Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Because I Can

I love a good adventure. Ever been to the ocean? Have you hiked in the mountains or walked the streets of a real old western ghost town? Have you gone swimming with your children this summer, or explored something new? I have, last week. And I did it because I *can.*

I realized something tonight as I was soaking in my tub in the Pacific bath salts I brought home from the coast. I realized that before, I was always lagging behind my kids. I couldn't keep up with them. Of course, I already knew this on some level. I knew this because I was 278 pounds and unable to walk more than a handful of steps at a time, and I was unable to play with them. I knew that I was sitting and watching them do their thing. I was a spectator. And sometimes I was the one holding them back from fun stuff they wanted to do.

When we went camping, we didn't hike, because I couldn't.
When we stayed at hotels, we didn't swim, because I didn't want to.
When we went to the beach, we didn't stay long, because I didn't want them walking on the beach alone and I was incapable of walking with them.
When we saw interesting things along the road as we drove, we pointed and kept going because I didn't want to get out of the car.
When we went to the lake, the kids begged to rent a boat, but we didn't because I thought I might tip it over.

All the things my kids wanted to do, I was too tired or in too much pain to do with them. On the rare occasion that we did go swimming, it wasn't for long because I wanted to get out. I wasn't having fun. Any trip to the beach or attempt to "hike" a few blocks was cut short because I couldn't walk. "Come on, kids, time to go. Get in the car." They'd want to stay and have fun, but I couldn't.

I knew that losing weight would change things... has changed things. I knew that I can walk and go to the beach now and go swimming. I realized I can keep up with them now pretty well.

But something new dawned on me this evening, thinking over our vacation as I soaked in the tub. I realized that now, I am actually being *held back* by my kids... that I would actually do a lot more and be more active if they could keep up or if they wanted to. THAT is a revelation that shocked me.

Now, don't get me wrong. I wouldn't trade my kids for anything! I adore every moment with them, and wouldn't trade it for 'alone time' to be more active. But isn't it interesting... instead of holding other people back, now I have to hold myself back to accommodate others?

When we went to the zoo, the teens were kind of bored and the little one got tired after maybe 2 hours of walking and looking. We left, but it wasn't because *I* was at my limit. In fact I would have stayed another hour or two, walking around enjoying the exhibits.

When we were at the beach, I wanted to spend all day out there, walking on the sand, going up and down the dunes, finding shells, sitting and resting a bit and continuing on for hours. But my daughter had her fill after a few hours, and my teens didn't seem to think it was as exciting as I did, although they did spend several hours checking tide pools and playing and enjoying the ocean. Yet I'd have kept on going had they not wanted to turn back. And every day I was calling, "come on, guys! Let's go back out for a hike!" and they'd look at me like I grew an extra head. Who is this crazy woman who wants to be on the go all the time? Can't we just sit and watch a movie?

When we hiked in the forest, it was a bit muddy and steep. I loved hiking up the 1.8 mile trail, but was a little chagrined to find that the shuttle bus we usually take back down the mountain had been cancelled. We began walking down the road to get back to our car, which was a 2.5 mile walk... much further than my knees can usually handle. But I felt good and was willing to try it. However, for my kids' sakes, about halfway down we hitched a ride with a park ranger. But yeah, it was fun!

When we went to the lake, I was pressing my kids to rent a boat. When they finally agreed, we went to the rental place and it was closed! I was so excited to rent a rowboat and get in some upper body exercise. I was willing, but the rental guy never showed.

Every time I saw a historical marker or a little stop along the way, I wanted to stop and walk and see it. We did... frequently... but the kids were less than thrilled so we didn't stop and walk as often as I'd have liked. We went to some cool sites and a few ghost towns and walked all over the place. At one point I parked and started walking and my son said, "Mom! Where are you going??" and when I told him where, he exclaimed that it was too far away and couldn't we just drive? We did walk, but I would've walked more had they been more willing.

It makes me smile to know that not only am I *able* to keep up with my kids and even do MORE activity than they care to do, but that I actually *want* it. As I said, I adore my kids, but I used to be scared that when they grew up and had their own lives, I'd have nothing. Everything I did was for them. And without them, what would my life be? No one to take care of. No one to cook for. No one to entertain me with their sports and recitals and concerts. But today I realized that I HAVE A LIFE now, my OWN, individual life with desires and goals and feelings all my own. I can see myself being active when I am older because I want to be. I will swim and hike and boat and ride horses. I will explore and enjoy WITH my kids, and I will also do those things alone. I have a whole new world opened to me now, and I am thrilled to be in it.

And now for a few pictures of our adventures.

One waterfall we hiked to (among many I *wanted* to hike to!)

We did lots of beach walking and I LOVED it!

Walked in the forests as well...

Enjoyed a 'ghost town' which actually has a small population of about 20 people. Used to be a booming city.

I wanted to hike a trail here, but it was too hot for the kiddos.

I did get to walk here, though. I *loved* the peace & tranquility.

I love old barns :)
Oh, and about my eating? Some days were insanely perfect... others, not so much! I plan to share the details! I surprised myself with some perfect protein-and-veggie meals and skipping usual goodies like s'mores at the campfire, but my lunch on the way home today was so devoid of nutrition is is almost appalling! But I feel great about * most* of my choices and think I'll have a decent weigh-in on Sunday. I have not been near a scale or computer since I left home nine days ago. I have *lots* to share!


Twix said...

Looks and sounds like you'll had lots and lots of FUN! I'm so happy you were able to get out and enjoy everything. :D

Alf Tupper said...

Apart from the fun it should make you realise the huge progress you have made. A simple story but full of inspiration!

screwdestiny said...

Great pictures! That's simply wonderful that you're now able to do all the stuff with your kids that you couldn't just a few years ago.

Sarah@LowStressWeightLoss said...

I totally agree in jumping in & enjoying life because WE CAN.

Funny, my most recent post is in a similar vein (on the beach too!)


Floriana said...

I can't wait to have a vacation like that. My weight is still holding me back but I am determined to get to the place where you are now. Thanks for this inspiring story.

Shane G. said...

Way to go! I love the stories about getting out and LIVING. I have to admit I never got to the point I just couldn't do much (the amusement rides excluded) but one thing I have noticed is I can actually walk without effort now and my aleve consumption has gone waaaaay down. I bet you also have noticed how it seems like gliding when you walk now rather than effort. I am so happy to have read this post!

Jaime said...

Your pics make me all the more excited for our family holiday in a couple of weeks. Thanks for all the great tips. I am so glad you had a great time with the kids. I too look forward to all the "new" things I can do.

Lanie Painie said...

Congratulations! This is awesome!

freaking awesome body said...

How wonderful for you! I am looking forward to the day that I can do any amount of physical activity that those I'm with can do. I don't have kids, but I still find that I am the one in the group who doesn't want to/can't do certain things.


Laura said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Laura said...

I love that you're living your life now, and no longer a bystander! That is the greatest thing to hear!

The pictures look great! Sounds like you really had a great trip! I really love Central and Eastern Oregon and all the ghost towns we have around. My hubby is from Baker City, so we get around that area several times a year. (You should check out Sumpter!) It's so peaceful, and sometimes, it seems that the land goes on forever. Other than the beach, there is nothing more relaxing to me than seeing old historic sites and being able to see the stars at night.

Leslie said...

I'm glad you're back! The pictures are great, and so happy to hear that you enjoyed and participated in all of it. That's fantastic!

spunkysuzi said...

That is a huge NSV!! There is absolutely no stopping you now :) I'm so proud of you.

Andra said...

Can you share details about where you actually went? Those pictures are fab.

Lyn said...


We drove the northern Oregon coast and through northern Oregon. You can google "Shaniko" which is the ghost town and see it on the map :)

Isabel said...

I love your pictures c: I'm sure you had tons of fun.

Jenn said...

How funny that I just recently came to the same realization about my life apart from my children. I've always said that my daughter's birth had given me a purpose in life and that it's the best job. These things are still true, but now I no longer define myself as ONLY as a mother. Yes, I am a mother, but I am also Jenn.

Jennifer said...

Welcome back. Great pics! You took them? they look professional. Please share what kind of camera you have!


Mrs. Thighs said...

Love the photos! Glad you had such a wonderful time and were able to keep up -- and then some! -- with your kids. They may have complained about having to do so much walking, but these are memories that they'll look back and treasure.

Lyn said...


yes, I took them! Thanks. I *love* my camera. It's a Canon SD1200 (point and shoot).