My 16-year-old son surprised me the other day by saying “I’m really glad you are healthy.” I looked at him, surprised, and responded by telling him I had 3 kids and lots of potential grandbabies I need to be around for. He chuckled, hugged me, and left for school.
His statement stuck with me all day as I worked and wrote. He has made comments before about friends’ parents, either stating they were very unhealthy or (the fear of most parents) they had passed and left their child motherless. I thought of all the things I still want to do. There are so many.
He is my youngest child. His older brother and sister are both grown and married, my only grandchild is about to turn 2. For years I prayed to God “just please let me live long enough to see my children grow up. Let me stay with them until they don’t need me anymore”. (A prayer I later found out, that is said by many young mothers). I never realized that they were going to ALWAYS need their mom. Just like I still need mine.
I have always been active with all my kids, and we enjoy a very competitive relationship. The struggle of one becomes the struggle of all. If one child was facing a challenge or activity, we all worked together for encouragement. This has led to very well-rounded children as the boys have practiced ‘girl’ sports with my daughter, and after years of practice, my daughter can take them both out in paintball. Everyone is good-naturedly competitive, and air hockey or ping pong can become quite loud with the victor hooting and hollering, and the loser demanding a rematch.
In addition to being physically active, my youngest has watched (and often participated) in my ‘Challenges’ as I call them. There have been several, but each one makes me more aware of my health, and even though they are usually short-term, I learn a bit from each and take that with me on my journey of Life. We’ve had celery juice in the mornings, no fast food, (harder than I imagined) Squat and pushup challenges, 30 days of yoga, and most recently 10 days of no sugar. Yes, it’s in everything.
I say this to show that you don’t have to be a health nut. You don’t have to have a gym membership, and you don’t need to run around in Lululemon gear and watch every calorie. (I mean, you can if you want to and hats off to you if you have that kind of discipline). It doesn’t have to be a job. It can be fun, engaging, and challenging for the whole family.
I still need my mom. I am 48 years old, and I still call her for advice and to be my sounding board nearly every day. My children still need me. Twenty-plus years ago that prayer was thought to have a life expectancy of 18 years to see my children grow and become independent. I have realized now that my children are mostly grown, life has shifted, and I have different goals and passions now. I still have so much to do, including being a friend and mentor to my children, because they still need me. I need to make this body of mine last as long as I can. Do your children a favor and take care of yourself. It’s not being selfish. You are doing it for them in the long run. When I want to sit on the couch all day and eat Bon Bons, I think of the disservice I am doing to my children. They are going to need me for a very long time, and I am going to do my best to ensure I am always there for them. Even if that means drinking my coffee black. 😉