Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Present

Well, I just kind of disappeared there, didn't I???

My apologies to my readers! I do miss my blog and all of you and the catharsis I get from writing.  But there have been lots of changes in my life of late, most of them positive. The biggest news is that I reached goal and became an employee of Weight Watchers. I'm currently in training and hope to be a leader by early next year.

WOW, is there a lot to learn. But I LOVE it. I get to interact with people in a really meaningful way; people who are having the same struggles I once had, people who need what others once gave me. I find it monumentally fulfilling. If you've been a reader for any length of time, you know how desperately I needed to feel fulfilled.

You may remember that mere days before she died, my Mom reached her 100lb goal and was beginning to think about becoming a leader herself. Even chronically ill, retirement and the sedentary lifestyle that inevitably accompanies it just wasn't her bag. She needed something to do. And she would have been GREAT at it.

It never fails to cross my mind at some point in each meeting that I work, that my Mom was really cheated and that I am now doing what she dreamt of. That makes me very sad, but also proud. She would have been thrilled for me. And I think she alone would have understood what it truly meant to me to find something to do that really matters.

But I found a way of honoring my Mom and including her in the journey that I thought was ending, but had really just begun. It's been a secret until now. Not even my husband knows. I'm going to share it with you now. Why? I don't know. I guess just because...it's time. I need people to know just how much a part of my success she has been and always will be.

Weight Watchers is big on recognition. It's what keeps people motivated. It might sound silly, but a little green "bravo" sticker can make your whole day when you're struggling. Weight Watchers also sets small goals; 5 and 10 percent, to get members started and help them feel less overwhelmed when they have a lot of weight to lose. When a members reaches their 10 percent goal they are awarded a keychain. Then they get a washer to go on the keychain for each 25lbs lost. They also award little charms for various other achievements along the way. My Mom had them all, except the lifetime key, which is the most coveted of all the charms. A member must stay at their goal weight for 6 weeks to get their lifetime status. My Mom only lived for one after reaching hers.

When she died we kept that keychain, of course. For both my sisters and me, it was a symbol of the courage, determination, and strength that my mother had always modelled for us. The middle child took posession of it, as she was at the beginning of her weight loss journey and wanted it as a talisman. I can't think of a more powerful one, at least for the three of us. Since I was near goal, I was happy to let her have it and really thought no more about it.

It took me a lot longer than I thought to actually reach my goal. My body simply refused to go below a certain point. Though I battled for nearly six months, I could not get beyond the 75 lb. mark. I could get the pounds off, but they would come right back, despite not changing my habits. It was maddening. Ultimately, I got a doctor's note that said I didn't need to lose the last 9lbs, because I was strong, healthy and sufficiently lean in my body composition.

To this day it puzzles me...many women that I weigh in are significantly larger than me, but weigh quite a bit less. And I'm told all the time that I don't look like I weigh what I do. Most people attribute this to the fact that I am very muscular. A pound is a pound of course, but muscle is much smaller and much more dense than fat. But I think it also has to do with my frame. Though I am short, I do not have a little birdlike frame. I am not a wispy, or lithe, or wraith like. I have a very strong German heritage and we Germans are a stalwart, hardy and sturdy race.

But I digress...

Months later when at last I had been granted lifetime status by Weight Watchers, I received a package in the mail from my sister. I was puzzled. We send things back and forth to one another, but I'm usually aware of when something is on it's way. When I tore the envelope open, a little velvet box tumbled out. I couldn't imagine what it could be, since we'd divided up all of Mom's jewelry and baubles months before. There was a card, but I didn't want to read it first and ruin the surprise. I opened the box and literally gasped aloud. Tears sprang to my eyes and immediately overflowed to stream down my cheeks. I didn't wipe them away.

There in the box was Mom's Weight Watchers key chain with all the charms and washers. It's not shiny anymore. My Mom carried it with her on her actual key chain and it bears all the scars of a well loved and well used object. If someone found it on the street, they would likely toss it in the garbage as it looks as if it couldn't possibly be of any value to anyone. But to me, it shone with a brilliance that could not be equalled by any diamond. I sat there in my kitchen with the silly thing cupped in my hands like a baby bird and cried.

The note from my sister said simply that I should have it because I'd earned it and Mom would want me to. And that she was proud of me. And Mom would be too.

When I last saw my Mom, I had only lost 22lbs. When she died, I had lost 65, but I hadn't seen her in 9 months. She never saw me thin. She doesn't know I became a Zumba instructor. God, that would have tickled her to death. She doesn't know I made goal. She doesn't know that Weight Watchers hired me. All this stuff I did....and she didn't get to see any of it.

I'm so angry about that.

For much of my life, I felt like I was a disappointment to my Mom. Oh, I know she loved me. Never, ever, did I doubt that. But I rejected her faith at a very young age. I didn't do well in school (I actually had to repeat my entire senior year to get my high school diploma) and I didn't go on to college. I moved away very young to a big city. I married a man from an entirely different sphere of humanity (though she loved him like her own son); one she never could understand or identify with. I never came back home to raise my family as she hoped. I bore only boys, which were completely foreign to her. And we differed on just about every political and moral issue there is.

My Dad always said that we clashed so much when I was young because we were so, so, so much the same. Now I see that is true and I consider it the highest compliment I could ever be paid. But back then...boy it pissed me off.

So I thought that maybe if I achieved these goals I had set for myself, she might finally be proud of me. But then she died. Everybody says..."Oh, she knows. And she's proud."  I know people are trying to be kind, but frankly, I don't want to hear that. Because I want her HERE. To see with her own eyes and to speak it with her own lips. Though I did all these things first and foremost for myself...I really wanted to hear her say, "I'm proud of you honey."

And I'm also angry because she was cheated. For her entire life she did what had to be done; to feed us, to shelter us, to make sure that above all, we had good character, strength and dignity. She never got to live life just for herself. She endured so many years of struggle and sacrifice; so many years of meaningless drudgework for a paycheck. And then, just when she had the luxury of doing something purely for her own enjoyment and fulfillment...she died. I can't even explain how intensely angry I am about that. Me, the wordsmith, at a loss for how to explain the deep, aching, blinding, binding, searing ANGER that I feel over her death.

But on to the secret...

I take my Mom with me to work.

It's silly and stupid, but it makes me feel like she's there and she's a part of of what's happening.

I take that little velvet box out of my jewelry armoire and slip it into my purse or my pocket before each meeting. I keep it someplace nearby, though I am TERRIFIED of losing it, so often it stays in my purse if I don't have any pockets in which to keep it. But she's with me. She's cheering on the members who lost and commiserating with those who gained. She's chit chatting, smiling, lending support, giving advice, sharing recipes and food finds. She's restocking shelves and swiping credit cards and stacking chairs.

Recently I added my lifetime charm to the keychain. It's very shiny and stands out amid the worn ones she earned. There we are together on that key chain and it reminds me that...

She's present. Because she's the reason I am present.

And together, we will help change lives.

12 Comments:

  • At 11:14 AM, Anonymous Gurukarm said…

    Sitting here with tears running down my face for you...

    I have a missing-mom story for you too, but will not post it here, because I don't want to take away from your wonderful words.

    Many hugs to you, Christina.

     
  • At 11:31 AM, Blogger Wisconsin Mommy said…

    Beautifully told. Hugs to you!

     
  • At 1:08 PM, Anonymous Dyann said…

    All the time I am conflicted by my motivation to please/honor my late mother and my disappointment that I'll never have the chance to see the pride on her face. It's a bitter pill.... I know it's no consolation, but I'm certain what would bring your mom the most joy is knowing you are sustained by the ability to be proud of yourself. I tell my kids all the time that I'm proud of them, but that it's more important for them to be proud of themselves. You have accomplished so much and have every reason to be proud....and if you truly are, then I can't think of a more fitting tribute to your mother for a parenting job well done. Every day (even before your weight loss journey) you touch the lives of virtual strangers who continue to be drawn to you. Your mom knew that and I believe she's always been proud of you. Now that you've found fulfilment, allow it to sustain you. Self-reliance and eventual whole ness...that's what all mothers want for their babies. When my grief bubbles to the surface, I remind myself of that. I wish peace for your heart, Christina. You are such an inspiration to me (and to many).

     
  • At 1:12 PM, Blogger Blog Antagonist said…

    Dyann...your words mean more than you know. You've always been so kind and so honest in sharing your thoughts and feelings. I appreciate everyone's comments, but knowing that someone else who has lost their mother can identify with something I'm feeling really makes me feel less alone. Thank you.

     
  • At 1:13 PM, Blogger Blog Antagonist said…

    GK, I would like to hear your story. I don't mind you sharing it here, but if you're not comfortable with that, I hope you will share it somewhere. As I told Dyann, hearing from other women who have lost their Mothers really helps.

     
  • At 10:34 PM, Blogger Just Words On A Page said…

    <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

     
  • At 2:03 AM, Anonymous Dyann said…

    You have no idea how many times your words have brought me comfort, laughter, tears, enlightenment.... I'm happy to have brought you a sliver of comfort in the form of empathy. Your life and mine are remarkably similar...and the tragedy of our mothers' departures is no exception. My parents struggled through their marriage (no fighting, just an ocean of deep silent resentment) but stayed together for mine and my brothers' sake...only to divorce when I was 25. My mom was so incredibly hurt and too a few years to settle into acceptance and forgiveness. As her friend and her only daughter I spent those years trying to helpsneak her healin her brokenin heart. 11 years later she renewed a 43 year old friendship and fell madly in love. She and this man had 3 years of total bliss before marrying in sept of 2008. She was the happiest she had ever been in her life and felt she had found her soul mate. Four and a half months later she was diagnosed with Stage IV pancreatic cancer and died 52 days after that..2 days shy of her 6 month wedding anniversary and 9 days shy of her 68th birthday. Of course I was devastated for my own loss, but my anger had everything to do with her happiness being swept out from under her feet. She, too, was ripped off! It wasn't fair and I'll never be able to reconcile the injustice of it. But guess who was NOT angry? My mom. She taught me the meaning of grace over those 52 days. I can only hope that I'll be able to muster the strength and grace she did as she mothered my brothers and me until her very last hour. I have **chosen** to be happy (frankly, my heartmom had otherto plans) that my mom was lucky enough to find true love after heartbreak , however shortlived. So very many people NEVER experience true love at all. Two weeks before she died, she told me how "lucky" she was - and she left the world without voicing a single complaint about the hand she was dealt. She was an amazing lady and she continues to be a guiding force in my life -just as your Mom is for you. We are lucky girls, you and me, for being born to women who were able to impart so much through their example. I still feel ripped off, I still feel she was ripped off, but thanks to her I spend more time thinking about how lucky I am to be hers. But it's definitely a decision...and it wasn't made overnight. You just passed the one year mark...you're entitled to more time to find your bearings. I love that you've perservered on your journey despite your sorrow...that's character, and you know it came from somewhere..... =)

     
  • At 2:07 AM, Anonymous Dyann said…

    Sorry for typos....damn droid thinks it's a smart phone....

     
  • At 10:21 AM, Blogger Blog Antagonist said…

    Oh, what a story about your Mom. I wish my Mom could have had that. I think she loved my Dad throughout their marriage, but he really didn't make her very happy. They were just not well suited to one another. How wonderful that your Mom found such happiness in her last years. I think you're right about it being a choice. I think I'll get there, but like you said, I'm still sorting through all the grief and anger. Thanks again for your understanding. :?)

     
  • At 3:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Please keep writing! You are an inspiration for all.

     
  • At 9:58 AM, Blogger SUEB0B said…

    Thank you for sharing that story. I'm glad your sister was wise enough and kind enough to send your mom's keychain to you. I'm sure you'll be a great leader and help many people who are just like your mom.

    You know you've already helped me. I never would have joined Weight Watchers if it weren't for a couple people I "know" - either in real life or virtually - telling their stories to make it less scary to me. I was so afraid of some dogmatic diet plan, but you showed me that WW is not a diet - it's a lifestyle. Because of you, I made the decision to make exercise as important as diet right from the start. I saw how much it helped you.

    So thank you. You've already been a leader for me. I'm sure you will help many others.

     
  • At 4:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    No updates on your blog! Is everything fine?

     

Post a Comment

<< Home