seemed to disappear just as quickly as they were opened.
The old metabolism seems to have faded without my noticing, too. Here today, must-work-out-incessantly-and-slap-hand-when-it-reaches-for-sweets tomorrow. I have to train myself to quiet the overzealous sweet tooth. But, when a delightful holiday comes around, the ladies in my office bring in baked goods. The men play it simple and bring in bags of themed chocolate. Even the ultra-thin secretary indulges, so I tell myself: it's OK. After all, it's a holiday!
The one upside to all of this is that my unruly tooth transcends baked goods and candy, to all things sweet. Puppies, my sleepy man in the morning, anything mini, babies, Dads with their kids, a much-needed card from an old friend, small arms hanging around my neck, the smell of fresh flowers. All of these things bring me to tears and soften my often-cold-hard heart. Somehow my love for the sweet helps me notice the little things everyday—edible or not. And so I thank my sweet tooth, and I pat my round, soft belly and rejoice for the silly, overdone holidays that bring me and this old tooth of mine so much delight.