When a body turns on you

In September of this brand new year I will turn 54 years old. I have long since left behind my youth. My adult children are visible proof of that, along with the ever bothersome changes that an overworked, aging body keeps parading through my world every day when I awaken.

The arthritis is nothing new, but the symptoms of it are increasing, almost more rapidly than I could have ever anticipated. This makes me wonder how much of a connection there might be between this degenerative disease and my obvious menopausal drop in circulating hormones. I anticipated some relief when I stopped working full-time. I felt I would have an advantage by not putting as much stress on my hands and wrists, but with every passing month more lumps and bumps are apparent in my knuckles, my fingers twist more and the symptoms seem to be moving to other body parts.

I always said I could and would tolerate what was happening to my hands as long as I could walk, and walk comfortably. It would seem that my ankles and feet are now showing signs and protesting quite loudly. If I wear much other than the standard athletic shoe for very long I find myself hobbling gingerly, limping along with severe pain in my left foot. When I get up in the morning I limp until my feet have the chance to warm up and move for a while. My ankles crack and creak, as do my knees. I suppose this could be considered a positive in the sense that if I put my mind to it I might be able to coordinate those sounds with the ones that occur in the joints of my hands and amuse those around me with a catchy little tune.

Another quite visible outcome of this ladies change is the weight that has settled around my mid section. I have no illusions, nor have I characterized myself as slim for a long, long time. Three pregnancies, abdominal muscles that became less and less toned, a considerable lack of any formal exercise plan and you can imagine that sort of typical mom body. Somewhere, in the last few months though, there are changes taking place that are astounding. The waist that had some definition has disappeared. The semi-smooth back now has that oh so lovely layer of rolled tissue which protrudes from under my bra making any close-fitting garment look as if three people are squeezing into it instead of just one. I have gone up one pants size simply to be able to breathe without constriction around my middle.

I am seriously ready to turn every zippered pair of pants I own into flexible, stretchy top marvels that I used to fondly term grandma pants, except that those pants were always for the sweet older ladies who had that large mid-section. I am now one of those ladies.

I now feel guilty on so many counts. If I put one thing that isn’t a fruit or vegetable into my mouth I feel overwhelming guilt and shame, knowing that the cookie I so long for isn’t helping. For every strong desire I have to bend, stretch, walk, learn yoga, or hike in the woods I look down at the growing twisted appendages, feel the neck pain, and revile the aches as now more and more of me is letting myself down. I look at clothing that I long to wear and meekly pass it by, moving on to the sections that hold items designed to hide, not flatter.

I went looking for shoes today as I am fast approaching the point whereby I will be wearing my athletic shoes with everything. The choices are slim and I see the stodgy, solid, and supportive grandma shoes lurking in my periphery, gently calling me, their standard laces beckoning.

My body mocks me, taunting quietly with occasional memories of what it once was. I feel trapped inside a person I don’t really know anymore and I don’t think I’m ready to accept that this is the new me.

 

 

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Sharing some happy news

A wedding is in our future! Our son and his girlfriend are getting married.

Jeff and Meredith have been a couple for a long while. He met her when they both lived in the same residence hall while at college during his sophomore year. That’s been about five, going on six years. They’ve pretty much been inseparable since.

If you remember some of my blog posts last summer about a wedding/reception I was helping with-that was Meredith’s sister. I was so excited to think that one day this would be an event for Jeff and her.

Meredith is smart, meaning intellectual. Meredith is honest, meaning she doesn’t mess around with her opinions. Meredith is kind and genuinely caring, meaning she is passionate about many things going right and going wrong in our world today.

Meredith is a great match for Jeff who has those same qualities, who after just turning 25 a few days ago, has turned out to be a pretty great man.

So now, as the planning begins, I get to wax nostalgic about this man who not so long ago it seems was the baby who decided to pee on me the first night he came into this world. The chubby baby with the infectious grin who used to scoot backwards into furniture crevices before he learned to crawl. The boy who played Ninja Turtles, who let his older sister dress him up in girlie tutus, and who always took the middle ground as the middle child. The young man who devoted hours and hours to music, who filled our house with the sounds of his guitar and saxophone and harmonica and even his ocarina.

Our family has known for some time that this event would happen, someday. It was all about Jeff being ready, the time being right. Yesterday while skiing with Meredith he proposed. I hear he had the ring tucked into a secret area in his ski glove. He proposed as they took a break sitting in the sun on a gorgeous snow-covered mountain.

Now all the real fun (for the rest of us) begins. You know that this blog will be filled with future wedding news. I can hardly wait.

Baby faces working hard

I see so many changes in Gisella every time I am with her. Literally everyday something is new and I delight in doing absolutely nothing but playing with, talking to and interacting with her when I am babysitting.

We’ve been working hard on sitting up, rolling over and getting used to real food. Gisella’s mom recently started her on some rice cereal a few times per day and just introduced bananas a few days ago. I had found this nifty chair to use when she is at my house and mom and dad actually purchased the same one. It is a high chair without the legs and can strap securely to a kitchen chair. I liked the fact that it is portable but still has a tray for the time when she is older and can self-feed.

Today we had a marathon of play, exercise, eating and some napping in between. Here’s a glimpse at what our day was all about.

Hi, my name is Gisella. Tummy time with a short break to chew on my hands.

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Maybe if I put my butt up in the air and swing it really hard I can just flip right over.

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Nope, grandma had to help me. so now what do I do?

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How about if I swing my legs really hard this way maybe I can flip back over.

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 Learning to roll over is frustrating and it makes me really tired.

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I’m just gonna sit up instead. I’m really pretty good at that.

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Waiting for some cereal and bananas. But I have a secret…can you guess what it is?

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I was secretly going poop while grandma was feeding me! Now I’m ready for a diaper change and a nap. Night-night everyone.

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