Thursday, April 20, 2017

Lose List: Living as Long as Possible

I have always been afraid of dying. It is such an ingrained fear that when I found out not everyone worries about dying on a daily basis, I was shocked. For me, the threat of death is a constant spectre. I am better about it now. But I still worry. Doubly so now that I am a mother.

When my sons look at me adoringly, my warm mommy heart tries to stay in the moment, but a voice, likely the voice of my lifelong anxiety, whispers, "Oh God, they will be devastated if I die."

Suddenly my own death isn't just terrifying for myself. It is life-changing for two little people. On a fundamental level, their lives, their outlook on life, their worldview, would change. And that thought terrifies me.

Suddenly the unconditional love sons have for their mothers feels sinister and fraught. I don't want them to love me so much because of what it will do to them if they lose me.

Of course part of the nature of fear of death is that it is the ultimate thing out of our control. We can do all the things we think to ward off death--buckle up, look both ways, check for (skin) moles, chew carefully, don't dive in shallow water, drive sober, lock the doors at night, carry pepper spray, knock on wood until our knuckles are bloody--the list goes on and on into absurdity.

But, in the end, death is uncontrollable.

Except when it isn't. And one thing that is hammered into the public's consciousness is that OBESITY KILLS. Obesity increases the risk of death. Obesity harms the body in untold ways.

I have known this for all of my life. I remember being a "tween" (we weren't called that then), sitting at a doctor's desk with my mother. I don't know why I saw this doctor--he wasn't either of my childhood pediatricians. I don't know what brought about this visit. But in the course of it, he said it would be good if I lost some weight (duh). "Carrying around extra weight is hard on the heart." (Oh.)

So on top of my deathly fear that I will die and leave my sons motherless is GUILT. For all my wood knocking and precautions and "be carefuls," I am NOT doing all I can to keep myself around. See, I am eating a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup instead of considering how this extra weight is harming my heart with every single beat it takes to get the blood to every corner of my obese body. I must not care THAT much. GUILT.

But I do care. I care so much it terrifies me. I care so much that before I learned to manage my anxiety, I would be crippled by worry, leading to things like a racing heart, leading to worry that I was actually having a heart attack, leading to a visit to Urgent Care (later marked in my patient portal "anxiety state"), and ultimately leading to a little comfort eating and thus the cycle continues.

I understand that even a healthy weight doesn't guarantee you will not have a heart attack. How many of us shake our heads in shock and wonder that the gym rat died from a "widow maker" [nice] as the treadmill whirred next to his lifeless body. I understand that even this is out of my control.

But that doesn't mean I should just give up. In fact, this entry is at the top of my lose list. There is nothing more important: Live as long as I can for my children. And my husband, of course. And myself, sure. But my kids most of all.

This item on my lose list is the one that needles me the most. The one that makes me most frustrated with myself. If I can't even eat healthy for THIS, what hope do I have? But see, even death is so abstract. I had a high cholesterol blood test in 2016 and it didn't change my eating habits. Because the voice that rationalizes such things (a different voice from anxiety, possibly the one that works so hard to fight the anxiety) says, "This one French fry does not matter. This dinner out won't affect your health THAT much. High cholesterol isn't SO bad."

I am working to keep this item on my lose list at the fore. I am working to remove the guilt from the last 6 years of eating. I am working to cast it in a positive light--Be as healthy as possible--rather than a negative--LOSE WEIGHT SO I DON'T DIE!!!! I am working to feel proud of myself when I make the good choices, and this week I've made a few, so that I can hold onto that and get myself to a healthy weight so if I did happen to find myself on my deathbed (God forbid, knock wood, salt over the shoulder), I could know that I DID do everything I could.

My body is worth treating well. My kids are more important than the taste of mayo. My heart deserves to be cut some slack.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017


Crab has had so many firsts already that I am sure I've forgotten some, even though he's only 5 months old. Here are some of the biggies:

First rollover: February 8, he rolled from belly to back. He's done it a few times since, and he's so close to being able to do back to front, but he's not rolling all over the place yet. He still hates tummy time, so that's not surprising.

First dose of Tylenol: January 2, after his 2 month vaccines. Poor baby.

First bath: About 1 week old. Crab has eczema on his cheeks especially, so we give very few baths at this point. 

First state visited: Pennsylvania.

First cold: When he was 2.5 weeks old. Terrifying and infuriating.

First day of daycare: March 1, his 4 month birthday.

First solid food: Sweet potatoes. He didn't really care for them at the time, but LOVES bananas and this week ate a whole jar of sweet potatoes. He also likes pears and apples. Peas, not so much.

First antibiotic: Amoxicillin, for his first ear infection, March 31.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017


I feel like I have so much to "catch up" on recording with Crab! So let me just talk about cheeks.

His cheeks are so chunky! For a bit of time when he was about a month old, Munch called him "Cheekers." We sang. "What is wrong with the Cheekers, the Cheekers?"

He smushes his cheeks out and I think he's clenching his gums--possibly teething? So cute though.

Not so cute--the streak of red, dry eczema that extends in front of his ear. It's like painful looking sideburns.

But really when I think of cheeks right now, I think of how, when I bring him close to my face, he puts his hands very softly on both sides of my face and touches my cheeks. He's in a "grab and clench" phase, so I expect to feel nails scratching my skin, but no--his touch remains soft. And it's like he's cherishing me as much as I'm cherishing him.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Back (?)

I've been feeling the blogging "pull" for a while now, mostly since about the beginning of the year. I think this is linked to several different things. The birth of our second son. The need for a place to reflect so I can really grab onto something for weight loss. The lack of a "record" of the little one's first years. I read back to posts about Munch and I love how I recorded so much of his life here. I want that for the "new one." I think I will call him Crab here. That may not seem endearing, but for those who know him, it will make sense. It's a good name.

I feel tentative. There are reasons I stopped blogging. I got sick of analyzing every small piece of my life. I wanted to "just live." I sometimes felt like I didn't have anything "worth writing." I got annoyed with some of my readership and was keenly aware of my audience, so I didn't feel like I could write everything I wanted to write for fear of others' judgments and thoughts. For instance, there was a large fight with a family member based on something I wrote and then I remembered later that the post was an assignment from therapy. I didn't tell the person that because it seemed dumb to bring up an old wound, but I still think about that and feel annoyed.

So, there are some things I can do and keep in mind.

1) I won't "promote" this blog among people who know me. If someone happens upon it, fine, but otherwise it will truly just be for me. I got very concerned with "eyeballs" last time and I think wanted to be "seen." I wanted to be part of the cool "mommy bloggers club." Whereas so many people I read back then now no longer write. Now, with more therapy and personal growth, I'm not so concerned with other people seeing what I write and being "accepted."

2) I will write what I feel like, when I feel like it. I won't feel like a failure if I don't write regularly and I won't feel pressured to write "certain types of things."

3) It will be for the joy of writing. I miss writing! I don't know that I truly have time for it, but hey, ya gotta start somewhere.