Thursday, March 22, 2012

Beautiful Day

Today is one of those days that makes me LOVE living here in the south. Two weeks ago it was cold and bordering on brown here. It never goes completely bare like up north. We have magnolias and palms, shrubs and tons of winter blooming flowers. But at some point every March, the furnace switch outside gets flipped and the lid goes on the crockpot we call Tallahassee. It is almost like the magician’s trick where he pulls a giant bouquet of flowers from his seemingly empty sleeve. He tugs and POOOOF … there’s a giant ball of color. That is what March is like here. Three weeks ago we remarked on how brown the lawns had all gotten in the neighborhood. Today, I step out onto my porch for a picnic lunch and BAM!!!! It’s GREEN!!!!!

...and yellow. My least favorite part of Tallahassee is also here. The high pollen count advisories seem to lead to migraines. Phooey.

Being outside also reminds me that in the event of a collapse of a banking system, power-grid, or just simply losing a job, life does go on. Nature does her thing and doesn’t pay us humans much never-mind. We can either lead her or follow, but we better get out of her way. That is both comforting to me and gives me perspective. These things I’m worrying about today – that are lending themselves to my migraine and back ache – these things will not matter in 10 years.

These things I know: These trying times too shall pass. There will be more trying times in the future, and those too shall pass. Not everything I hold dear will last, but I will work hard to make sure that some of those things I do hold dear will outlast me. I won’t be able to do everything I would like to do, but I can accomplish a lot if I work at it a little bit every day. My family will suffer losses that will feel unbearable, but those too will be borne. My hopes and dreams won’t all come to fruition, but some of them will. I might not be successful even if I try very hard, but I will certainly fail if I don’t try at all. Everything requires perspective. If I truly knew the burdens others were carrying, I wouldn’t be complaining about my problems.

I have a friend that I would call a health freak. She’s very sweet and we have fun hanging out together. She’s also a very good mother. We don’t agree on every parenting issue, but she always considers how her behavior and choices affect her child. However, she’s one of those women that runs regularly, eats only healthy stuff, and complains about not being able to lose that last five pounds. Truly, I see how that is frustrating, but it has never been something that brought me to tears. She told me recently that she had to back off complaining about those things. She said that she was so focused on the negative parts of her life, that she wasn’t enjoying all the positive parts of her life. She said that she had been crying in front of her son about something so small and the look on his face and his anxious reaction to her tears just broke her heart.

It breaks my heart that her son had to see that. I also know that if that is the one and only time he sees his mom melt down over something cosmetic, it won’t matter to him in the long run. HOWEVER, if he sees his mom melting down over small stuff all the time? Well, that can change a kid.

The story my friend told bothered me enough that I sat down and had a talk with my daughter about weight and body perception. She knows the dangers of obesity. Her father (we’re divorced) is overweight and she watches Biggest Loser and Dr. Oz’s show on Discovery. She’s also smart as a whip - that one. She knows her father is shortening his life by his eating choices. So I asked her if she was happy with her body. She said she felt too fat. I was shocked that my thin athletic daughter would feel fat!! REALLY?! So I asked if something I said made her feel that way. I had kinda gotten that feeling by how she was looking at me. My heart broke when she confessed that, yes, something I said did hurt her feelings about her weight. I had told her that she was getting too big in frustration the other day. She wears an adult women’s size 7. She’s 9 years old. She goes through shoes at least once a month. Last month I had comforted myself with the fact that at a size 6.5, her feet couldn’t possibly get much bigger. So, that day I was a little frustrated that she outgrew all her jeans over the course of the winter, at least four sets of shoes and boots and now wears my shirts out of my closet. I never thought that my careless comment would have hurt her feelings.

I felt bad for a little while. I need to watch what I say more carefully. She deserves that. On the other hand, like I said above, as long as this is an isolated incident this won’t affect her much. If I grouched about her weight everyday then maybe I would worry about creating body image issues. But I don’t, so I hope she won’t. However, it did teach me a lesson in watching my tongue and taking time to ask and listen.

Enough philosophizing today. I’m done working for my employer for the day. I’m going outside to work for myself for a while.

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