I’m Not Brave…yet

I would do anything for my kids.  What parent wouldn’t?

My heart breaks for my boys when they struggle in life. When your kids are hurting you hurt. When they overcome something, you celebrate with them. When they’re in pain, you feel that pain even deeper than they do at times.

My youngest opened up to us a few weeks ago that he was sneaking extra food from his friends lunches. After eating what we packed him, he would take leftovers others didn’t want to eat. We knew something had been going on when his clothes had stopped fitting him and we were forced to move to sizes well beyond his height and age.

We had a heart breaking moment, when our baby sat in tears feeling ashamed and confused. He didn’t know what was driving him, but he felt he was doing something wrong. He was embarrassed and crushed. This was so tough for me to watch and hear.

I remember how I felt the day Jeremy (my hubby) walked into the bathroom and caught me mid-purge. I remember the shame that I felt. I remember the fear I had as I wondered what he was thinking. I remember how exposed I felt as the light switch was flipped on to something that had grown in the dark since I was 10 years old.  All of those memories resurfaced as I watched my boy sitting on the side of the bed in tears and unable to speak. I was gripped with fear. I know how God carried me into freedom. His perfect strength and the support of my family helped me but how do I now help my boy?

PAUSE . . .

Toward the end of every December, I ask God for a word for the coming year. It’s more than a theme.  It’s like a mission for the next 365 days of my life.  I take it serious. I focus on it. I push myself and trust God to lead me.

BE BRAVE

Funny thing about those two words is as I did my best to embrace them, I immediately became fearful. I prayed to God and said, “Ok God, Ill be brave. But what are you throwing my way this year that I need bravery for?”

Don’t get me wrong, bravery sounds awesome and it’s gonna look good on the t-shirt.  But we only need bravery to do scary things. So what scary things should I expect to face this year God?  My attitude was less than brave. “Sure Jesus, I’ll be brave as long as you don’t make me face anything too hard. And please don’t make me give up any of my things.”

But he reminded me of my biggest promise in 2015. I chose to live “palms up” recognizing I’m all his and nothing belongs to me.  I chose to give up control and stop possessing my own life.  My life is His. I’m anxious about 2016.  Bravery is scary!

 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank him for his answers.

Philippians 4:6

BACK TO MY BOY:

And right out of the gate we had our first Nicks Family “Be Brave” moment. How do we help our baby to put down guilt and shame? How do we help him live a healthy and happy life? How do do all this without him becoming obsessed with looking down at the scale before looking up to God?  I’m not really sure but God knows and we’re all in His care.

In that moment, I did the only thing I knew how to do. I went to my quiet place and pleaded and begged God for the health of my baby. “Please God, don’t allow him to suffer in shame. Protect his spirit. Tell me what to do. Don’t let our fears affect his growth through this circumstance.”

We’ve been doing our part and trusting God to do his.  There was a time fear would have won. I would have ignored the problem or ran and hid from it.  Instead we are taking little steps to help our little guy embrace who God made him and help channel is love for food in healthier ways. He helps with dinners, he gets to choose what we make for dinner, and we get to focus on WHOLE health and not on appearance. I’ll share more as we go but for today my encouragement to you is

Be brave by taking one step each day through the circumstances that would normally scare you.

This past week, we went back to our plan. The plan start everyone of my new clients with gives freedom to my son. He doesn’t feel like he’s dieting. He actually gets to tell us what he wants to eat and he’s in charge!  We work out OR get active EVERY DAY.  We haven’t discussed pounds. We’ve talked health. We’ve talked about handling life. We’ve talked about living in the light so the stuff that scares us has to fear us! So what’s happened?

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It started with screaming and ended with tears.  The screaming came from my boy after he got out of the shower.

“Guess what?!” he yelled at me.  “I lost 4 pounds this week.” There was such pride and confidence as we celebrated his win. In that moment he shared an area where he had struggled last week.  This was a win too? My boy isn’t scared to talk to me. That’s more important than 4 pounds! It was my moment to remind him it isn’t about being perfect, its about progress and effort.

Being brave is scary.  But I want to grow. I want to be more who I was meant to be. Isn’t that the goal?

Growth demands the temporary release of security.

Gail Sheehy

 

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A Letter To My Grown Up Kid

I blinked. It happened that fast. Everyone warned me I wouldn’t see it coming and they were right.  I couldn’t stop it. Those sweet, old, church ladies told me that you would grow up faster than I could possibly imagine. They told me one day I would blink and you would be a teenager. No expectant mommy to be thinks about the day their little baby will begin to transition into a young man. Of course there were days during your toddler years I longed for you to grow to the point you’d stop kicking and screaming in your car seat.  There were moments I just wanted to look at you say “Just grow up!” (I may have actually said that a few times out loud) Sure there were moments I wanted to stop singing songs from the Wiggles and have a real conversation with you as you sat in the front seat of the car.  But those days came way too fast for your mom.  I love you but I don’t like this.

Here’s the cold hard facts: You are growing up whether I like it or not.  Since we’re being honest, it is all very overwhelming to me. It feels like you’re passing me up.  I don’t mean just the fact that you’re taller than me. You’re passed the days I could help you with math (we realized that last night for sure), there are things that only you and dad can talk about now, and you don’t even need me to dress you.  I mean kid you’ve got style.  There’s something else about you that surpassed me.

You have a deeper walk with God than I did at age 12. You don’t meet many young men these days who are so deeply in love with God the way you are.  There aren’t too many kids out there who just “get” what it means to have a relationship with Jesus the way you do.  I love that about you.  It’s always been you.  Dad and I can’t take credit for it and you know that probably bothers him a lot too.CameronKiss

And your personality! How could I write you and not mention your personality? You constantly surprise me with your sarcastic humor and quick wit. You make me laugh the way your dad makes me laugh. I love that about him and I’m so grateful you’ve got that piece of him in you.  It is a gift from God!

You have so many incredible qualities that I admire. You are a true blessing to this family and to me.  You were the first to introduce me to this mommywonderland that has become my life. And because you were the first for me, there are many firsts you will experience that your brother won’t.  So because of that, I want to ask my grown up kid for some grace.  Can you be patient with your dear old mom?

I have never been a mom to a teenager before. This part of life is new to both of us.  I’m just as confused as you are about the changes you’re going through and will go through.  I’m going to mess up with you.  Probably a lot. There will be things we will walk through together that I have to learn from too. I won’t say the right things sometimes.  Other times I’ll probably say too much.  I know for a fact there will be a day you’ll say, “Mom you just don’t get it!”  And you might be right.  I promise you, I’m doing the best I can.  Growing is hard on all of us.  But, if we can stick together, we will grow together.  I know we will learn together and, with God’s help, we will graduate into the next phases of life better together.

You are an incredible kid.  I trust who you are.  I trust in the values we’ve tried to instill and you have embraced. I have every reason to believe the words you speak.  I know you well and I’m proud of who you are.

So now you are asking an honest question: “Okay mom, then why do you freak out so much on me?” The answer is simple. Fear. I fear you outgrowing me.  I fear you not wanting to share every part of your life with me.  I fear going from mommy to mom to mother overnight.  I fear losing my little boy.

“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you”

Psalm 56:3

You are and have always been God’s kid first.  Dad and I chose to entrust you to Him the day you were born.  So yes, I am scared.  I have lots of fears about you and your brother growing up.  But although it didn’t happen at 12 for me, I do trust in God.  I trust Him to watch you, protect you, and speak encouraging words full of wisdom, hope, and CAUTION to you when I’m not with you.  He’s the parent you’ll never out grow.  And He’s got your back.  And if He’s got your back, I can breathe a little easier and the fears I have about you as you grow will hopefully subside a bit.  This doesn’t mean no freak outs.  This means they will hopefully come less frequently over time.

You’re my first.  I’m your first and only.  So we’ll always have that no matter how old you get.  Now go do your homework.

Love,

Mommy…

Sorry.

Mom.

 

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My Child is a Beast

Would I be assuming a lot if I said,  “Most parents have a running list of things they hope their child won’t ever have to face and fight to overcome?”

Two years ago, we began noticing a few behaviors in our youngest boy that raised the warning flags in our home. His asthma was getting worse and his mood began to swing from sensitive boy to emotional meltdown in 0.0 seconds flat. His clothes no longer fit him and he was struggling to button any of his shorts. He was tired morning, noon, and night.  He had little to no desire to be active. Riding bikes and scooters was out of the question and the suggestion to participate in such activities would bring him to tears.

I started to feel heartbroken for my boy. I projected my past onto his future. My son was fighting the beast that I worked the past 25 years to overcome. Food had a hold on me for much too long. I battled an eating disorder for 20+ years.  I was insecure about my weight and it affected every part of me. Was my worst nightmare was coming true in my youngest baby. Would he spend his whole life struggling to be healthy and have a healthy self image?  Would he develop destructive habits to cope with life like I did? We decided it was time for us to fight for our lil mister because he was too young to realize he needed to be on the battlefield.

Trust me when I say WE WERE WILLING TO TRY IT ALL!!!! In the back of my mind, I could hear the nutritionist that I had at the ripe ol age of eight telling my mom, “No birthday cake at parties, no sugared drinks of any kind. We need her body fat percentage to be 9%, not 11%.” A bunch of “no-no’s” is all I had as a kid and it didn’t help me one bit.  But was this the road we were supposed to travel? Talk about fear gripping me by the throat. I felt stuck. I questioned my motives. Was this about him or me?

I have been a health coach for three years now.  I have helped hundreds, if not thousands of people take steps towards a healthy lifestyle. Why did I feel like helping my son was going to be the toughest battle I’ve faced?

BECAUSE IT IS. It’s personal. He’s my baby. After doctors visits (not much help there), we decided to stop messing around and call it what it was. ROUND 1. It was fight time.

We focused on health as a family.  This has never been about “looking good.”  It’s been about feeling good on the inside.  I don’t teach dieting.  To this day, I hate the word, “NO” which is how most diets feel.  So instead, we gave Conner a say in what he ate.  We showed him all the foods that were good choices and helped him understand all he could eat throughout the day.  He lit up when he realized he could still have cheese and crackers. And it wasn’t just about food.

We bought him a Fitbit to track his activities.  We turned it into a competition with mom and dad. He had friends at school helping him run laps at lunch so he could get more steps in during his day than we did. We got more consistent with our at “home workouts,” gym classes, and we recently turned our garage into a gym. It’s about options people!

It is a family affair. We eat clean together and we get sweaty together. We are not perfect, but hey, who’s is? I don’t fight for his image, I fight for his health. Childhood obesity is on the rise, and I REFUSE to allow my son to be another statistic. Our boy knows we are in his corner. He understands we love him the way he is and want him to live a long and healthy life.  He is freakishly strong (he’s proud of that by the way) and totally has me beat on tricep pushups. He is going to make a great football player one day.  And after this short time I am hopeful his future will be a lot less painful than my past.

It brought me great joy yesterday when he begged to go to the park and run with our pup Milo. He also tackled his brother a few times, but that’s another post for another day. He is up and awake early and the last to want to go to bed. These are the best kind of victories; NSV(Non Scale Victories). He hasn’t used his inhaler for almost a year now and the mood swings are less and less frequent. The other day at my in-laws our boys and their cousins put on a show for us.  Conner was upfront most of the time which is a shift from his normal quiet approach to family show time.  My mother-in-law noticed it saying, “Conner has just come to life!”  That’s what it’s about right?  Enjoying the life God’s gifted us.

Am I proud? HECK TO THE YES! My boy is a BEAST and I will continue to fight for my health so he will always continue to fight for his. That’s love!

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Perfectly Imperfect

 

 


Sometimes I think I learn a lot more from my kids than they learn from me?

Long gone are the days where I sit on a self-made pedestal and teach my kids all they need to know to be successful members of society. It’s funny how things shift when your kids grow a little older and start thinking for themselves. My youngest, Conner (age 9), is a sweet boy who loves to battle his brother in singing competitions. This mom wishes her silly children would realize they are equally the best singers in the world (good mom answer right?).

Conner belts out his song with such pride and then asks, “On a scale of 1-10 mom, was that a 10?” I have often repeated to myself the same question I ask when watching American Idol auditions. “Did no one ever tell them the truth?” I redirect him from this question EVERY SINGLE TIME he asks me with a question of my own; “Well, how do you think you did?”

Before I ramble on too much and take this post in down a famous mommywonderland rabbit trail, I’ll get to the point. My boy LOVES to sing. Singing brings him joy, gets him through homework with a smile, and turns shower time into a kick butt concert! Is his voice like choirs of angels singing? I can tell you with confidence it is not. But does that matter? NOPE.  Does he experience joy when he scrings (screaming mixed with singing…get it)? Absolutely!

And this was my lesson:

I started filming him mid homework jam session so one day he’d remember how he spent is post school homework hours but I got so much more out of it than planned. He turned around and caught me filming. What he did next struck me.  With his typical Con-man laugh, he said “It’s ok mom, you can post it if you want.” Embarrassment wasn’t on his radar.  It never crossed his mind what anyone else might think. GOSH, Conner Matthew, can you rub some of that off onto me?

To often this is my approach:

  • My selfies need filters
  • My pics with girlfriends need the right angle
  • My blog needs to be written with kick-a$$ titles and clever words
  • And God forbid anyone find out on Facebook I was having a bad hair day

ALL WRONG.

Friends, I hope we can all learn from Conner. Do what makes you happy, and in Tony Horton’s words. “DO YOUR BEST- FORGET THE REST.” (which has actually become a family motto). Just be you. You are good enough, pretty enough. Perfection does NOT exist guys and gals and even if it did, you wouldn’t have many friends (jealousy is a beast)(Ill save that for another blog entry)

The older I get, the less I care what other people think. Yes youngsters, it will happen to you too. But Conner already has this part figured out. If it makes you happy, do it. If it brings you joy, keep going. If it helps you get through the day’s homework than by all means, ROCK ON!

Today, and for my days to come, I want to live like Conner. I will choose to enjoy life.  Even the things I’m not very good at because they make me happy. Will you take the Conner challenge with me? I have a feeling we will care less what people think, and do more of what brings us true joy!

Thanks for the lesson lil mister.

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