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Reflection At 50...

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

My 50th birthday was not what I had ever planned it to be.

I find myself the furthest point across the country from my home, husband, youngest son, friends and a job that I love. I miss "my life" but am here to try to save my older son's life from anorexia.
So, my life is literally shoved to the side. There is never a thank you or hint of gratitude - it is a thankless job. Most of the time he is mad at me for nagging him about food. Some days it looks like we are going to win the battle, the next day (or hour) we are losing the battle.

One good thing about birthdays is that it gives you a moment to reflect on where you have been and where you are going. It is not always the most positive reflection, especially if done honestly. But, most of the time it reminds you of who you are and that driving spirit within you that never gives up.

In my case, it was a year of conquering my first Half Marathon plus two more! I completed seven 5ks as well! And, my business held strong through another year of a seemingly endless recession. I maintained the weight I had lost for most of the year...

With all of my son's health issues the past 3 1/2 months I lost myself. I don't like the person I have become. I am sad most of the time and walk on egg shells. I am scared he is going to die and I miss my husband and my life. I am angry at my son for continuing to kill his body. My husband and I have supported him in every way possible through hospitals, therapists, nutritionists, covering bills, taking care of his house, and being with him all the time.

But this week as I reflect on the past year I realized I am pretty much at the end of trying. My son ate real good for 1 1/2 weeks and gained 8 pounds. Now he is restricting food again and losing weight. There is no excuse at this point. He still wants to move out to California. I told him I am not co-signing any lease until I am comfortable he has beat anorexia. This week I am seriously considering packing up, returning the rental car and heading home.

Yesterday as I walked Roxy I thought about my running career. We eat out at restaurants all the time, so naturally, I gained weight. With his appointments, I haven't run every day. Some days I don't run because I am just too sad. Last night, I considered stopping running all together. I am 50 years old - maybe I should give up. I was really feeling defeated, and, yes, sorry for myself.

But, as I walked, I realized I was doing what my son was doing - blaming someone else and not taking responsibility for myself. He is not eating more because I am, so, why am I? And, why am I not standing up for myself? Maybe if I do, he will. There is an anger building inside me that I realized I can use to pull me out of this rut. And I knew I couldn't use my age as an excuse! I have Sparkfriends older than me running everyday - and farther!

So, today after an early breakfast where my son, once again didn't talk to me, I laced my new, hot purple (with bright neon laces), Brooks Ravenna 4s and headed out for the 5 mile run I planned to do on my 50th birthday. I listened to my positive music and paid attention to my body, my breathing and how good it felt.

Today is a new day, this is a brand new year for me. I am going to take back control of myself and create a new plan, just for me. I will not quit. No more excuses, I can do this!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I love your attitude, especially the part about using the anger to propel you forward. We can't control anyone's behavior except our own.


    Oh, and emoticon !
    1663 days ago
    My dear Sparkfriend, I hope this gets 1001 likes! Your honesty is compelling, and I keep you & your family in my prayers. Run on, girl!
    1668 days ago
    I don't think any of us anticipate celebrating milestone birthdays while dealing with some of life's most difficult struggles. It is so difficult to watch our loved ones self destruct when we so badly want what's better for them. So sorry to hear that your son appears to be regressing after some significant gains. Continuing to pray for you all.

    I am so thankful that despite the difficult situation you have been able to reflect and discover the need to take care of you too. Finding yourself in the midst of this hurt and pain isn't easy but I know you are a determined woman and can find the strength to move forward despite the choices your son is making.

    Here's to your 5 km run in celebration of your 50th. Belated birthday greetings!

    1669 days ago
    I wish I was there right now to give you a big "mama" hug! God bless you amiga. I feel your pain and helplessness. No one ever told us that being a mom could be so full of sorrow and defeat. I commend you on all that you have done. I am in a similar situation and you are right, you have to take care of you first and foremost, so run amiga, run like you are twenty and don't ever stop! emoticon
    1669 days ago
    Those 'landmark' birthdays do make us stop and take stock of where we are an where we are going, don't they?

    Remember that you are as valuable a person as your son is, and carve out the time to take care of yourself. Besides, you'll be setting a healthy example, and it will make you feel much better both physically and emotionally.

    1669 days ago
  • OWL_20
    Sorry to hear about your son and anorexia. You can be there for kids and guide them, but they have to live their own life--and it's so very hard to watch sometimes. The bright point is that you laced up those shoes and got out there. You can do this. A million emoticon .
    1669 days ago
    Great Blog! I love your introspection and determination. I will also turn 50 this year and I can relate a lot.
    I'm sorry that you are having these struggles and I hope that you continue to take care of yourself. It is very tough watching a loved one struggle when we know there is a way out. It is difficult and painful to let them go when we believe the struggle will continue and likely get worse. I hope that you all find the strength to make it through.
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    1669 days ago
    Happy 50th Birthday!

    It is so hard to support an adult who doesn't want to be helped.
    It is hard enough with children too, but there at least you have the power to make decisions for them in their best interest.
    Take good care of yourself in this difficult situation,
    you need all the strength and positive energy in the world!
    I'm glad you found joy in running on your 50th birthday, in your lovely new running shoes.

    1669 days ago
    Great attitude to take into your birthday, and the second half of your first century.

    Please remember that you are not responsible for your son's condition. You are his mother and have an interest, certainly. But, as you are doubtless aware, it is up to him to get better. Or not. Are you getting the help you need? A frighteningly difficult position for you. But you cannot help others if you are not taking care of yourself.

    With warmest sympathy...

    1669 days ago
    That's a tough thing to go through on any birthday.

    you're doing the right thing....keep taking care of yourself while you try to take care of him.

    Stay strong!
    1669 days ago
    This makes me cry and cry. Good and sad tears. I am so sort for the horrible pain you've been through and continue to deal with. Yet I am so happy and inspired by your positive outlook. I can only hope to be so strong at 50. I hope this yer turns around and is full of bright moments and happy miles.
    1669 days ago
    It is so difficult when our grown children are in trouble and we know the way out for them. Just because we know the solution does not mean they will listen. They are their own individual selves and it sure is hard to stop trying to help when they are so determined to hurt themselves.
    I had to give up and let go once, so I kind of understand your situation.
    Good luck. Keep taking care of yourself.
    1669 days ago
    Happy Birthday!!

    I have found when it comes down to it, that we can only be responsible for ourselves. We can't fix others.

    I think you and your husband have done a tremendous job of trying to help your son.
    1670 days ago
    Will keep you and your son in my prayers. Anorexia is very difficult and many people don't realize that the disease isn't limited to girls and women. I'm so glad you went for a run, and so glad you are taking control of your life. Hugs and prayers for you. emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1670 days ago
  • KIMPY225
    You are a magnificent person. I am glad you are doing something for you despite all you are giving to your son and to others. Keep moving forward!
    1670 days ago
    Happy Birthday! He will appreciate everything when all is said and done. It's tough being a parent at times. emoticon
    1670 days ago
    Good for YOU!!.

    No matter what the relationship may be, sibling, spouse, child, there IS a limit to how much you can help when they aren't doing their part. Isn't that one of the biggest lessons we learn at Spark, to take control of our OWN lives?

    I wish you well.

    And Happy Birthday!! 50 is a great age to be (at least I think it is, it was so long ago and my memory isn't what it used to be).

    1670 days ago
    Beyond words.
    I am so proud of you.
    You are quite the strong woman, and a warrior.
    Happy 50th birthday. You are an inspiration to many of us.
    Sending endless hugs today :)
    1670 days ago
    Wishing you a happy successful year! And keep running - I started at 60.
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    1670 days ago
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    1670 days ago
    Not sure if you will find this useful but there is a blog I have been following called Burp 'n Slurp. The girl writing it does a weekly recap about her eating disorder days.

    >May God bless you on your journey.
    1670 days ago
    emoticon emoticon What a hard place to be with your son. Saying prayers that he overcomes this eating disorder and your family can be whole again
    1670 days ago
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