Silver Linings

silver linings

Do you ever have a thought, feeling or emotion that rattles around in your head for, oh, let’s say, weeks?  Maybe months?  The problem is your not sure how to express it.  Or even if you should?  Here’s mine.

This year my son will turn twenty and I’ve missed half of his life.

Let me explain.  If I can.

I left my first husband when our son was three months old.  Within the first year I agreed (begrudgingly) to a custody arrangement that was a 50/50 split of time.  Over the years that has meant alternating house every three days, four days or seven days.  At times it was confusing (mostly for other people) but it seemed to work.  Bottom line, my son has spent half of his twenty years living away from me.

There’s no blame here.  No looking back in anger.  It was what it was and its history.

But here’s the thing.  It’s a weird feeling knowing that so many things that your child has experienced were not with you.  That during those days away you had idea where he was, who he was with or what he was thinking.  There are so many experiences, emotions and moments that I have no history of.  No pictures, no memories, no knowledge what so ever.

I’m not wallowing in pity either.  I know that he grew up loved by so many people and so far has had an amazing life.  It’s just an observation I’ve made in the past while.  I was struck one day by the fact that for days at a time I had no contact of any kind with him.

The hardest thing to do every week was not to pepper him with questions the minute he walked through the door.  Sometimes I was successful and sometimes not so much.  I just wanted to know what he had done.  What had he eaten.  How had he felt.  Had he been happy?  Had he had a hard week?

at school

Boys, as some of you may know, can be….um….lacking in details when it comes to what they’ve been doing.

“How was school?”

“Good”

“What did you do?”

“Stuff”

“Who were you with”

“Dunno”

Sound familiar?

I’m not sure if it is despite of or because of our arrangements that he has grown up to be a smart, caring, happy young man.  There have been trying times for him but I believe the same could be said for other boys his age who have grown up in a more conventional setting.

He’s not home much anymore.  Between work, school, friends and having his own car we are lucky to get a dinner once a week.  Oh and the odd “what can I eat?” at 1:00 pm after rolling out of bed.  Again, not judging, just observing.

I also know that going forward there won’t be as many family vacations, day trips or ski days and that’s okay.  I’m happy that he is happy and moving on into his adult years.  A parents job is to ready their children to make it on their own in the world and I am confident that he will do just that.  I’m hoping that when that happens there will be the odd phone call home to say, ask how long to roast a chicken?

walking away

It’s so hard to put these feelings into words.  The feeling that I’ve missed a lot but have still been given so much.

I suppose in some ways it has prepared me for the next stage of our lives.  I’m not that worried about him not being around all the time.

The Best Thing in Life is silver linings.

 

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I’m Sorry For What I Said When I Was Hungry

thischickshangry

Just after Christmas last year my husband, daughter and I were in Victoria for a little get away.  We had done a lot of walking and sightseeing during the day and it was getting late.  And I was hungry.  No, I was hangry.  You know.  When you are so hungry that the lack of food causes you to become frustrated, snappy and well, bitchy.

We found a cool pizza place for dinner and as we walked in we noticed that all of the staff were wearing t-shirts with the slogan.

I’m sorry for what I said when I was hungry

My seven-year old looked at me and smiled and my husband said.  “You need that shirt.”  What?

Okay, so I get a little cranky if I’m not fed quickly enough.  Have you seen the Snickers commercials?  But who doesn’t?  It’s pretty normal I think.  Okay, so I may take it a step too far occasionally.  Really, is it so hard to just get me some food when I need it?  I’m not a fussy eater so it could be pretty much be anything, so long as it fills my belly.

The whole thing is just basic biology.  Here’s what is happening in your body when you get hangry.

Despite the fact that your brain is only 2% of your body weight, it uses up 20-30% of the energy you consume.  So when your glucose levels are nose diving your brain starts to struggle with controlling emotions.  Since anger is the emotion that most people have difficulty regulating, it tends to be what goes first.  And you get hangry.

In my younger, not so wise days, I thought that the longer I could go without eating the better.  It meant I had will power and didn’t need food.  (Don’t shake your head ’cause I know you did it too). Now I’m not talking about starving myself.  Well, actually I guess I was.  I just didn’t know any better and thought it was good to be a little hungry.  I might even lose some weight if I could do it for enough days in a row.  This may explain a few of those temper tantrums my mom has told me about.

When I started seeing a naturopath a couple of years ago one of the first things she did was test my blood sugar.  It was probably close to 10:30 in the morning.  I had eaten breakfast but was feeling a little rumble in my stomach.  No big deal right?

“Your blood sugar is a bit low.” She told me

“But I just had breakfast. Well, I had breakfast at 7:30 this morning.”

“That was three hours ago.  You need to keep your blood sugar between 4.4 and 6.1.

I’ve learnt a lot in the last year and a half about what my body does and doesn’t need to not only function, but function well and my hangry episode are getting fewer and farther between.  My family may get me that t-shirt from the pizza place but the Best Thing in Life is that they will still love me.  Hangry or not.

FYI – Rungry is the term used when you are so hungry from a long run that you must eat everything you see.  But that’s a whole different post.