The Priceless Anniversary Gift

The Priceless Anniversary Gift

Marriage Log, Day 6,205…..

Today is our 17th wedding anniversary. Many couples our age have been married twice that long, but this is a second chance at love for both of us.

I got up at daybreak use the bathroom and my husband, a.k.a Superman, is lying on his stomach on a twin-size mattress that is clearly too small for his man-size frame. He is sprawled out and it looks as though he exhaled and then just melted into that spot. I know he is exhausted…

I am 9 days post ACDF surgery in which I had a cervical disc removed and then fused. My activity has been very limited and he has been there to care for me every step of the way.  He chose to sleep on the floor next to me so he could hear me and tend to my every need. He didn’t want to disturb me by sleeping in our bed.

The first day home he got me cleaned up from the blood, goop and sticky stuff all over me. This included showering me and washing my hair, then using baby oil to wipe away the sticky patches. He put lotion on me, dressed me and carefully got me situated in our deluxe king size adjustable bed. He tucked pillows, blankets and raised my feet. With super-human strength, he placed thigh-high compression stockings on my legs. No easy feat, I assure you! He continued to monitor my elevated blood pressure due to my body’s response to pain.

He organized my medication regimen and set his phone every two hours to check on me. I had water, ginger ale with bendy-straws along applesauce at the ready to take my pills. He alternated ice packs and sometimes heat depending on my needs. For two days he didn’t allow me to walk unassisted.

The second evening home, he was in the garage with our son and he didn’t hear me calling for him. My daughter came to my rescue and I told her I needed Daddy. When he came in, I needed to used the bathroom and was terribly uncomfortable. I took this opportunity to spew some fiery darts of unkind words at him, but he didn’t even flinch. He stood me up and walked me to the bathroom and asked if there was anything I needed or that he could do to help me.  He then helped me back to bed, held my drink for me and saw to it that I was put comfortably back to bed again. He leaned over to kiss me and asked if that was all I needed from him. I opened my eyes to see his face inches away and he smiled at me. I melted and big tears fell from my eyes. I said how sorry I was for being so mean. He wiped away my tears and told me once again he loved me. I can’t remember what he said next, but it made me laugh! (that is so Eddie!) He smiled at me again and I knew all was forgiven.

Meanwhile, he got the kids out the door every morning for school, arranged their transportation to various activities, did laundry, cooked, cleaned and managed it all. It was odd listening to all this activity from behind my bedroom door. That is where I am usually front and center. I smiled knowing Eddie could handle it- probably better than me!

Before this planned surgery, I tied up a thousand loose ends at work and at home, trying to make things easier on everyone. I trained a woman at work to do my job and arranged my schedule so there wouldn’t be as many commitments. At home, I filled out paperwork, audition forms, trip forms, yearbook forms, doctors’ forms, wrote out checks, paid bills and checked the calendar to be sure I hadn’t forgotten anything before the surgery because I knew I would be unable to help and I didn’t want to forget a thing!

Then, I discovered the one thing I forgot, was our wedding anniversary. Maybe I figured we would go out one night in a month or two, but I didn’t even get him a card or present. How did I miss that?

This year however, I received the greatest anniversary gift a wife could ever imagine. It wasn’t diamond earrings or red roses and chocolates. Eddie showed me how devoted he is to me by how he cared for me. His tenderness, compassion and understanding were felt infinitely. He looked at every detail to see what he could do to help or make things better for me. He’s so resourceful and smart. He was always smiling at me. He called me beautiful when I knew I looked like hell. When my appetite wasn’t good, he made tons of soft foods only to have me turn up my nose at them. Then I mentioned that chicken-n-dumplings from Cracker Barrel sounded good and I had them in front of me within twenty minutes. There isn’t a minute that goes by that I do not feel 100% loved by my sweet Eddie.

A3918A84-07B2-47DE-B1BB-830507BCC4FFHappy Anniversary honey. I love you so much!
I know this man would move Heaven and Earth for me and that kind of love is just priceless. If I didn’t think I could love you any more, I was wrong, but this is on a whole new level. As we look down the road to our Golden Years, I hope I can be as good to you as your are to me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Bit Unfit

A Bit Unfit

My husband got a new Fitbit when the company he works for started a health initiative. He was constantly updating me about his heart rate, how many steps he had taken that day and his sleep patterns. I usually answered, “That’s nice honey…” It seemed to motivate him to be healthier and I was happy for him.

Not long after he got his, he asked me if I wanted one. “Nah, I’m good,” I said. A few weeks later he asked again and I thought, “Okay, why not? I could stand to be healthier. I’ve wasted money on worse things…” So I said, “Sure, get me one.”

We looked online and I picked out the model and the color I wanted. I even ordered a ‘dressy’ band for when I want to wear my Fitbit out to dinner or to a party. (Lol.)

After receiving it, I followed the instructions and downloaded the app and set my goals. I went with the recommended 10,000 steps per day, 8 hours of sleep per night  and exercising 3 times per week. Reasonable goals, so I thought…

The first day, not only did I not reach my 10,000 step goal, I didn’t even reach 2000. This was eye opening to say the least! Okay, it is cold outside and I work a desk job, but man, that is not good!

My husband soon noticed that my average resting heart rate was 84 bpm. I was in ‘fat-burning mode’ all the time, even while I slept. “Is that bad?” I asked. His was 54 bpm. I then said, “Well, your a man, I’m sure it’s different for women, right?” So we Googled it and it was definitely on the high side.  I researched why a high heart rate wasn’t healthy and how to lower it. Reduce stress, exercise, meditate…

Many people have told me I am such a calm person. They enjoy talking to me because I have a quiet, soothing voice. In reality, on the inside, I’m wrapped tighter than a rubber band. I require a night guard wile I sleep because I clench my teeth. My mind races non-stop with all the things I have to get done and worry about daily, and now I’m worrying that I’m not doing enough to care for my health…

So, having a Fitbit has been eye-opening and is a good reminder to take better care of myself.  I love when I get a little vibration on my wrist and glance down to see the little stick figure guy jumping up and down saying, “Let’s move!” I decided that I’m going to start using the  bathroom at work on a different floor, so I  can get more steps – plus bonus stair points! I also like the reminder to take a break and do some deep breathing exercises for two minutes. I’m looking into Yoga. These are all good motivating factors to change.

I think recording my stats and giving me reminders, when I get too busy to keep myself in check, may be just what I needed. Sometimes I can get lost for hours sitting at the computer or on my phone. Looking up, stretching, walking, breathing fresh air and drinking more water shouldn’t be something I need to be told to do, but I’m astonished at how much I wasn’t doing. Perhaps since it is a new year, I can make a fresh start and make 2018 a better year for my overall health.

So, thank you Fitbit for helping this girl, who is a bit unfit, get back on track.

 

fitbit ecard

 

 

 

 

 

 

February

February

February is the month I love to hate.

February sits smack dab in the middle of winter, when the skies are grey, the trees are bare and it’s cold outside. You go to work when it’s dark and come home when it’s dark. No neighbors are outside to chat with, the kids are bored inside and although the days are short, they seem to drag on and on….

Every year for the past 15 years, I brace myself for the arrival of February. Chelsea, my beloved daughter, passed away on February 10, 2001. It was only 15 days before her 10th birthday. So every year, in February, I celebrate her life, and mark her death. You would think that after 15 years it would get easier. Some years have been easier than others, but when you lose a child, the heartbreak never truly goes away. Yes, you learn to live with it. You learn to smile and laugh again. There is even joy to be found, but when thoughts drift to her, it’s just…hard. Would it be different had she died in the spring? I doubt it, but mid-winter only exacerbates the emotion that is as grey as the sky.

What should I do on February 10th? Some years I’ve taken off work, stayed under the covers and wished it would all go away. Pity parties don’t help, but sometimes the tears just fall regardless of how hard you try to not let them. Other years, I try to celebrate her life, remembering the good times and how sweet she was. I can look at pictures and watch home movies, but still the tears…. Sometimes we’ve gone on an adventure she would have enjoyed. Another year I was on a business trip and was so busy that I didn’t remember until I wrote the date. I almost panicked. It made me feel like a terrible mother. Then my own mother called to check on me and I broke down into a million pieces.

I used to struggle with terrible depression in the winter. One doctor diagnosed me with SAD: Seasonal Affective Disorder. He suggested I try light therapy. I diagnosed myself with SAD, but I was just that, ‘sad.’

Then there’s February 25th, Chelsea’s birthday. This year she would be turning 25. That’s hard to imagine… This day is a little easier. We always get a cake, sing happy birthday, then write messages on balloons and let them go. I love to see what Ethan and Charlotte, (my son and daughter who came after Chelsea passed away) say and write to her. They never knew her, but she is every bit a sister to them as Ashley, my oldest daughter. They talk about her like they did know her. Hopefully, because we all have talked about her so much over the years that they feel like they do. I love when they ask questions about her.

Now when the holidays are over, and we round the corner into the new year, I see it looming in the distance. I know it’s coming and I try not to fear or dread it. It’s a time to remember Chelsea and celebrate the life she lived. I don’t make any definite plans as to what I’ll do or how I’ll feel, because every year is different. Awareness and acceptance of my feelings is what has made the difference. It’s okay to feel sadness and even pain, because even though it hurts, it is part of healing. The most important thing is to let yourself feel – all of it – the good, the bad and the ugly. Grief is a process and there is no time limit. It really never actually ends.

The best part is that after February is over, spring arrives. A renewal and rebirth of life. The trees bloom and the sun comes out and life is new all over again. I take a deep breath and know it’s going to be okay. My joy and hope is in knowing that I’ll see her again one day. So, until then, I will remember her with a smile, (and most likely a tear) and live my life to the fullest, experiencing as much joy as I can along the way.

chelsea1
My little monkey Abu!