Believing, Knowing, and Feeling

Like many parents, I’ve believed my daughter would be heading to college since before she was born.  She accepted an admissions offer months ago, so you could say that since then we’ve known not only THAT she would be going, but WHERE.  But it became real on a different level one night in August.watermarked-14494879_10210688146509269_3666155225609929744_n

We had just gotten back from vacation, and while we were away at the beach her year-round swim club had held the final practice of what had been her final season with the team.  I was having a routine evening when all of a sudden she volunteered:

“I texted Coach to ask if I could practice with the team when I’m home on breaks.  He said they would love to have me there.”

And that’s when I felt it.  A deep sense of quiet.

I’m happy for her and a little envious of the adventure she’s heading into.  I loved college, and I hope she does, too.  But that’s when it became real.

She’s only going one state north, maybe 2 hours or so away, and since she’ll be swimming for the school I’ll have easy excuses to drive up to visit once in a while.  So we’ll see her.  But…

In one of the books I used to read her when she was tiny–I can’t remember which one, but if it rings a bell, please help me out with a comment–one of the very young characters “got kind of quiet” for a few minutes when a situation became unexpectedly real.

I’m there.

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Filed under Activities & Sports, College, School, Transitions, Uncategorized

Sticking Around

Healthy Options

Healthy Options

Last August 19.  That’s when everything changed.

At the time, I was working out fairly regularly, but my routine was primarily moderate weight training (machines and dumbbells), with some floor exercises and a weekly volleyball league thrown in.  I was also eating pretty much anything and any amount I wanted.  I knew I had put on some pounds, but I would have said that overall I was in pretty good shape–maybe near the cut between the top and middle third of people my age.

Then my employer offered a discount on health insurance premiums to all staff who participated in a free health screening, with completely confidential results, and I signed up to save a few bucks.

For context, I should mention that on my way back to the office after my screening that afternoon I planned to stop for a particularly unhealthy but amazingly sybaritic fast food lunch that, even in my most self-indulgent days, I only allowed myself a few times a year.

I never had that meal.

As part of the screening, I was quizzed, weighed, measured, and finger-pricked.  And then I was counseled.  A representative of the health insurance company reviewed my results with me, and that conversation was a turning point.  My cholesterol number had come back higher than I expected.  Not head-straight-to-the-hospital high, but worry-about-family-history high?  Yup.

Cholesterol may have been the only word that would have gotten my attention so effectively.  Many of the people higher up in my family tree died younger than they should have, often from strokes.

I did a little research on lowering cholesterol, compared the information to what my counselor had offered, and downloaded a free app to help me manage my calories.  Fruit became a BIG part of my daily intake.  (I actually edited that last sentence:  I avoid the word diet, preferring the term lifestyle change.)  After talking to my family doctor, I added a little cardio to the gym routine.  Nothing all that impressive, but a little.  And 10 months and a reasonable amount of weight-loss later, I can honestly say I’m in the best shape of my adult life.  Room to keep going?  Sure.  But that total cholesterol number is now out of the “borderline” range.  (That having been said, my LDL/HDL balance needs work.  But at least now I’ve read enough to have a general idea what that means.)

Cardio

Cardio

I’m no expert on health, and I’m not going to pretend that I don’t have a strong, selfish drive to stay alive, but a piece of this extended commitment has been the idea that I owe it to my kids to do my best to still be around while they need me–and I’d like to spend time with my grandkids someday.

I try to avoid offering too much advice, but I would go so far as to suggest that if you have any questions about your cholesterol, get it checked.  And if you need to drop the cholesterol, consider full-time calorie counting on your phone to support slow but steady progress.

Be well.  Here’s to many more August 19ths.

 

Note:  DadKnowsBetter has not received any consideration whatsoever for saying so, but the app I have been using is My Fitness Pal, powered by Under Armour.  There may be other good options, but this one has been a helpful tool to me, so it seems right to say so.

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Filed under Activities & Sports, Health, Living Well, Uncategorized

Brackish Water

IMG_20150710_140848109Our oldest, 20 years old, is off living the college life she has dreamed about since she was a little girl.  I couldn’t be happier for, or prouder of, our young lady:  She is excelling in the classroom and representing her school on the volleyball court.  But there is one major drawback:  She is doing it all a 6+ hour drive from home.

Her sister, 17, is a high school senior.  College acceptance letters are arriving and she is swapping calls and texts with the schools’ coaches as she tries to find the right match where she will be happy on campus, in the classroom, and in the pool.  Family life is a little simpler now that she can drive herself to school and to practice.  But that means we don’t see her quite as much, and I worry about her getting from place to place safely.  Again:  pride, happiness…and a little melancholy.

Now the boy, who is 12, still counts on us to get him from place to place, to attend his events, to help with his homework.  He will be as tall as I am in the next couple of years, but clothing size aside, he is still very much a kid.  Right now, seeing how fast it has all gone by with his sisters, I am well aware that I need to savor the soccer matches, the school concerts, and the swim meets, because if I blink he will be off to college himself.

We haven’t done it all perfectly, but I believe we have done it well.  Each of them is happy; the girls have succeeded in creating options for themselves, and the boy is on a good path.  Like most kids, each has hit routine bumps along the way; but in many ways each has had the best year of his/her life over the last 12 months or so.

So if it’s ALL going well, why write about it?  Well, truth be told, while the kids seem to be on track, their parents are struggling a little with the transition in everyone’s roles within the family.  It seems all too soon that we are seeing the girls leading their own lives in important ways and our role changing from supervising to advising.  And the boy is right behind them.

Again, all too soon, the three of them will be living under other roofs, always needing us, but never in the same way as when they were little.  Right now, we are somewhere in between.  And learning to swim in this brackish water is a combination of gratifying, sad, nostalgic, and a little scary.

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Filed under Appreciation, College, Education, School, Transitions