It’s been a rough couple of weeks. Seriously. Personally, there have been some emotional challenges.
For starters, my two oldest children are growing up. Hard to believe, right? The nerve of them. They are 23 months apart. Which means that they have close birthdays and within one month this summer, they turned 16 and 18. Unless you have had kids who start to become adults, this will sound trivial and you are thinking – “Ok, what’s the big deal?” But if you have had kids grow up on you, you will understand right away. You are shaking your head and tearing up and thinking – “Yep, I remember that.” My son can vote. He has informed me that he can get a tattoo without my permission…and he is planning on it. He has had his driver’s license for a year, has hit a few trash cans and most recently forgot to mention that he hit a deer on the way out of the neighborhood (but everything was okay he says). He is visiting colleges and we are adding up the cost of four years of private college education. In a few short weeks, he flies alone outside of the contiguous USA for the second time in his life. My daughter is 16. She looks like a grown woman. She owns it. And it both makes me scared and makes me proud at the same time. She has spent four weeks in the Midwest this summer, dancing. She has lived in a hotel on the edge of a huge college campus and spent a week’s worth of summer nights on “lockdown” in the basement because the tornado siren went off. She is watching Orange is the New Black with the other dancers, without my consent. She posts pictures of her amazing dancing self on Instagram – and again I am unbelievably proud and scared to death at the same time. She takes driver’s ed when she comes home. And we start to think about college for her too. It’s all moving too fast.
And yet it’s summer. Hazy, hot, humid, slow moving summer in Annapolis. And my youngest – who is just this year a teenager too, broke his arm the day before school let out. Yep – he has a cast. Every summer baseball camp, cancelled. Every planned trip to the beach – cancelled. Every invite to the pool – declined. We have spent a lot of time together – a lot. Running errands and reading (both of which he hates). We have spent a lot of time at Buffalo Wild Wings watching the USA lose soccer games. And a lot of lazy summer nights taking long walks and watching the Orioles play ball on TV. We even have a head start on the dreaded “Summer Homework” – seriously, we are studiously spending daily time working on homework that we would normally squeeze into one week at the end of August! Most of these items are right up my alley – shopping, reading, walking, sports on TV, getting ahead on homework. But, my youngest is an orange-haired, full of energy, borderline ADHD boy, who would much prefer to play sports than be a couch potato watcher.
This combination of way too fast and way too slow has been a bit of an emotional stressor, to say the least. And personally, I have had a few crisis of my own. About a month ago, my beloved hair dresser had the nerve to tell me that he didn’t think he could keep giving me blonde highlights because it was destroying the health of my hair. Now, if you know me, you know that I do all I can to be healthy. But this once every two month dose of chemicals on my head was my vice! My only real vice. No smoking or drinking or eating bad for me! Just give me some bleach on my head once every two months! But, “no,” he said. He actually refused me. So, he used a “toner” – whatever that is. My hair is mousey brown. It is depressing. I don’t look good with brown hair. To make matters worse, he says that it matches my roots. He claims this is my “natural” color. Who wants hair their natural color? Not me! I want blonde! And I can’t have it.
And then there is the matter of my weight. I have always generally been a good weight. I did gain a TON with each pregnancy. By a ton, I mean that I normally weigh about 110 pounds (I’m short and curvy- not thin) and weighed about 165-170 every time I gave birth. I know….gasp. But with some effort, I lost it all each time. It did a good number on the shape of my body and my skin (think, lots of stretch marks and saggy skin!). But, I lost the weight. For the past decade I have been about the same weight regardless really of what I eat or how I exercise – apparently, I inherited just this one good gene. Until this month. My beloved Functional Medicine Doctor looked at some important test results and decided that I should start using a natural hormone cream. “Just a little,” she said. Again, if you know me – you know that I consult Dr. Google before putting anything on or in my body. But she said it was ok, it was just a little cream, and I was busy with all of the other things I mentioned earlier. I innocently began slathering on a little cream every morning for a month or so. Actually, about two months. Or maybe it was three. I thought so little of it, that I actually lost count. The scale started moving up a pound here and a pound there. Up a few, down one. Up a few more, down none. And then up again. I finally started to get a little worried when I realized I have gained about 8 pounds. That might not sound like much to you, but it is almost one-tenth of my weight! Holy cow, what was happening? And then I did a little google search. That innocent cream makes lots of people gain weight! Ugh! I stopped using that stuff pronto! But, my clothes are tight, my stomach is bloated and I need to lose some pounds! Now I am uncomfortable with my hair AND my weight!
Like I said, it has been a rough couple of weeks emotionally. But, you know what I realized? I’m healthy. I feel good. I AM HEALTHY AND I FEEL GOOD! I want to shout it from the top of the mountain. (I’d rather be shouting it from the side of the pool or at the beach, but that will have to wait until the little one’s cast comes off.) I just had a check-up with my Neurologist at Johns Hopkins and he said that my neuro tests are great, and to keep doing whatever I am doing. I have been working out for the first time in years. I actually have the energy and stamina to exercise. And sweat! For years, I didn’t sweat. My body wouldn’t detoxify, wouldn’t let go of all that was bad in my body. And now it does! Four years ago, I couldn’t say that. And I wasn’t healthy. Once you gain your health back, you feel like the richest person alive. It puts everything else into perspective. You learn to be grateful – really down to your bones grateful – for everything – even these silly problems of excess that have crept in this month. I’m grateful for independent teenagers who are excelling in life on their own terms. I’m grateful for time with my youngest and maybe a few lessons learned about how to enjoy the small things in life instead of living on adrenaline. I’m grateful for honesty from a hairdresser and learning to live with my natural self. I’m grateful for the realization that I need to continue to research items concerning my health, keep taking personal responsibility for what I put in and on my body. I’m even grateful for the opportunity to practice what I preach with nutrition and exercise in order to drop a few pounds. And to love my healthy, happy body no matter what weight I am. Or what color my hair is – ok, that is a hard one.