Sunday, May 12, 2013
Today is an anniversary of sorts. Thirty-eight years ago today, invitations were mailed out for a baby shower for my older son. Now that, in itself, is not so remarkable EXCEPT there was no baby!!
Having applied and having been approved for adoption, we'd been told in February that we could realistically expect to have a baby by Thanksgiving. Enter sister Evelyn who said she'd have a baby shower for me in the spring or the fall but not in the summer--my choice. Hmmm, no baby until November? Really? So I said spring would work, so Evey made all the invitations by hand with the verse "Not flesh of my flesh, nor bone of my bone, yet still miraculously my own; never forget for a single minute, you didn't grow under my heart but in it." (I don't know who to give credit to for those words; they aren't mine and they weren't Evey's either.) She mailed the invitations on Mother's Day, even though the forecast for a child could be months away.
Then the miracles started.
The following day, in the middle of a conversation with a friend, the operator interrupted the call to say that Family Social Services was trying to contact me. Did I want to end this call to receive theirs? To this day, I'm not sure I said goodbye to my friend. The agency had previously told us that we'd have 2-3 days' notice before picking up a baby; that was not going to happen. They wanted us to pick the baby up the following day on the other side of the state. We were not really ready for a baby yet...so much to be done. My husband worked first shift and had weekends off; for the first time, he was scheduled off in the middle of the week--Tuesday and Wednesday.
Friends and family volunteered to get things set up at home, while we prepared to leave and drive halfway that night. We were scheduled to pick him up @ 1 PM the next day. Getting to the agency, we met our son for the first time. I can't begin to relay the feelings. We discovered a unique coincidence--our caseworker at home was named Sharon Hawkins--the other caseworker was Maggie Burns; my great-grandmother's name was Maggie Hawkins!
We headed for home with the formula they'd prepared--the old-fashioned Playtex bottles with the plastic bag liners. We needed to stop to eat, so I held the last formula to give him before we stopped at a restaurant. Right. In transferring the formula to the bottle, I managed to spill it all in my lap. Now I had a hungry baby, no formula, and wet pants. And we weren't stopping to eat--so add hungry for me to that list too!
We ended up stopping long enough to buy formula but waited to get home before trying to fill the bottle. Family and friends had assembled the crib, washed baby clothes, etc. to prepare for our homecoming. They'd all gone home and our baby boy (3 months) was put down for the night. He slept the entire night and, when I went in to pick him up in the morning, the crib collapsed as the mattress fell to the floor--and he'd slept the whole night on it. I could add that his Guardian Angel has been busy through the years.
Technically, the following year was my first official Mother's Day. I had friends calling about the shower saying they weren't aware of the fact that we had a baby...little did they know the events of the previous two days and our joy-filled journey to parenthood. Truth be told, my son had already been born in February--before they told us it could be Thanksgiving before we had a child.
God is good...so very, very good!
Thursday, January 10, 2013
Nearly one year ago, I heard a mention of Spark people on television and decided to check it out. Here I am. That, in many ways, is a record for me--sticking it out while trying to lose weight.
I found it interesting that my last blog was in late October. My, but that was about the time that I hit my apparently self-imposed plateau. Oh, I can hear those marvelous words echoing through my brain right now...and they weren't lies. The thing is that they weren't the whole truth either. Things I've learned while Sparking are that change takes time, change is not permanent and that changes may need to be updated. That's why I'm here today.
I love Spark, and the changes I've made during the past twelve months have been good changes. I have made positive lifestyle changes. I've been tracking food, eating more healthy food, being more active, drinking plenty of water, experiencing less joint pain, and losing weight. Today I weigh less than I have in nearly 20 years. It's been a good year--a better ten months.
The rest of the story? These are some of the things I didn't do during this same time period. I didn't plan out my meals--even though my friend Kelly has set a wonderful example and readily shares meals she's planned for later that day. I guess I thought I had a handle on my food. Though I am much more active than I was a year ago, that activity was to reduce my 250 lb. body and it's not enough at 207 to keep losing. Thank you Jeanine and Pat for the level of activity you maintain and the variety of movement you include in your daily activity and for sharing that on the message boards. (I do have good Spark friends.) I quit looking for changes that I needed to make because I thought I was already there; I thought I'd done what needed to be done in order to reach my goal.
So, where DO I go from here? Though my food choices are definitely healthier than they were a year ago, healthier does not necessarily mean healthy. I have some refining to do in that department. A failure to plan will eventually become a plan to fail, and so I will begin to plan weekly menus. This will keep me out of familiar eating ruts and put me in a position to try more healthy Spark options. While osteoarthritis occasionally keeps me from some activities, I have less pain now and need to expand my exercise repertoire to include some strength training and cardio.
I wouldn't trade this past year in Spark for anything. While it hasn't ended up with the total weight loss I'd dreamed of, it's been a good year. I have many new friends, friends I would hope one day to meet. I can't tell you when I've ended up a year weighing less than when it began or when I've stuck with a program for a year. (That may be very significant given the fact that the last two months I've virtually been at a standstill.)
I will remember this: better is not always good.
Monday, October 22, 2012
Growing up, I was told that questionably wonderful (and terribly wrong) ditty: "sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me." Yet, as a child, teen--even as an adult-- I braved many a torrent of insults, and I smiled--even laughed. I was not happy, but you sure couldn't tell by looking at my face!
Why is it that people think it's okay to be rude to others? To say hurtful things? Today, it's called "bullying" and rightly so.
I have had much time to reflect on the emotional damage caused by careless remarks, and I wonder why I didn't speak up initially and maybe thwart further attacks. I guess the words of the above ditty hold my answer. I held my tongue because "words can never hurt me." Maybe kids were trying to get a reaction, maybe they were trying to feel better about themselves by attacking me, maybe they were victims striking out at someone they saw as vulnerable. It doesn't really matter any more--damage done.
I smiled for years and, quite frankly, have been told on numerous occasions that I have a lovely smile. I'm glad. The tears I shed in the quiet of my room were never evidenced in the facade I presented to others. Friends, well, they really weren't privy to my inner pain either. I was one of those "jolly" fat people, the "jolly" an unspoken invitation to make fun of me--an invitation that was just there and, obviously, not easily passed on.
I've lived most of my life feeling unworthy because others saw fit to tease me and make rude remarks about my weight. Even through my education, my marriage, my job...I kept not feeling good enough about myself because I believed and internalized all of their remarks; I made their remarks my own. I believed they were right about me...I was so very wrong.
I'm sad that it took me so long to realize that their words weren't the whole truth. I'm sad that it took me a very long time to be who I am and to discover that I am not a number on my scales. Today I smile...and I smile because I want to. Funny, but it's apparently not as much fun to make fun of people who feel good about themselves. I'm not where I want to be, but I will get there...and I'll smile the whole way.
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Every day I am amazed at what my granddaughter Stella knows that I have managed to, across the years, forget or at least misplace. At the end of the day--today at least--it all seems so very simple. Stella knows these things; she didn't need to be told; my struggle daily is to remember them.
Lesson #1: The stomach can't tell time.
Stella already seems to know that we are supposed to eat to live NOT live to eat. She can't tell time yet, so the clock does not influence her decision to eat/not eat. Remove my clock? How will I know when to eat?
Lesson #2: The body in motion is a good thing.
She never stops moving. (Nap time is the exception.) She doesn't do exercise tapes ( I have involved her in a couple of mine) , and she doesn't check to see how many calories she's burning. Her actions are not motivated by anything but her desire to be moving. Somewhere along the line I forgot that moving was fun.
Lesson # 3: If you're not hungry, there's no reason to eat.
Stella doesn't worry how I'll feel about her if she doesn't eat. When it's about mealtime (there goes that clock again), I simply ask her, "Are you hungry?" Her answer is a simple "yes" or "no". If she's not hungry, she WILL NOT eat. Too often, I don't need a reason to eat.
Lesson #4: The plate doesn't come with cleaning instructions.
My girl has never heard about starving people being helped by her clean plate--and, from my mouth, she never will. When she's done, she's done. It really doesn't matter what's left on the plate or how much she enjoyed it; when she's done, she's done.
Thank you, my dear Stella. You have much to teach your Mamaw with the squishy arms. I love you much.
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
This is my life, and, at 67, I'm just beginning to see what it all means. From the time when the gym teacher yelled my weight across the room when I was 10, I have been trying to be someone else--anyone else. At 10, I weighed 149 and everyone in my class knew it. I was (am) short so, even at 10, I was overweight.
I hung out with girls of normal weight--pretty, popular girls--because I secretly wanted to be like them and hoped the association would somehow produce the desired result. Well, that didn't work out so well. Nonetheless, that's the pattern I followed throughout my public education years. I just wanted to be a normal weight. I wanted to like myself, and I couldnt' believe that anyone else could possibly like me either--because I was fat and, for me, all I could do was equate fat with failure in all areas that mattered to me.
I was a good student, had a nice singing voice, and was a decent writer. Even so, the things I did well didn't seem to matter because I was fat. In my mind it made me less of a person, and I believed I was being judged because of my weight. For me, weight colored every decision that I made through school and beyond. The truth is (today's knowledge) that I was the one judging me and projecting that onto everyone whose path I crossed or who crossed mine.
Funny thing: I had a couple of periods of "normal" weight (none of them lasted though) and I still didn't like me or believe that anyone else really did. I was totally stuck in my fat head!! I believe it's called "stinking thinking." I was a people pleaser because I thought they would like me if I did what they wanted. The result was that nothing changed. I was stuck mentally and probably emotionally too. Every diet/weight loss program I tried was doomed to failure because I didn't know how to succeed. I wanted to be thin, but the real fear was that maybe that wouldn't change anything; what if the ones I was trying to please still didn't like me? What would I do then? What would I need to do to gain approval?
I had led a life punctuated by parentheses. They were my protection and I just couldn't step outside my own reality; it was too scary. I did a miraculous thing--I raised two sons and held down a teaching job while I lived in that fog. Miracle # 2: in spite of my best efforts at destroying my health, my body has survived in fairly decent condition. Miracle # 3: I realized that I will not die or suffer any real harm if people don't like me. That last one was MAJOR!!
I wish I could pin down something that made a difference in my thinking; I can't, and I won't waste any more precious time trying to figure it out. I'm just thankful. I don't know how many years I have left on this earth; I do know that I will no longer be saddled with the false beliefs of my yesterdays. Somehow a switch was flipped and I finally understood that I am responsible for my life--good, bad, indifferent. I will reach my goal and I will be happy along the way. I'm not afraid anymore--of fat or thin. It's my life and, from now on, I plan to really live it--one day at a time!!
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