Children, diet, Uncategorized

Giggles, Diets and My “New” Medication

There are teenagers running all over my house. They are loud. A teenage girl giggle is apparently one of the loudest sounds on the planet breaking all sound barriers. It’s also more contagious than COIVD19. Once one shriek is heard expect others to follow.

I was trying to sleep last night. I kept getting woken up. I believe at once point I literally shouted downstairs, “I can hear your entire conversation, be quiet!” 

Emily yelled back, “Wait, you can hear what we’re saying??

 “YES I CAN!” I may have screamed back.

Ok, so I couldn’t really hear exactly what they were saying but I figured if she thought I could she would quiet down simply out of, “I don’t want my mom to hear us” since it clearly wasn’t out of, “I don’t’ want to keep my mom awake.

I am happy she is happy and that my house is filled with teenage giggles. I’m glad she has great friends who have great parents who have great values. I’m glad she wants them all over here to hang out and take over my house. Too soon it will be quiet and those giggles will be filling dorm rooms instead of her bedroom.

I also have to admit I am super cranky.  Recently, a lot super cranky.  (Emily will attest to this.) In case you haven’t heard I am on a diet. You can call it whatever you want, “Getting healthy,” “Creating healthy habits,” “Getting fit” or whatever other sad-attempt-to-put-a- positive-spin-on-it you can think of, but just remember the word is actually just DIE with a “T” attached.  I have lost over 10 pounds and a total of 6 inches in 6 weeks.  Today, I put on a pair of jeans I haven’t worn in a year. (Ok it is 2020, has anyone really worn jeans this year?)

This also means I am not self-soothing myself with Entenmann’s donuts and Oreos. I have had to come face to face with the fact that chocolate really is my self-medication and makes me feel better when I eat it. In the past I have joked that Oreos are my crack, however this is no longer a joking matter. I actually had to make an appointment with my doctor because my anxiety is through the roof.

I calmly explained that while I have suffered from anxiety in the past, it has always been caused by a specific reason.  (I mean being stalked by your ex and keeping a stage 4 kid with cancer alive feels like it should come with a free anxiety pass.) But now I am safe and my daughter is happy (hence the giggles at 2am) so why am I finding myself snapping and panicky? It’s bizarre and I can’t figure it out in my head. Things that don’t make sense in my head then … cause me more anxiety.  (Like how that works?) I have been told I am an overthinker and only recently learned not every talks to themselves in their heads.  I can’t even imagine going through life as one of these bizarre non-self-talking mutant-humans. (You can learn more about this strange phenomena HERE.)

Then, of course,  I tell myself to, “Get it together!”  I lovingly question myself with, “What the heck is wrong with you!!!” And finally blame myself with, “If you had a better routine, worked out more, meditated, or were more organized” you wouldn’t have this “problem.” All of which just seems to increase my anxiety.

My doctor thinks it’s my diet.  Now, instead of stopping at Wawa on my way home to literally soothe myself with the delicious smoothness of a perfectly crack-high inducing donut, I am snapping and hyperventilating.

So, it seems my choice is fat and happy or skinny and cranky?  She suggests I drink a glass of wine at night.  Yup, that is my prescription. She’s been my doctor for years. She says anything she gives me will have way worse side effects than a glass of wine. And, since I don’t have an addictive personality (maybe I haven’t been 100% upfront about my donut issues) she feels it’s the “safest” way to go.  If I start drinking a bottle a night that’s a different story. (I think about sophomore year health class and learning how all smokers start smoking just “one” cigarette.,.. but decide not to bring that up.)  I was married to an alcoholic so I am definitely leery although somewhat excited (?) about my new “medication.”

I have decided it’s more fun getting fat. I like margarita’s, donuts and anything covered in cheese. It’s less fun getting fit. I don’t enjoy working out, drinking water like it’s …well water, and measuring my cheese so I can log it in an app.  “Why God? Why did you make it that way?????”  I am angry and resentful of this “the way the world works” knowledge.

It’s Saturday night and I’m typing this in my office (yes it’s 24 hours later and there’s still squeals of giggles coming from the other room … only now with “new” gigglers added” ). I just picked up pizza, salad and poppers for the gigglers. I was upfront with them. I’ll feed you dinner I just won’t cook it….what do you want? (Don’t worry, I have long ago given up on that pre-child fantasy about being the Pinterest mom who has an adorable Halloween themed Saturday night dinner planned for the giggler and her friends…that mom probably drinks way more than a glass….or at least that’s what my jealous judgment thinking rationalizes.)

I cut a tiny slice in half and savored every bite.  Pre-DIEt I would have had 2 slices. My sad half slice will have to do if I want to keep wearing these jeans.

Then, that horrible voice which must truly be from Satan himself starts up:

Do you really want to wear these jeans Tara? I mean COVID cases are going up and there’s a more than 50% chance you’ll be in full lock down again soon and wearing yoga pants and no one will see you anyway because zoom is from the waste up afterall…

Then I remember these last six weeks and how gooooood it felt today to put on these jeans… and I sulk away with my pathetic half slice and a mason JUG full of water.

I already drank my glass of wine too so no luck there.

I hear it has been said, “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”…apparently that person never had an Entenmann’s donut. 

Here’s to being the skinniest anxiety ridden person you know. Cheers.  

PS Literally as I am trying to post this the gigglers have just intruded and taken over my office and are planning a fashion show in the pile of dresses I have set out for donation/consignment. I am equally grateful they want to hang out with me and confused on how such small humans can make so much noise.

Children, Uncategorized

Safety First. The Quiet Death of a Generation.

I just watched a news segment on back to school in New York. A reporter asked a young child who was headed back on his first day, “What’s the most important thing you were told about going back to school?”

His answer?

“Be safe.”

My heart hurts. I expected, “Have fun!” or a least, “Make new friends!” I’d have even been happy with, “Learn a lot!”

But, “Be safe” ?!??

I want to cry. What are we doing?!??! What are we teaching our children? How will life be different for a child who grows up with safety as their first concern? Will a child who is always afraid ever be brave enough to take a risk? Step out of their comfort zone? Think outside the box? (Where, oh no! It might not be “safe.”)

We know that in order to be innovative, to step up as a leader, or even to just truly excel in life, we need to be willing to take risks.  We need to be willing to step out of our comfort zone and be uncomfortable.  To weigh safety against achievement. Are we unknowingly raising a generation of  people who will seek comfort and safety before success? Can we ever really go through life and thrive if we are constantly consumed with our physical safety?


What if those who ventured onto the Mayflower first stopped to ask, “Is this safe?”  Or what if the pioneers who migrated out west in search of gold first stopped to think, “Is this a safe choice?”  Did Neil Armstrong hesitate and say, “Wait guys…I’m not sure the moon looks all that safe.” I can’t imagine very many people would ever achieve or even do much, if safety was always the constant concern.  (I mean, most of us would never get into a car or step on a plane and certainly never dare enough to climb up Mount Everest.)  

Do you know what I’m scared of? An entire generation of people who will never experience the thrill of victory, who will never realize what they could accomplish or achieve if they would just be willing to take a risk. Because we conditioned them from childhood to …  be safe.


Now, I’m not minimizing the reality of COIVD19. I talk with my daughter about wearing her mask, washing her hands, and bringing sanitizer with her to the point she’s rolling her eyes at me on a regular basis. One of my best friends, who has probably been the most proactive throughout this whole Covid experience quarantining herself for over 21 weeks, was recently was diagnosed. (Which only affirmed to Emily that no matter what you do, you might still get Covid so you might just as well go live life with abandonment, which openly really wasn’t the message I was hoping she’d get).  So yes, with school starting, I’m definitely concerned for her safety. Our current argument is what will be an “acceptable mask” to wear to school. One that is socially acceptable (think Gap or Target) or one that mom deems medically acceptable. (Think N95, Cambridge or Vlog)

But, here’s the stark cold reality.  I’ve always been concerned for her safety.  From drop offs with her violent and abusive dad, which were ordered by the court against my frantic pleas, and continued until she was finally hurt and then given a life time restraining order, to nights sleeping next to her in her hospital bed listening to the beep beep of her vitals while cancer was trying it’s best to kill her (it lost and she won). I think about her going to college and college parties and my stomach does these funny flip flops. I think about her driving a car and drunk driver’s and then I’m the one ready to puke.  I mean the first time she went to sleep away camp I thought I was going to have a full blown nervous breakdown after the second night.  (Was she OK? Was she crying herself to sleep? Did she have sunburn? Did she tell them she wanted to go home and they just weren’t telling me? My baby needs me and someone help me break into camp and rescue her!!!!”)

Yet, I have to acknowledge that those are my fears and my job as her mom is to prepare her for life.  To encourage her to be responsible, make wise choices, and pursue life with a courageous heart in order to go boldly after her dreams. I hope that I will have given her a secure foundation of belief, confidence, and courage to live life in a way that when she’s old and gray herself, she will not be filled with regrets simply because she played it safe.

Yes, she will get hurt along the way. As much as I want to protect her from every pain, tear and heartache I can’t. I can only be there to hold her hand and remind her I’m always on “Team Emily,” God loves her even more than I do, and she is stronger than she thinks.

So, I will sanitize her up, put a mask on her face, and send her to school…and my message will be this …”Em just remember….have fun!