A Letter To My Mom On Her 60th Birthday

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I was just thinking about a moment I shared with my mom in my kitchen a few months before she died. My birthday was coming up and she realized it was going to be my 30th. Her jaw dropped and her eyes welled up. “I can’t believe my baby is going to be 30!” she exclaimed with a hint of sadness. I laughed at her and said, “Oh, Mom!” I remember carrying on with whatever I was doing and she just sort of stood there in shock. I didn’t stop to consider what she was thinking about. But, now I do. All the time. I assume she was thinking about me as a baby. How strange it must have been for her little girl to be nearly 30. Well, that’s sort of how I’m feeling today, on her 60th birthday. How strange it is that my adorably little mom is turning 60. Except, she’s not.

Isn’t it strange how the idea of celebrating birthdays after someone dies is tough? I mean, just because that person has passed doesn’t mean their birth isn’t something to celebrate. The problem is, you can’t celebrate together. So instead of a happy day, it is yet another reminder that they are gone. I’d like to think that if she were here, I’d tell her how much she means to me and I’d spoil her all day in celebration. I think about the lines on her face as she’d laugh, the widening of her eyes when she opens her present, and the warmth of her body as she’d hug me. All day. And while I know I think about all of that stuff for ME and how I’d feel, it is also really nice to think about making her happy. I have so much guilt and regret when it comes to our relationship so I’d rather just think about the perfect birthday for her.

So, that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to write her a letter, for her 60th birthday, as if she were here to actually read it. And although the tears are streaming down my cheeks as I type, I’m going to imagine those laugh lines, huge eyes, and sweet hugs.

Mommy,

Happy birthday! I can’t believe today is your 60th! How crazy is that? I know you are probably freaking out about that number. But I just want to remind you of a few things. First, I don’t care how old you get. You’ll always be the most beautiful woman I’ve ever known. It cracks me up when I see you looking at your wrinkles in the mirror because when I look at you, I see the same woman I saw when I was a little girl. I love that your eyes give away how you’re feeling, even when you try incredibly hard to filter yourself. I love that you still wear purple lip liner, even though I make fun of you for it. I love that your hair is always incredibly soft. I love that sometimes, when I look in the mirror, I see you looking back at me.

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I’m sure you’re also thinking about the last 60 years of your life. I know that you have many struggles behind you and it still pains you to think about most of them. You’ve felt like a failure more times than you’ve been proud of yourself. If I could gift you anything, it would be to change that. I know we had some really hard times together and I know you feel a lot of shame for that. I wish you could know how little I care about those struggles anymore. As an adult, I’ve truly forgiven you for those tough times and I don’t see you as a failure. I see you as a survivor. You really are the strongest person I’ve ever known and I hope that that strength will live in me for my entire life. Our relationship has really had some ups and downs and I know that a lot of the situations we were in were attributed to the tough past you had. I’ve never met anyone who had such a hard life and went through the things you did. Again, you feel shame for going through those times but I see them as badges of courage. I wish you could be as proud of yourself as I am of you.

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Lastly, I think you are probably thinking about what your life SHOULD look like at 60. I know you sometimes feel ashamed for living with me. You want to be independent and free. Even though you don’t say it, I know you daydream about what life would be like if dad were alive and if things had been different. If the two of you were different. If you could have been happy together at this point of your lives. I want you to know that although I also daydream about that life, because every kid wants their parents to be happy together, I’m so grateful that life has brought us together in MY adult life. I am so lucky that you live here and that I get to run downstairs and see you whenever I want. That my mommy is always here for me. To laugh with, to hug me when I’m sad, and to just talk to. You’ve always said that all you want is for me to see you as my best friend and I want you to know that I do. If something ever happened to you, if I lost you, I’d lose the person I tell absolutely everything to. I don’t know what I would do without you. I’d probably fall apart.

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So, those are the things I want you to think about today as you go over the last 60 years. I want you to remember that you are beautiful, incredibly strong, and so very loved. I know life didn’t turn out the way you thought it would, but here’s the thing. You always say that your biggest accomplishment, the thing you are the most proud of, is your children. And James and I could not possibly love you any more. So, let’s spend the day together, watching Lifetime movies and eating all the treats. I want you to feel so special because I know how incredibly grateful I am that I get to see those laugh lines and GIANT eyes and that I get to hug you as much as I want.

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Happy birthday, Mommy. I love you deeper than the ocean and higher than the sky.

Love,

Sissy Missy

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My Results From The Ultimate Reset

I woke up Monday morning feeling a little scared. I had just completed the 21 day Ultimate Reset the night before. For the previous 3 weeks, everything (supplements, meals, water intake) was scheduled. This morning, I was free! I remember sitting up in bed and thinking about my results. I was about to go weigh and measure myself and I was nervous. But mostly, I was just so proud of myself for actually finishing the damn thing. I’ve posted before about the apathy I feel on a daily basis since losing my mom. I used to be such a driven, consistent, passionate, go-getter. That version of me seemed to get lost in grief and every day is a constant battle to fight this feeling of apathy. I have to remind myself that I DO care about things and force myself to take action. To not allow myself to drown in my overwhelming despair. To remember that life is still going on around me. To give a damn. To start and finish something. I’d lost sight of a lot of things over the past year and I became this shell of a person. I’d done well to start to move on but my appearance had plummeted. I gained weight, my face broke out, and my eyes were sunken in. I just felt insecure and completely beside myself. I knew that I needed to regain my confidence by doing something drastic and challenging myself to beat my apathy by finishing something.

I’m sure you hear me talk a lot about my “21 Days to Fit” boot camps on social media. In those groups, I join my challengers in 3 weeks of fitness. I provide them with a 30-minute at-home workout, healthy recipes and tips, and a 30 day supply of Shakeology. Over those 21 days, my challengers develop better habits with eating, cooking, moving, sleeping, drinking water, self-confidence, and so much more. It isn’t an easy 21 days. But, I also help my challengers understand that this isn’t a diet. It is a lifestyle. So there are days when they skip their workout, make poor eating choices, and slack on their water intake. That’s life. But, the goal is to show them to get right back up and start again. While I wholeheartedly believe in this system, it does allow for “life” to happen.

The Ultimate Reset is completely different. It comes with an exact meal plan, recipes, and even a guide on WHEN to take supplements and when to eat. There is no working out, with the exception of brisk walking. You don’t starve. The food is plentiful and pretty delicious. But, it is probably different than you’d expect. After the first week, you will be eating a completely vegan diet. You will drink 100+ oz of water each day and nothing else. No coffee, tea, juice, alcohol, or milk. JUST water. Because the meals are so laid out for you, there is no eating out. You cannot have a cheat meal. You can’t eat at a birthday party. You can’t go out for coffee or drinks. You just eat what the guide tells you. This was the type of challenge I needed.

So, what does The Reset look like? Breakfast consists mostly of fruit. The first week, you’ll have some eggs, Greek yogurt, and oats. After that, you eat a fruit plate (or drink Shakeology) EVERY day. Tons of berries. Melon. Peaches. Kiwi. Apples. Lunch is always a HUGE salad. We are taking ridiculously large. Like, 3 cups of greens PLUS toppings like bells, cucs, carrots, and jicama. You’ll learn to make your own dressing. Sometimes, you’ll have miso soup with your salad. But that damn salad will take you 30+ minutes to eat. Dinner varies. The first week, you get salmon and rice and beans. No meat after week 2 and no beans and grains during week 3. You basically eat veggies. Spinach, kale, zucchini, swiss chard, sweet potatoes, veggie stir fry, lentil salad, roasted beets or fennel, and lots of other choices. You’ll usually pair it with miso soup. There are a few occasions when you’ll make a bisque. We love those and it was fun learning to make them.

So, there is a TON of food. There were only a few occasions, at night, when I was hungry. But, for the most part, I always felt full. The best part was, I never felt TOO full. After surviving through a massive headache on day one and blurry vision throughout the first couple days, I noticed an immediate change. I was incredibly alert and energized. I felt focused and generally upbeat. The best part was that I would fall right to sleep as soon as my head hit the pillow and I’d sleep great all night. This was a change for me because since losing my mom, I suffer from major insomnia and nightmares. This was a wonderful change.

Another great part about The Reset is the online community. Beachbody has groups set up for each phase, or week, of the cleanse. Lots of people start each day so you sort of go through the program with the same group of strangers. You share how you’re feeling, tips on how to cook the meals, and excitement at progress. The cool part was the reassurance you’d get. Like, I posted on day one that I had an awful headache and 9 others responded with the same complaint. I started having really vivid and bizarre dreams and someone else posted that they did, too. Plus, it was really cool to see people comment on their progress as they moved on to the next phase.

That part was sort of a double-edged sword. I usually avoid weighing myself because I don’t want to obsess over the number. But with the cleanse, people are posting EVERY day about how much weight they are losing. Most people see the most results during week 1. I only lost 2 pounds after 7 days and I was completely defeated. I didn’t understand why other people were posting bigger numbers. I couldn’t help but compare myself to others. (Don’t worry. I had more success in the following two phases.)

I wouldn’t say that The Reset was hard. I’d say it was… time consuming? Kind of annoying? I like the freedom of eating out when I want. I missed weekend coffee with my husband. I became quite sick of cooking for 30+ minutes EVERY night and sometimes during lunch. Chopping veggies became monotonous. Drinking 100+ ounces of water was boring. BUT, I didn’t ever feel like I was starved or deprived. I felt great.

The best part about finishing The Reset was knowing that I went all in. I can honestly say that I followed that plan carefully and I never once cheated! People posted often about cheating and I am so proud of myself for following through. I will say that the final week was hectic because we were moving and didn’t have a refrigerator. The Reset has something called “In a Crunch” meals, meaning that you can sub them for the planned meal. I admit that we had sweet potatoes and miso soup like 4 days in a row for dinner because we were too tired to cook after all the moving! And I did drink Shakeology for breakfast more than a few times when I started to tire of fruit. But that is all sanctioned. 3 weeks without eating out, ordering pizza, drinking coffee, or snacking. And the fact that I cared enough to actually stick with something is HUGE. I feel like I’ve learned so much about the way I eat and I’m excited to carry that forward.

First of all, I learned that veggies and grains are not just sides. They can be a complete meal! I learned how to use new spices, fresh herbs, and new ingredients in every day food. I trained myself to drink more water and to go to sleep without electronics. I am more aware when I eat about what I’m putting into my body. The mindset has now shifted from “What do I want to eat?” to “What does my body need?” and I think that is pretty cool. But most of all, I beat apathy, at least for a few weeks and I’ll take that victory!

So, what were my results? After 3 weeks of this crazy cleanse, I’m happy to announce that I lost 9 ½ pounds and 4 inches! How crazy is THAT! And it isn’t like I’ve been drinking cayenne pepper and lemon juice. I did this eating REAL food so it isn’t like I just dropped water weight. It has been 4 days since The Reset ended and I haven’t gained any weight back. I did eat pizza a couple days ago and did NOT enjoy it. I hated the way I felt after. I’m not saying I’ll never eat it again but for now, I am still excited to eat well and we’re still cooking from the guidebook! I feel healthy and my clothes fit so much better. I still have weight to lose but I’m excited for the start this gave me! I feel like finishing this has given me the push to commit to a fitness program. This is just the beginning!

Mostly I’m just proud of myself for committing to something and seeing it through. I know grief is something that will always be with me and living through it will be a constant battle. But I feel like this is such a huge step for me. I feel better about myself. My confidence is growing and I’m ready to keep committing. I want to find my passion again and get back to being me.

Note: I’ve already had so many people approach me about trying The Reset. I wanted to blog as I went but life got too crazy. I’ll definitely go back and blog in more detail about the different phases, supplements, and hurdles. I’ll also post lots of the recipes. Contact me if you’d like more info or if you’re ready to join a general accountability group!