Holiday…. this one is blue.

“A Holiday is a day designated as having special significance for which individuals, a government, or a religious group have deemed that observation is warranted. It is generally an official (more common) or unofficial observance of religious, national, or cultural significance, often accompanied by celebrations or festivities.” wikipedia

All of my life holidays have been a big deal. I am the youngest of a large, loving, fun family. Sundays alone were special occasions and often a day to gather and be together. Holidays were special. We would all participate in cooking and cleaning, talking, celebrating. There was always laughter, silliness, joy.

As the years went on, my family slowly started to find themselves relocating. First Robyn to Florida, then Chris to California, Jack to Maryland, Sue to Westchester, Mom & Dad to Florida, us to Georgia. The holidays windled a slowly. BUT… we always continued to  celebrate the way Mom & Dad had us do. Brian would have Christmas Eve, Suzanne Easter. When we moved to Georgia we fumbled to get our own traditions in place. We wanted our children to feel that holidays were special. I wanted my children to feel that they were surrounded by love, just like I felt growing up.

Sometimes we would drive down to Florida to be with Mom and Dad, and some of the siblings.  This year a bunch of them are together, but we can’t be, as Kevin just had surgery and we need to be here to allow him to heal.  We have made an effort to have a celebration with family and friends for every occasion that deems celebratory. Birthdays and Holidays. We gather our nearest and dearest. We laugh and smile and watch as our children soak in the love and the smiles as well. Thats what its all about.

 

This year is tough. Kevin has just had surgery. We felt that hosting a holiday would be too much this soon. So here we are, for the first time, wondering how to make a holiday special with out company. How do you make it a special day, when it will be just like every other day. Just the six of us.

Back in 2002 I had the worst Thanksgiving of my life. I was a week out from my poor prenatal diagnosis. I was floundering with finding joy or appreciation. But I had my baby, my first son who was only 9 months old and I knew in my heart that if we didn’t start tradition THEN, holidays wouldn’t be special EVER. So, we had my inlaws and we decided that on Thanksgiving we would put up our Christmas Tree. We Laughed as my nephews hung ornaments all over one side of the tree and my niece hung them all on one branch on the bottom. I left it that way. It was my happy every morning.

I have planned to make Grandma’s Christmas Cookies with the kids on Thursday. I will roast a chicken, mash some potatoes, bake some asparagus and make some protein packed Banana pudding (thanks Melissa).

 

At some point in the day I will drag out the tree and the decorations and I will put on my happy face and we will adorn our tree with love.

 

This is going to be a difficult holiday for me. I don’t know how to make it feel like a holiday with out being surrounded by more than just us. I just hope that it isn’t a disappointment to my kids.

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Embracing the Taboo.. BBGC

Two days ago I received a package in the mail. I wasn’t expecting anything, however, my memory is not the sharpest these days. I opened it up and let out a very loud “OH YAY!” which captured the attention of the whole family. Momma likes packages. Momma especially likes packages that she has forgotten she would be receiving, and when that package contains my latest Bariatric Bad Girls Club tee shirt, momma is down right gleeful!

My proud display of my “badness” got me thinking about my friends and a recent interaction I had with my neurologist.

I went to the neuro because of the migraines and the clumsiness. The neuro suggested ordered that I quit caffeine. My jaw may have hit the floor. There was a very distinct four year old type tantrum that followed. “No Caffeine? What? No REALLY? You’re trying to kill me? Why do you hate me?“. The neuro sat looking at me with a big ass grin on his face, asked if I was done yet and I said NO! “Look, this is not funny. Did my husband put you up to this? Am I being punked? DO YOU REALIZE THAT COFFEE IS MY TRANSFER ADDICTION?!?!!!!”

Now it was time for the neurologist’s jaw to hit the floor. Wide eyed he looked at me and said, quite seriously “You are the FIRST bariatric patient that I have had, that admits there are transfer addictions. While they know it, admitting it openly is very taboo. They do not like the suggestion that food could be an addiction and that its not all genetics that lands them in the obese category”

I explained that my obesity was certainly not genetic, and while before surgery you would have found me very much anti food is an addiction, I am now of the mind set that the habit is the addiction. When I am unhappy, angry, sad, feeling anxious I want to shove something down my throat. I want my taste buds to send happy little bits of dopamine to my brain to push the ugly out and give me a moment of bliss not so ugly. After my surgery, shoving food in my face would give me a moment of “not so ugly” right before the pain from pushing too much food in gave me a “God please don’t let me die”. So, to replace the motion of eating, I began the motion drinking. My hands are occupied with a nice, heavy, warm mug. My mouth is filled with tasty warm goodness. It hits my belly and it doesn’t hurt. Its warm and comforting. Then… the dopamine kicks in with a little help from the caffeine. WIN WIN… right?

I explained to my neurologist that some of the very best people I have met in my life are bariatric patients that do not play a role in the stepford bariatric community. We embrace the taboo. Shit happens. Its not all rainbows and unicorns. The faster you accept that your behaviors landed your ass on an operating table the quicker you will find your way to support, knowledge and answers to some of your issues. Coping isn’t always pretty, but it doesn’t have to be judgmental either. Any “life coach” who suggests that they can guide your through your weight loss journey with grace is full of crap. There are issues that follow this procedure. You are learning to live again, new, differently and change hurts! Change gets resistance from us. Our habits, our brains demand keeping to routine. Retraining your brain is not easy, it is not pretty and it is certainly not something that will ever be graceful.

If there was grace in finding your way through life changing events, reality TV would not be successful.

So, back to the Bariatric Bad Girls Club. Support with a solid dose of reality. We celebrate victories, we do not judge when you stumble, we admit our failures, and find support in picking ourselves up. We are not bad at all. We are real. And because the bariatric community is so filled with “TABOO” our reality makes us appear to be “bad”. We take our vitamins, we eat properly, we admit that indulgences happen and are OKAY (from time to time, not every day)! We are not robots, we do not hide the truth, we do not try to sell you products, we openly discuss medical issues that may be a result of our surgery. We discuss the frustrations. We tell newbies that you will lose weight, you will gain loose skin, you will not be a bikini model and most of all surgery doesn’t suddenly fix the universe. Some people take offense to that view. Some people prefer a less in your face approach to support, and thats okay too. Find it. But know this. The BBGC is a strong community. We embrace Taboo, we speak truth, we offer support, we admit to cross addictions, we do not claim to be perfect or graceful. We do kick ass! We are not bad because we eat poorly, or drink with straws (many of us do drink with straws, we have not died), we are bad because our balls to the wall approach on honesty has been tisk tisked by many.

I love my BBGC tee shirt. I love my BBGC support, and I am honored to call so many of those men and women close personal friends. With in that group of “bad” I have found all kinds of beautiful and I have found so many hands willing to reach out and help me through some of the most ungraceful moments of my post op life.

Life is good when…

Today I had tremendous non scale victories. I wore a bathing suit, spent the day out doors, in July heat and humidity and was comfortable. I didn’t seek the shelter of the house. I enjoyed my family and my friends, with out worrying about what I looked like or what others thought of me. BUT… MOST OF ALL… I played with my kids, made memories and was that person that I had hoped surgery would help me to be. I was a mom who was able to not only keep up with her kids, but who was able to enjoy them too.

Life is good. I am blessed. These are just a few of my many blessings.

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900 miles

On Wednesday, I headed out with the kids for a road trip to NY.
We stopped in Raleigh where we got the chance to visit some friends & spend some time with my family there. Thursday we drove through to Maryland, and I was grateful for the chance to get off of the road and into a bed.
On Friday we headed out, and drove up to NY, where again, we were delighted to spend time with Friends and then more time with family!
My sister had us at her place for a few days, bless her heart! I think the whining will be missed terribly. But she is a great sport, and didn’t pull her hair out or stick anything into her ears to drown out the noise.
Over the weekend we went to the zoo, had a picnic on the Hudson River, spent quality time with my Sis and my niece and soaked up the love.
Today I left Suzanne and headed to Long Island.
I am writing this from the basement of my best friend’s home. My children are sprawled out, 2 on a pull out couch, 1 on an air mattress, 1 on the chaise lounge of the sofa. The day was filled with laughter and screams, water slides, pools and swings. Sun, coffee, juice boxes, and the beauty that is our children picking up exactly where they left off last time they saw each other.
There was no shyness, no awkward moments. Just 7 kids who have known each other forever, being their individual selves, caution to the wind, because when you are with friends who love you, you have confidence that they are just as silly as you are.

While I miss my husband and my Ruby, I have driven 900 miles from my house in Ga, to finally be home, where my heart will always be. Long Island is in my blood. These are my people. There is a contentment here that I have not felt in years.

Tomorrow I will see my brother, sister in law & nephew. Wednesday I hope to get to the ocean. Thursday I start the treck back to the south.

900 miles. What on earth were we thinking? I’m going to soak in as much as I can, my heart is light, smile on my face, babies are delighted, family is loved, best pal, soul sister makes the world feel balanced. Some things do not change.
I pray that these kids, as they get older, appreciate the ties that bind. Surely they have them, and it’s a beautiful thing to see.

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