The Amazing Thing About Mom




Hello faithful readers… as you sit reading this perhaps, over your morning coffee, it is late evening on Sunday night and my mind has been an empty vortex of nothingness as I ponder what to write that I can share with you come Monday morning.

This troubles and annoys me at the same time. At any given moment I have ideas, thoughts, and words crowding to get out of my head. New topics to write on. New information to share. Words of encouragement to offer you. Random posts to exercise my creativity.

But when I sit down and it’s a struggle… and everything feels disjointed… well as a writer it’s the thing that bugs me the most.

Yet finally, I know what will come, and the words are ready to come stumbling out……

Perhaps in my day I’ve tried to ignore one of the things that’s been the proverbial “elephant in the room”.  First of all, on this day, it’s my daughters birthday. She turned 18. A beautiful, confident young woman. It’s such a milestone birthday and one she has been excited about. I’ve focused on her and her life. The celebration of who she is.

I’ve tried to not camp on another thought crowding in. I’ve tried to focus on this as a day of celebrating and embracing life and the beauty of my daughter.

However, for me it will also remain and will forever be, the day my mother left this earth.

It’s been two years now.

There are times I mentally shake myself realizing she’s not here. Just the other morning I had made this amazing thing for breakfast and I was thinking to call her. I know better… I do.. but the urge was so strong….

She loved cooking and baking and all things involved in the kitchen. We often exchanged food ideas or she’d make something to experiment and send the leftovers to us. My favorites were random dessert nights and I could run over and get whatever treat she had whipped up while it was still warm from the oven. She was amazing with her cooking… the kid in me still wants her to make me food.

She loved cookbooks. She “read” them. She has so many that at some point I need to work my way through them. I’ve brought home some I’ve found that she had marked with sticky notes and personal insights on things she’d made. Those I want. I found an old recipe box that contained recipes written in not just her handwriting, but my grandmothers and great grandmothers.

Holidays were a time of brainstorming over using the same familiar fare, but also trying something new. I loved when she’d call about an upcoming holiday and want to know “what we were doing for dinner” …meaning both of us together. Or how she’d eagerly tell me about something new she  had found to make.

I think of her when I’m going through tough days and just want to talk to her in the way only a daughter can talk to her mom.

I want to tell her that I understand now so many of her struggles with my dad who has Alzheimers… and wish I  had REALLY known…. and understood the things she sought to protect me from and shoulder herself. Wish I’d known so I could’ve been more help to her. I wish I could cry on her as these days with him get harder and harder and I want advice on what to do and how to best help him. Or express my frustration to her when he views me as “the bad guy”, when the reality is, I’m the only one who does stuff for him on a daily, consistent basis, who is there for him and fighting for him.

But she was doing what moms do… in her own way… trying to handle things and protect her children. Mom always tried to simply, quietly, handle things.

I think of her laugh, her smile, the things that brought her joy. I try and live in ways that would make her proud and I want to continue to live in the legacy of strong women I come from.

Mom had a way of embracing, loving, and appreciating life even when things were hard.

She sought joy… laughter…love… hope.

My mother was a fighter until the end. She had an amazing strength that I am so thankful I got to see in new ways those last few months of her life.

I know I’m just one of many in this world. One of many who will lose or has lost someone they love. I’m not exclusive or unique or special in my loss.

But she was my mom… and totally irreplaceable to me.

Time moves on…life continues… and I firmly know and understand she’d want me to be focused on living and embracing life… taking it on full speed… she’d want me to stand up and fight and be strong and not spend time mourning or lamenting when I could be smiling.

But I do mourn her. In small moments. In unexpected moments that sneak up on me like a thief in the night, laying me low and leaving me breathless and aching inside. In times that are bittersweet. In quiet moments or remembrances of times gone by.

I often think in these two years, I’ve not really slowed down long enough to allow that deep grief to wash over me.

To be honest with you, that raw emotion scares me and makes me feel weak and vulnerable. I keep it under tight guard with a firm hand on it lest it swallow me whole.

I’ve said before… I’ll say it now… at some point…when I’m ready to bleed a lot … I will write on this deep topic of grief and grieving… and at some point.. I’ll know when.

For now…for today…  in this moment…I need to just speak out loud… to remember my amazing mom… to share her memory and let my mind wander to simpler times in life before illness and disease crept into the picture to steal life.

She was an amazing woman. Kind, caring, giving even when her own resources were limited, thoughtful, generous, and so loving. Ha… if I’m being honest she was also stubborn and head strong… hmmm…. I might resemble that somewhat.

I’m ok with that.

She was my mom.  She was amazing to me.

I think……………. I will always and forever…. miss her.

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8 years ago I began what I now refer to as my "journey into lifestyle fitness". After a yearly check in with my Dr he said I looked "really good on paper, but I might consider losing a few pounds" I wasn't offended... I knew I needed to but it seemed like to much work at the time. In that year we had adopted 2 girls out of foster care, plus caring for my 3 sons & husband sort of left me on the back burner taking care of "me". I told him I "used to" walk & he encouraged me to at least get back to that. I left his office that day, started, & never quit. As time moved on my walks increased in length & speed. I started mingling some jogging into it...then after more time some short sprints. One day I realized I was doing more running than anything else. I learned to run longer and farther. I constantly challenged myself to do more. I realized I had turned into a runner & was loving it. I have since run 6 half marathons, 2 full marathons, and my first 50K scheduled for March 1,2015. Not bad for a girl who just started off walking not quite 2 miles! My body was now beginning to show the results of my work as weight & inches dropped off. I began to add in boxing & weights on days I wasn't running. Over time as the fat left, my new muscles were waiting underneath =) Obviously, I also made some food changes. Nothing drastic..just started eating less and trying to eat better.. I hated diets and how they made me feel....deprived & left out of all the adjusting & eating less of what I liked and moving more.. I found myself getting in decent physical shape. It began my thinking of lifestyle and not "dieting". As I got stronger,healthier & more fit it was an easier process to "let go" of some of the foods I had enjoyed. I had more energy, strength and confidence in what I could do. It was empowering. It made me realize that I probably wasn't the only one who wanted to lose weight, be healthy & strong but not always be on some sort of "diet". Maybe my journey & what I had learned & been doing might possibly help others to success in their lives... I consider myself to be rather normal and ordinary ( meaning I haven't always been into fitness and healthy eating) it has been a steady, daily, learned process with good days and bad days and my hope is that you too, will see the greatness in you, and that you have the ability and power to change and do anything you put your mind to. If you want change, you can make it happen. It's just one day at a time, making smart moves and better choices, and before you know it, things are happening. Get started on your journey, really, what do you have to lose ? And yet, so much to gain =)

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