Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Realizations from the Other Side

Jan. 1982

Family Candid from 2012

 This is my family. My father was a tall, dark haired man turned white. At 6'3", most people noticed him when he walked into a room. My brother, a blondish/reddish ruddy complexioned man. My mother is Irish, from her firey red hair to her powerful personality. And there's me - the blond girl in the middle.
Me and My Brother - probably in the 1980s
That's how I grew up.

For me, it wasn't at all unusual for family not to look like each other. In fact, it's one of the most beautiful parts about the way I was raised. I was no one's 'mini me'. I was just allowed to be 'me' - whatever that looked like. I wasn't expected to be a nurse, like many women in my mother's line. I love that my parents didn't waste time and effort looking for themselves in us. They just let us be 'us'. They were the bumpers that helped keep us out of trouble, taught us right from wrong, and helped us learn and grow.

As My Sailor and I are getting ready to welcome our first little one into the world, in a fashion I never expected to use to start our family, I find myself realizing that this is the first time in my life I'll spend my life with someone who might physical resemble me in some way. I mean, she may take after My Sailor more than me for all we know, but there are already signs that my genes have far from been omitted.

Becoming a parent makes us think about all the things our parents got right, and those things we'd do differently. My Sailor and I grew up very differently, so we've had some great discussions, but there is one thing we both completely agree on.

Neither of us need a 'mini me'. One of us in the world is enough.

If she never picks up a barbell, that's okay!
If she decides she hates theater, that's okay!
If she decides she hates sports, that's fine!

Instead, we look forward to getting to know her as she discovers herself and the world around her and finds all those things that make her uniquely her. That doesn't mean there won't be guidance, but we both believe in exploration.

'Family' doesn't necessarily mean a carbon copy of ourselves, but more partners along for this great adventure called 'Life' that we're all on together. 'Legacy' doesn't mean following exactly in each other's footsteps. Maybe it's about blazing our own path while carrying the ones we love with us...

I'm also looking forward to seeing her at my age - and seeing what kind of 'family' she chooses to have in her life as well. I've been incredibly blessed by mine. From my 'Strongman Sisters' to my childhood friends, from those I see every week, to those who see me a few times a decade, these men and women have all contributed into making me up nearly as much as the family that raised me.  I don't know where I'd be had these folks not crossed my path. 
A few of the gang from Strongman 2014.

We are only the first people to cross hers....

Monday, August 3, 2015

The Roadmap on my Skin

Late June 2015, 6 months pregnant
I've been lucky enough to have some great conversations with people at the gym lately. Like I've said before, I love my job, and with Strongman coming up quickly, I'm excited to see how my participating clients fare.

Nearly each person I meet considerately asks when I'm due (in about 3 weeks, for those curious) and how I'm feeling. My answer is usually something to the effect of, "Tired, excited, anxious, ready to be done being pregnant." And if they ask about my "birth plan", it's pretty simple. "Whatever gets everyone out of the hospital healthy." Sometimes I can imagine going all caveman and managing it all with minimal assistance, and other times I consider what it would feel like to be wheeled into an operating room for surgical help - and everything in between. I'm open to options. But the pre-admission paperwork is done and the hospital is ready for me and The Bean, so it looks like I won't need a cave after all.

One of the topics that almost always comes up is that I don't 'look that pregnant'. I'm not exactly sure what that means, since I remember my waistline looking more like this - well muscled and showing just the vaguest signs of firm definition underneath.
 But it's all this talk has made me come to a realization that I didn't expect -
I don't 'need' my old body back.  
In fact, I don't even think I 'want' it.

Here's what my 2 cents -
  We start off this world pretty prestine, for the most part. We may have birth marks or freckles, or spots, but those are the things that make us unique and distinguishable from everyone else in the world.  Me? I scar - badly - from everything.  My scars continue to outgrow the wounds that made them, regardless of treatments available on the market. I mean, seriously - I scratched the back of my hand 6 months ago a little too hard with my own fingernail - and the scar is already bigger than the scratch was.

  So, while I haven't gained any new stretch marks from carrying our daughter, I am sure this will leave its own mark on my skin. See, I've already been 255lbs in my lifetime, and I'm still well under that, so the stretch marks I gained from that experience have pretty much scarred over. I expected them to regain their color, but they haven't. See that 1/4 of an inch of extra skin at the bottom of my belly? I'm sure that will still be there - if not a little larger, when all this is over. Of course, if I end up getting surgical help, I'll no doubt have more scars to show for it.

  And I'll still wear a bikini when I want to. I figured out that, for me, getting my body 'back' isn't important. Now, that's not to say I'm not looking forward to getting into the best shape I can be in as a Mom - but I have no desire to 'reclaim' anything. Maybe that's because I don't see it as 'losing' anything... Becoming a parent, I didn't 'lose' anything. I gained a family member.  I know how to dial in my diet and I naturally keep active. The effects of that will be whatever body I end up with. I've met my goal of keeping my body fat added to a minimum, and I've been lucky enough to remain active (though I'm noticeably slowing down these days - spending more time in the pool and less time running and rowing). And I'm lucky enough to have married well - My Sailor finds something attractive even in my currently rounded state. (I just find it amusing that the clothes I wore YESTERDAY suddenly don't cover the belly THIS MORNING!)

  I do appreciate the reassurances that my body will bounce back quickly, but all in all -  I'm not too concerned about it. It will be what it is. Just as its always been.

Where the brain goes, the body follows.

We're just adding a few more lines to the map.