Thursday, June 30, 2016

Steph Says: Mine

It's a quiet morning here at the beach. Rain is patterning outside the window, Daddo is still sleeping, I'm savoring my coffee and Addison is playing contentedly.

Then suddenly it hits me: this is her last summer before she starts school.

She's off to pre-k 3 in a month and a half. Five days a week, she'll be dropped off at her little school and I'll watch her long legs walk away, as she carries her too-big backpack into her classroom.

She is fearless...but she has such a long way to go.

She's going to learn new things; things I never even thought to teach her.

She's going to make new friends; friends that aren't the children of my own friends.

She's going to have a new teacher; a teacher who I hope will understand her unique personality.

She is barely two months into being three. She is smart, strong-willed, and bull-headed...but she is so, so sweet. She cares so deeply about little things. She loves animals and being outside. She says hello to everyone we meet, and makes everyone laugh with her antics. She takes risks and disregards boundaries and drives me absolutely crazy.

But she is mine.

She's been mine since the day God laughed and said "Ohhh, get ready for this one, Steph."

We have spent most of the last two years together. We've had our little routines and outings and days at home. I have watched her grow, literally, before my very eyes. She's made me want to pull out my hair while she actually pulls out hers. She's fought the potty and fought for her independence.

And despite all her little quirks and imperfections, the little things I can't control no matter how hard I try, she's one hundred percent, wholeheartedly, mine.

So as I sit here with her warm little body at my side, I have so many things to pray for as she leaves Mama behind to go to her little red school.

I pray that she behaves herself.

I pray that she follows the rules.

I pray that she gives her teacher the respect every teacher deserves-plus a little extra.

I pray that she is kind.

I pray that she plays fair and takes turns.

I pray that she stands up for herself.

I pray that her spirit is kindled.

I pray that no one tries to extinguish her light.

I pray that she always marches to her own beat.

I pray that the world is kind to her.

I pray that she has to work hard for what she wants.

I pray that she knows the difference between right and wrong.

I pray that she makes the right choices.

I pray that she learns from her mistakes.

I pray that she remembers to pray.

But most of all, I pray that at the end of the day, she is happy to see her Mama.

That she wants to share her day with me. That she wants to curl up beside me for a story or beg me to play dolls with her. That she can stay little for just a while longer.

I pray for her...because she is mine.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Steph Says: Keep Getting Up

I recently shared on Instagram the picture that Facebook Memories or Timehop or one of those instruments of the devil designed to make me relive my past mistakes decided to slap me across the face with: this time last year, I was able to squeeze myself into a size 8 pair of jeans. They were tight. But they zipped without having to lie down- and that, ladies, is a triumph, as we all know.

Now? In June 2016? I haven't worn jeans in about two months, thank you heat index.  But I can guess that my size 12s are fitting much like those 8s did one short year ago... Tight. But zippable. (Whether or not I'd have to lay down is negotiable.)

I have gained 20-25 lbs over the past year, depending on how much of a bitch the scale feels like being that morning. And it's been hanging on, despite my best efforts and good intentions. So many times I have chosen the salad over the deep-dish pizza, only to get a donut the next day.

It's like the old saying: Fall seven times, stand up eight. I have mastered the art of falling, that's for sure. I fall straight into a cheeseburger more often than I'd like to admit.

But lately, I've come to appreciate the fact that even after all these falls, these headfirst dives, I keep getting up.

I. Keep. Getting. Up.

Losing weight is so, so difficult. It involves so many choices and a heck of a lot of willpower. And we spend so much time every day making choices and using our willpower in situations that have little to nothing to do with our diets.
Do I scream at my child for getting yogurt all over the table and nearby surfaces, or do I bite my tongue and calmly help her clean up her "art project"? Do I have time to wash my hair? What should I wear today? Do I lay on my horn and go all Mad Max Fury Road on the woman who cut me off on the way to work? What project demands my attention today? Do I make time for this meeting tonight or just find a way to skip it? Do I have enough time to run some errands before dinner? When my child starts acting like Satan in the middle of Academy, how should I react? When can I run these errands without the kid in tow? What on earth am I going to cook tonight? Do I really feel like doing the dishes or can they wait until tomorrow? Can I fit in a work out tonight or just watch TV? If I just watch TV, will I force myself to get up early and make it to the gym for 5 am? 
So many choices. 
It absolutely wears you down. And on top of all that, you have to find the willpower to skip the cookie at Starbucks when the annoyingly chipper barista offers, "Can I get you a snack to go with your iced coffee? Perhaps a toffeedoodle cookie?"

Perhaps you bite me.

The fact is, there will always be backslides and relapses and seasons of life that get in the way of your fitness goals. But you can do one of two things:
1. Give up.
2. Keep getting up.

Me? I'm going to keep getting up, as many times as it takes. I'm stubborn like that. And I am not going to quit on myself- I've come too far for that.