It dawned on me sometime several weeks ago that I'm not 20 years old anymore.
I long for the arteries of a 20 year old, but I appreciate the novice wisdom of my mid 30s. I just ate my first blood orange. Seen brilliantly sliced and displayed at my local natural/organic foods market, I couldn't resist the purchase. As I peeled it, I marveled at the berry juicebox appearing fluid escaping the seemingly normal orange pith wedges. How interesting that I wouldn't experience food as clearly as I do now, until the age that I am now.
A food revolution in America? A personal overhaul striking bulls eye? I'm not sure, but I will never again regress to having weight issues from processed foods. I consider most meats, processed food and dairy to be foods of my past. When hungry, I simply long for real. Whole. Food. It's taken years to replenish my depleted micronutrient stores.
I still don't discount fear as a chief factor for my persistent desire for change (yo yo's of failure/success). Fear of chronic disease. Having worked briefly as a young adult in long term care, I wondered how so many professional people could tragically become trapped in bodies that didn't serve them (doctors, veterinarians, nurses, homemakers). The patients most often were kind and accepting of my assistance, always complimenting me on my youthfulness and telling me I was beautiful. Others were violent towards me, as a caregiver, and through bewildered eyes seemed to say, "don't help me."
How do I avoid the end of my life as a dependent?
To this day, peeling an orange takes me back to my childhood and one of the few memories I have of my paternal grandfather. In the beginning stages of Alzheimer's, we sat at the dull brown table as he was peeling an orange on a paper towel. He asked me if I knew how to peel an orange and whether from kindness or honesty, I replied that I did not. He removed the peel of the orange until only the soft fuzzy pith remained. He pushed his finger into the hole at one end and, like magic, the orange opened and was ready to be segmented.
I blame my limbic system for the vivid memory of my grandfather peeling an orange. Oranges have a powerful scent.
While at the food store this morning, I grabbed a large amount of foods containing sulforaphane. I consider these foods a staple of our diet, even though I believe variety of foods is ideal (hence, grabbing blood oranges on a whim). I left with a basketful of brussels sprouts, broccoli, kale, cabbage. For the kids, I grabbed packages of dried bananas and pineapple for lunches. We have mostly trended out meat products of any kind. A few times per month we will eat fish or bake a chicken to eat with dinner.
Although never a person to want a tortoise, we have one and her name is "Ruby." Ruby is a lucky tortoise, perhaps, compared to other homes she could have gone. As a primarily green eating herbivore, she receives a variety of greens and vegetables in her dish twice a day. She currently has broccoli, broccoli leaves, kale and a sliced carrot. This morning, she ate a bowl full of kale and cabbage. We gave her endive but she got tortoise diarrhea so we now avoid endive.
I see babies born several times a week. I feel blessed to be able to give my full attention to my growing children at this point in my life. Jenna came home yesterday afternoon and told me about girls having word wars and gossiping. This almost brought her to tears because she was being accused by the unofficial leader in her group of "talking behind her back." Jenna talks about how this unofficial leader commands loyalty to the group, spends a lot of time telling other kids how insignificant they are, make jokes about how important she is as the leader, etc. Jenna has lamented over how she would like to spend more time with other girls, but was fearful about the negative attention being turned her way if she spent time elsewhere. Now that she has the negative attention, I told Jenna to run with it. It's an opportunity. I reminded Jenna that Jenna is valuable. She is important. I reminded Jenna that the unofficial leader would be one. important. girl. down. without Jenna. I told her that if the unofficial leader continues to be mean, to call her out on her meanness and withdraw. Jenna named off five other girls who also suffered a falling out with the unofficial leader and to whom she could establish friendships. We talked about what friendship is and what is looks like. We talked about being strong and moving on towards a new opportunity. We talked about being nice to people who are mean to us while removing ourselves from the abuse.
The message she will send is : I won't tolerate it.
At the end, Jenna appeared relieved and said, "I'm so glad you are my mom! You make me feel better about all my girl problems."
I want her to build self esteem and inherently see value in herself. This unofficial leader of a group invites girls into her group and surrounds herself with girls who have low self esteem to elevate her own. They all see strength in numbers.
Discontent anyways, Jenna needs to leave. There are happier girls elsewhere, who don't have self esteem issues.
"This" stage won't last forever, but I will use every moment while I can. I literally see Jenna looking up to me, asking for feedback, asking for direction, bouncing ideas off of me, seeking my approval ranging in topics from her shoes to her friendships to her music choices. On the rare afternoons I'm home, she runs home from the school bus to me and she can't wait to discuss what has recently happened.
I need to be very careful during this time because if I ignore her, she won't ask again. I want to encourage the dialogue before she stops asking and starts hiding.
I am also masterfully powerful during this brief time. I need to instill in her decision-making based on values. I won't have the right answer for every situation and, eventually, she will stop asking.
One interesting aspect about Jenna that we have recently noticed but just seems on the side lines ... she is reading one 350-page teenage novel book a day. She went through an entire series in six days. The other day Derek said, "I think Jenna's reading comprehension is off the charts." I agree, but I also don't know anymore about it.
Darin is information seeking. His ideas about the world are sometimes off the wall, but I think he has a genetic predisposition for this kind of thinking. He opened my Obstetrics textbook this morning and revealed grotesque pictures of conjoined twins not compatible with life, diagrams of babies rotating through a bony pelvis and the ever popular human linear dermatome map. He is inquisitive of concrete topics. We inadvertently missed his Tenex yesterday afternoon and he had a slow transition to bed time. This morning, he was unusually energetic, running in circles at the bus stop while we all stood there shivering in the 30 degree cold. What is normal 9 year old boy and what constitutes eccentric I'm not sure. Darin would make a good human doctor, given his genuine compassion for others, his beyond-this-world creativity and his knack for tackling concrete issues.
I'm grateful for this day off in the middle of the week. My call ended at 08 am and my day started off with a page from a labor patient at 05:30am. I'm grateful to be doing all the laundry today, thrilled about perusing the vegetables in the foods market, thankful I'm without health problems and happy to receive my children when they come off the school bus. I will go for a run in about an hour.
I've been doing this running thing again. My body has complained less now than any other year I started. I think I'm building muscle which makes the scale go up a few pounds. I know my energy has improved and my sleep has improved, however.