Tuesday, December 16

Loosening the Grip

“One of the most difficult responsibilities of a mother is the process of letting go… As
mothers we have this incredible desire to be with them every step of the way. We
know we need to let go, yet we want to walk with them just a little longer. We
feel torn as we recognize new levels of independence. We struggle with our
identity as they take steps away from us. It is a bittersweet experience at
times knowing that their independence is the ultimate goal of motherhood, yet
wanting time to slow down.” jill savage, professionalizing motherhood

Over two months ago, I read this quote as I endlessly searched for writers and authors who documented similar feelings I was experiencing as my older son’s second birthday quickly approached. I needed some type of affirmation that the rollercoaster upon which I was riding was a frequent ride in the journey of motherhood. For the longest time I invested conversation in my husband begging for empathy that he too felt dismayed with our children growing up so fast.

“Sure,” he would agree with no further details. “But that’s life.”
So simple, I would think to myself. Isn’t there more?

“But doesn’t it make you sad?! To see how quickly the kids are growing?” I would plead. With each question my voice became more desperate. Sensing this, he again would agree with nothing further discussed. I persisted.

“Well, I mean, Justine is now fourteen. Obviously you must also feel a larger array of bittersweet feelings, Jas, right? How do you deal with it? The sadness you feel to acknowledge how quickly your life is traveling and the light speed at which your kids are growing, how do you make that pain go away?”

He paused, and his quiet response was simple, yet genuine as I realized that he also feels the same, but just responds to the pain differently.

He sadly replied, “You can‘t. You just accept it.”

With that last comment before drifting off to sleep, I quietly stained my pillowcase with tears that this feeling is real, and that even a human with concentrated levels of testosterone can experience this bittersweet ride although maybe fathers deal with this differently. However, I had to acknowledge and continue to struggle with the fact that the principal of letting go is something I must begin to practice regardless of how unwilling I am to do it.

Perhaps, instead, someday I’ll figure out how exactly we can slow time.

Monday, December 1

Mindful to Moderation

“Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing
succeeds like excess.” Oscar Wilde

As we near the time of year when is excessive is usually the operative word [e.g. over the top blow up decorations in my neighbors yard, ridiculous pounds of butter in the family shortbread recipe, or the back to back jewelry commercials sounding their bull horns through the TV], it’s nice to consider the idea of moderation.
I’m not a nutritionist but I do have some applicable ideas in helping you cut back on the calories this holiday season. It’s certainly as simple as common sense.

1. Give plenty. If you’re going to spend hours baking those non-low fat cookies that have been around since Great-great-great Grandma’s time, [who used lard, shortening and butter to make them taste sinfully delicious], make sure you pack them up to spread the tasty holiday cheer with others. If you plan to make eight varieties of cookies at two dozen a pop, keep a couple from each batch for your family. Otherwise, pack the rest in sealable, air tight containers and freeze them until needed for others.
2. Socialize with Conversation. Everyone does more visiting and socializing during the holidays, and where there are parties there is food. Where there is food, copious amounts of adult beverages, rich appetizers and creamy chocolaty desserts linger, and unfortunately there are boundless calories to be consumed. Enjoy yourself at holiday events, but be mindful of where you keep your company. Try to avoid standing over the buffet table, and make an effort to talk more and eat less. When socializing, avoid eating until you’re able to sit and truly enjoy your food, which is when you will be less likely to overindulge.
3. More water please! Whether you’re baking for Santa’s stop on Christmas Eve, or preparing a feast for twelve guests, keep the water pitcher handy. People are more apt to pick at food consuming extra calories when prepping food in the kitchen. Water, albeit a tasteless substance, will keep your stomach feeling full and less likely to indulge in the test tasting, and less likely to overeat when the meals are served. Also, if you need a fixation in your mouth while cutting the crudities, unwrap a five calorie piece of sugarless chewing gum to satisfy your needs.
4. Smaller is better! During mealtime or party time, rather than fill an oversized dinner plate with food, opt for a salad plate. Common wisdom would suggest that the less food on a plate would also suggest less food consumed… less calories… you get the idea.
5. Move. Literally. Just exercise, and if that’s not feasible, then just do the much contemplated but rarely followed idea to take the furthest available spot at the shopping mall, or walking up four flights of stairs to your doctor’s appointment instead of taking the elevator. If you have the energy, then go outside for a walk, run or even hike if the mood strikes. Whatever your pleasure, try to take advantage of your down time and do something productive. There certainly is a connection between physical activity and the serotonin levels in your brain. The more you move, the better you will feel, [and the less guilty you will feel for eating the last piece of Aunt Kay’s Pecan Pie].

When in doubt, take on the daunting task of preparing a holiday feast. I can tell you that having recently cooked a fantastic, borderline gourmet Thanksgiving feast for 14 people, the last thing I felt like doing was consuming more than a custard cup full of food. Take my advice with a grain of salt [or sugar], but when you do indulge in the delights of the holiday season, do so without feeling regret. Enjoy, but take heed: everything is best when done in moderation.