Olivia Newport daughter photo

The veggie artist’s self-portrait.

“I guess I’d better eat my daily weeds.”

My mom said that on more than one occasion, letting me know vegetables are not her favorite food. But she always served them to us kids, and somewhere along the way I learned to eat them. And like them. And crave them.

So nobody can accuse me of not setting a good example when I had kids of my own.

But by the time they were in high school, we had a deal that they would eat the vegetables I served at dinner, and when they turned 18 I would stop harassing them. For two and a half years, the younger one had to watch the older one get away with eating very few daily weeds. And eventually, even though she liked vegetables, my daughter would also respond to my offer of veggies with, “Mom, I’m 18 now.”

My firm belief at that time was that no matter how many vegetables you fed your kids when they were little, you could not guarantee they would grow up to choose to eat vegetables.

But in the last year, my daughter has become an exercise junkie who reads and interprets food labels like you wouldn’t believe. She’s in great shape, feels good and enjoys life.

Tonight she was fixing herself something to eat and said, “I should probably fix a vegetable to go with that.”

I rattled off about nine kinds of vegetables readily available in the fridge and freezer and said, “And some of those you even like.”

She said, “I probably like all of them.”

Well, what do you know?

Lesson learned? Don’t jump to conclusions about your kids (or anybody else). People grow and change. Seeds sprout and take root. Even your kids may just surprise you in the most pleasant ways.