Category Archives: tears

Thank you, South Carolina

This past Sunday.

We all know what the day meant. What it marked. How we spent it.

I spent it in my car, driving to Georgia.

I had decided not to blog about the day after a brief conversation with a friend on Twitter. To spend the day in solemn remembrance and thought about the events of 10 years ago.

At 840am, I turned off my music and turned on NPR. They were covering the ceremonies of the day. The first moment of silence at Ground Zero at 846am. The second moment of silence. A third moment of silence at the Pentagon. Shanksville, PA.

A few tears slid down my face as I listened to the silence. As I listened to the names being read aloud.

And then.

Oh and then.

As my car zoomed at 70+ mph down 85 in Spartanburg, SC, the tears streamed down my face as I rounded a bend and headed toward the first of one of several overpasses in the “metro” area. I wish I could have snapped a photo but given the speed at which I was traveling, I was unable to do so. (I was also unable to safely pull off to the side to get a photo as well – traffic was not amenable to this)

This overpass, covered in huge American flags, filled with Americans, waving, and remembering the tragic events which occurred 10 years ago, dug deep into my soul and heart.

Not the silence in NYC. Not the names read aloud. Not the description of a man who was the only one of 5 to survive at the Pentagon near where the plan struck the building. But this.

Real Americans. Patriotic Americans dedicated to not forgetting.

Sure, those in NY are real Americans. But I wasn’t there. I wasn’t part of their event. I was removed. But this, this in your face dedication and remembrance, I was part of this.

And now, this memory, this beautiful remembrance, has joined the memories I hold in my head as many of us do, of the horrific events of September 11, 2001. While still unfathomably tragic, the memories in my head now have a bookend of beauty and of perseverance.

Thank you, Spartanburg, SC, for giving me this beautiful memory to add to such a dark time in our nation’s history.

Whatever Wednesday: Owning my obesity

Way back in late 2010, the last week of December, to be exact, I decided to weigh myself. I hadn’t been on a scale in months. Too busy running a house with three kids 6 and under. I didn’t have the time. I liked being an ostrich. If I didn’t think about it, it didn’t matter, right?

Wrong.

My feet killed me. I mean, really killed me. Sharp shooting pains in my arches. My knees were giving out. I could hardly stand up once I sat down. My legs were weak. My arms were weak. Walking was a chore. I’d get out of breath just going from the living room to the kitchen. Shopping at Wal-mart exhausted me. I couldn’t play with my kids. A blob on the couch. This was not living. Sidelined in my own life instead of a participating. Life is not meant to be lived like this.

So I got on the scale.

On the Wii. Which, as those of you who have Wii know, can be harsh. Not only does your Mii suddenly put on a Sumo Wrestler fat suit, the computerized voice shrieks for the whole world to hear that you’re “OBESE.”

Sighs.

Obese. Me. Yup.

I’m 5’8. I weighed in at 281lbs that day. I cried. 19 pounds away from 300 pounds. Wow. In my head, I 300 pounds was the number I would never reach. Yet here I was. Staring the bad boy down. So disgustingly close.

No wonder my feet were sore by noon. No wonder my knees were constantly giving out. No wonder my back killed me. No wonder I couldn’t play with my kids. I was OBESE.

This had to change. No more excuses. Time for action.

I started slowly with Wii. I did guided work outs via the Trainer in Yoga. I did Choose your own workouts too. Signed up for My Fitness Pal and tracked my calories. Stopped eating crap. Drank more water. Moved on from Wii to real world hiking at a local botanical garden. I tweeted about my progress. Shared on Facebook too. So many friends encouraged me. I found @bookieboo on Twitter. Started using the #mamavation hashtag occasionally and found even more support.

I could play tag with my kids in the front yard and keep up with them. I walked the neighborhood with them – 1.5 miles up and down some mildly hilly terrain. While pushing¬† a double stroller. I went from not able to push that stroller up a hill to looking forward to the burn I would feel in my thighs. I bitch-talked myself up and down some nasty hills in my in-law’s neighborhood. I KNEW I could do it. And felt so proud of myself when I did.

Eight months after that horrific weigh-in, I’ve lost a little over 50 pounds.

Earlier this summer, I was hiking 3 miles every day. 1.5 if it was really humid and hot because let’s face it – there’s exercising and then there’s insanity. I’m not quite insane. These days, I’m hooked on an exercise bike. I’m up to 8miles in 30 minutes. I’m a hot sweaty stinky mess when I’m done and I love it. If you had told me I’d be this into exercise a year ago, I probably would have laughed at you.

Exercising and eating right have become a habit. People notice I’m healthier and looking better. They ask me how I’m doing it – expecting me to answer with some sort of fad or get thin quick scam. I’m not into those. I’m into lifestyle changes. Yes, it takes time. But it’s a lasting change. I’m less likely to put the weight back on given that my habits have changed. There’s literally no change in cost to me – no diet pills, no gym membership, no fad foods. Everyone loses weight differently and yes, some people need the structure of a program. Turns out I just needed the motivation of staring down 300 pounds to run in the other direction.

Technically, I’m still obese if you go by the numbers. My BMI is 35. It WAS 42.7.

I don’t feel obese. I can run up and down 14 steps without getting winded. AFTER going for 30 minutes on the exercise bike. I don’t cling to the railing of the stair case for fear I’ll collapse. My thighs are slowly developing muscle definition. I don’t crave (alot of) fatty foods. I haven’t had soda in.. well…. it’s been a long damn time. I’m not capable of pigging out anymore because I get full quickly these days. Water and I are best pals.

I still want to lose 80lbs for a total of 130lbs lost. So yes, I have a long way to go but I’m taking it day by day and as long as I continue to feel healthier and see changes in my body for the better, the numbers really don’t matter. I don’t use My Fitness Pal anymore. My diet has changed so much I’m capable of keeping my calories where they need to be without really thinking about it. I don’t deny myself an indulgence here and there. I just work out harder or eat lighter the rest of the day if I know I’m going to indulge.

Losing the weight has also improved my mood and outlook on life. It’s shown me I can do anything if I just decide to push through the barriers. You can too. There’s fight deep inside you even if you don’t feel it right now. It’s there, just dying to get out and push you forward. Let it escape and motivate you through the hard times. You’ll be glad you did… trust me.

Reanimating my past

Reanimation

Image via Wikipedia

Some time ago, I blogged about how brushing my hair triggered my PTSD from the birth of my second daughter. Not too long after her birth, I chopped all my hair off. It’s long again and I am finally okay with brushing my hair but still mindful of how long I brush. I make every effort to brush only as long as necessary, forcing myself to put the brush down and walk away.

Today, for the first time in over five years, I am listening to Linkin Park’s Reanimation.

Why is this significant?

This is the album I listened to the day my five year old daughter had surgery for her jaw at just 9 days old. I took the MP3 player into the sleep room at the Children’s Hospital right outside the NICU, curled up, cranked it up as loud as it would go, sinking blissfully down into the rhythm of the pulsating beats and the angst of their screaming voices. Thing is, I sank so far down I did not want to come back. I yearned to stay there, hidden, safe, with their angst. Lost in the darkness. Because there, there I did not have an imperfect newborn. There, I was just a soul moving to the rhythm. Nothing was wrong. I was not angry. I was not sad. I was NUMB. I wanted to be lost forever in the solitude of peace which existed amidst the digital beats, the persistent piano tones and haunting echoes behind the remixed rhythms. My womb, my saviour, my peace. I clung to the MP3 player until my knuckles were stiff, refusing to let go, closing my eyes to sink deep beneath the surface of reality.

But today, I sit here, each song echoing into my ears, my soul, my heart, and I am shaking as I type. Breathing deep through pursed lips and wiping away tears. This is music. This is just beats. Just rhythm. Just voices. This is NOT my daughter’s surgery. This is NOT the pain I felt five years ago. It’s not. Today I am letting all of this wash over me and turning it into the music it’s meant to be, not the hell it used to be for me. Today I am not numb. Today I am feeling. Today I am listening. Today, I’m singing with the words. I’m dancing to the beats. I’m reclaiming the music for joy instead of pain.

Today, I win.

Today, I refuse to let this music trigger me any longer.

It’s taken me five years but I’m finally strong enough to refuse to let this beast control me anymore.

Not easy, but necessary. A step toward the new me. Toward the healed me.

Why am I sharing this with you? To let you know that yes, healing takes time. It’s a process with each step presenting itself as you are ready. If you falter, don’t despair. The step will come. You’ll overpower the step with strength from an unknown place when the time is right. It won’t be easy. But it will be powerful. And once you’ve done it, you’ll look back and see just how far your journey has brought you… and how much strength it has added to your life.

Own it instead of letting it own you.

Milestones

This year has been a year full of milestones for our four year old daughter.

She blew out the candles on her birthday cake for the very first time. She belly laughed for the first time. She is thriving in an all-day pre-k full of absolutely normal kids her age. We understand almost 99% of her speech these days. Life is good.

Today, a milestone happened for us in the car.

When I walked in to pick her up from pre-k, she grinned widely, jumped up, and ran over to hug me.

The last time I picked her up? Tears. Total meltdown. Temper tantrum complete with thrashing in the floor. She is accustomed to her father picking her up and had not been informed about the change. She was NOT happy. Today she was happy to see me. We started last night to explain to her that Mommy would be picking her up from school to take her to a doctor’s appointment.

I had a snack waiting in the car. Once strapped in, I got her settled with her snack, got the tunes going, and off we went.

Halfway across town, as she snacked and I chowed down on Peanut M&M’s, a favorite song of hers came on Pandora.

I turned it up, she squealed, and we sang as loud as we could together.

Then, it hit me.

We?

Were a mother and daughter rocking it out in the car.

Just an average, everyday Mom & daughter totally grooving together.

I had to stop singing because I started crying. Furiously blinking back tears so she wouldn’t see me and swallowing my tears so I could sing with her again, relishing the normalcy of the moment.

My four year old and I did not bond when she was born. She was born with a condition known as Pierre Robin Sequence. At just 9 days old, she had major surgery and was in an induced coma for a week as the swelling went down from her surgery.

When she was 56 days old, I was hospitalized.

When she was 7 months old, I stopped exclusively pumping and stopped resenting her for all the issues she brought into my life.

When she was 3 years old, she had to have another surgery and I was forced to return to the same hospital she was at for her NICU stay. We bonded that week, the two of us, and have been growing closer ever since.

But today? Today was really the first time I felt that miraculous mother/daughter bond with my daughter.

I cried not only because it had finally happened but because it took nearly five years to happen.

You know what though?

TOTALLY worth the wait.

Her hobby is “helping othr mommys”

This afternoon, my daughter sat down and began seriously reading a Mother’s Day project she had been laboring over at school this past week. The first pass declared me to be 8ft tall (yup!), 10lbs (wow. Can we say excuse to indulge in ice cream all weekend?!), 70 years old (we need to have a talk, Olay!), sweet, and as beautiful as a rose (ok, Olay, clearly you’re doing something right!)

But then, then there was the sentence about my hobby.

My 6 year old daughter wrote proudly in her Mother’s day book the following:

“Her hobby is helping othr mommys.”

Yes, dear, it is indeed. It is indeed.

I need Kleenex.

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