The First Guy Who Broke My Daughter’s Heart Was Santa Claus.

It all started with the Tooth Fairy, which is where I think this sequelae often begins.  Savanna lost a tooth last week and expected a magical visit.  Yours truly forgot.  It was Friday night, and I fell asleep after pizza and Homeland.  Also, I was over the Tooth Fairy thing.

Hear me out.  My daughter is 10 years old and had written a list of requests:  money, a stuffed animal, and a necklace.  Maybe something else, I can’t be sure.

Over the past 10 years,  I’ve done it all-the money, tooth fairy letters, even pictures and gifts.  My glitter is fading.  It’s time to retire my wand, so I forgot.  Probably selectively.

The next day, she walked into my closet a little disappointed and let me know that SHE KNOWS the deal.

Her:  It’s you, I know it is.  There is no such thing as the Tooth Fairy.  It was you!  

Me:  Maybe you should say thank you then!  

*Her expression was a mixture of triumph and slight disappointment.  No tears.  Had she been deeply disappointed, I would’ve kept the magic alive.*

That was the end of our conversation, at least for several hours.  We had a basketball game, a big victory, and a party in between…..but her wheels began turning at dinner and spiraled into heartbreak by bedtime.

Dinner Conversation:

Her:  The Easter Bunny isn’t real, either.  There’s no giant bunny who hops around the world on Easter.  That’s so stupid.

Me:  You are right.

Her:  But Santa Claus, he’s real, right?

PREGNANT PAUSE.

Mike:  Of course Santa Claus is real!

Me:  Yes!  Santa is real.  Who wants dessert?

Fast forward an hour.

BEDTIME CONVERSATION

Her:  MOMMY.  Is there anything else I need to know?  Just tell me.  Is Santa real?  Or is it you?

Me:  ………..real!

Her:  MOMMY.  TELL ME if you are lying to me.  Just TELL ME.

Me:  Savanna.  Yes, it’s me.  I am Santa.  I love you.

Friends, my daughter fell apart.  The kid was devastated.  She cried and told me how disappointed and angry she felt that we had “lied” to her all these years.  I worked hard to create magic for her, and she believed all of it.

I’d like to tell you I made the right decision by answering her question that night, but I’m not sure.  Looking back, I think she was actually asking me for reassurance-not the truth.  She wanted me to reassure her that Santa WAS real.

Nowadays, Christmas traditions are SO much more than Santa.  We have the Elf for 30 days, the Santa Tracker, Santa videos tailored for our children, Santa Claus phone calls, and even photo shopped Santa photos.  It’s easy to for children to fully believe with such proof.  When we create lots of magic, there’s lots to lose.

Of course, I explained to her that Santa Claus is a symbol of joy, anticipation, love, and generosity, and that we use Santa to teach children to believe in things not seen.  I told her that we have to believe in the things we can not see with our eyes-love, faith, hope, God, and even talent at times.  I talked about all the things I had always planned on saying.  Is that what she wanted to hear?  Nope.  She wanted Santa and the whole sleigh.

It felt like a death had occurred at our house that night.  I held her hand while she fell asleep in tears.  Then, I walked downstairs feeling like an asshole because maybe the magical Christmas I created over the past 10 years was just a setup for disappointment.

 

 

You may think, “How is she 10 and still believing in Santa?”  She fully believed because she trusted me and believed everything we told her.  Let’s just say I worked hard to protect this whole thing with personalized videos, phone calls, and letters.  The works.  It was too much.  Had I realized that her Santa Claus beliefs would ultimately end in grave disappointment, I would have toned it down.  Alot.  The less magical stuff we create, the less there is to lose later.

 

Sometimes, parenting is really hard.  I never saw this one coming at all.  I went to bed questioning myself about everything related to parenting and the holidays.  Mothering is a perpetual exercise in letting go so that our children can grow.  We let go a little with a full day of Kindergarten.  We let go a little with the first sleepover.  There are hundreds of little “letting go” events that we have to endure for the best of our children, and I find that hard at times.  Now, we let go of an old belief that brought big joy.

That’s all from this South Florida mom blogger today, folks.  Last night when I tucked Savanna in,  I shut her bedroom door and heard her yell, “Good night, Santa!”  And I knew she was OK.  We’re all OK, but I could use a break from Christmas until next year.  Ciao for now!  Love, Santa.

 

 

Dear Flag Burners.

Dear Flag Burners,
 
Meet my late grandfather, J Givens Young. He decided to enlist with the US Army to fight for our country as one of Patton’s foot soldiers. His best friend, Miles Hunter, was a fighter pilot who introduced him to his younger sister-my late grandmother, Florence. They both fought for our country, and Miles was killed in action. My grandfather married Florence and went back to Germany to storm and free Auschwitz. When the war ended, he came home to a safe room and therapy puppies South Carolina and worked his ass off building an empire in the pecan industry.  He was not perfect, but he was a hard working badass who fought for your right to voice your opinion.
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My paternal grandfather, Richard A Gilbert, Sr, was a Dartmouth scholar who was slated to swim in the 1940 Olympics when they were cancelled due to WWII. He later went to fight in the Korean War. When he came home, my grandfather went on to become a top executive with McDonnell Douglas and Mead Paper Corporation. He was a hard working scholar athlete who made great sacrifices to protect your freedom of speech.  
 
My brother in law has dedicated his career to protecting our country. My sister and her family continue to make sacrifices every day to protect your constitutional freedoms.  
 
I am repulsed and disgusted by the sight of you, flag burners.  You disgrace the many men and women who have given their lives to protect your freedom.  You are a coddled generation with your safe rooms, puppies, and delayed exams.  You are abusing your right to free speech with your disgraceful, destructive behaviors.  You may or may not like the election results, but we live in a democracy.  Thanks to veterans like my grandfathers, you have the right to voice your opinion and peacefully protest.  You do not have the right to break the law or start a civil war in our country.
Try getting a job, or maybe enlisting in the military.  
Oh, and grow the fuck up.

Yours Truly,

The Granddaughter of Two US Veterans
Sister in Law of a Cool Warrior
US Patriot, Regardless of Election Outcome
#DearFlagBurners
#ThankYouVeterans
PS:  The only time the United States flag is lowered close to the ground is when it covers a casket.
the-us-flag
 

Do You Know Your Vitamin D3 Levels?

What are your Vitamin D3 levels, my friend?  Do you know?  Do you get regular blood work done to measure important biomarkers?  If not, why not?  You can have blood work done in any consumer based lab these days.  No doctor’s prescription needed.  Blood work is the easiest, most accessible ways to measure important markers in the interest of staying well.

We refer to Vitamin D as the “sunshine vitamin” because our body is able to “download” Vitamin D3 from the sun.  Of course, this gets challenging during the winter season due to less sun exposure.  People with darker skin synthesize less Vitamin D3 from the sun and are prone to lower levels.  We make less of Vitamin D3 as we get older, so age is also a factor.

Vitamin D3 functions more like a hormone than a vitamin.  It is a precursor to serotonin, the all important mood/sleep/safety neurotransmitter.  Low Vitamin D3 can lead to low serotonin, hence Seasonal Depression.  None of this is new-I wrote about this topic years ago-but it is really important, and I’m surprised most people do not monitor their Vitamin D3 levels.  The results from a study conducted in 2007 suggested that optimal levels of Vitamin D3 and calcium are correlated with a 77% decreased risk for cancer.  “Optimal” was defined as 40ng/mL or above in this study, but later research has suggested even higher levels are optimal.  I keep my levels between 80 and 90 ng/mL.  Continue reading “Do You Know Your Vitamin D3 Levels?” »

Exercise, Movement, and Learning

Here is one of my most favorite studies of all time.  The Naperville study demonstrates the powerful connection between movement and learning.  I originally wrote this article on the Naperville study on January 2, 2010, and I am republishing this content because it is so important.  Enjoy!

Exercise and the Brain

If you’re involved at your child’s school, you may want to print this one out and take it to your next parent meeting to support the inclusion of effective Physical Education in schools.  School administrators need to read the astounding body of research surrounding the connection between exercise and learning…..and remove the coke machines, but that’s another article. Continue reading “Exercise, Movement, and Learning” »

That One Dreaded Question.

Caveat emptor:  This is going to be a heavy post.  I’ve written it a thousand times in my head, but I went offline for awhile.  This is my story about moving on from heartbreak, so it is not my usual content.  We all experience loss in life, and this is a post about heartbreaking losses I have experienced over the past four years and how I’ve dealt with them.

There are two four-lettered words that I loathe:  “only” and “just.”  Let me explain.

I am often asked, “Is Savanna your only one?”   Oh, how I hate this question.  Sometimes, I get the shortened version with a quizzical look, Just one?”  I have answered this question a thousand times, and I always offer one of several canned responses.

“Yes, I guess we got it right the first time.”  That much is true.  We most certainly got it right the first time, but in more ways than anyone could ever imagine.  “Yes, just one.  She keeps me busy enough!”  Also true.

Mike gets the same question in different form.  “Man, when are you guys going to try to have another one?”  His responses are often more blunt. “Nah dude, we’re done.  Trying isn’t the problem.

If people knew what a loaded question this was, they would never ask me in the first place.  I answer anyway because these are normal questions to ask (in my book).  I also appreciate the genuinely caring people I meet everyday who care enough to ask about my family.

However.  I have gotten tired of answering the same question over and over and over again.  It leaves me feeling slighted.  These canned answers dishonor what Mike and I have been through over the past 4 years.  It feels like I am deleting my past with these words, and that no longer feels right.  It’s time to modify my answer in a way that honors our family expansion efforts.

Here is the truth, and those of you who have followed this blog already know the first half of the story.  When Savanna was 4 years old, we got pregnant and had a very public miscarriage at 13 weeks.  It was horrible, I had surgery, and we worked our way through that loss.  Six months later, we decided to get back on the wagon.  I got pregnant again and the exact same thing happened. The heartbeat was there, and then it wasn’t.  End of story.  It was just as horrible the second time around, especially since it meant the first miscarriage was not the “fluke” my doctor said it was.

But we recovered.  Lots of healing took place over the years, and both of those losses became a part of who we are together.

Last year, we made a huge decision.  Mike and I decided to go to a specialist who could help us correct the problems that most likely caused both miscarriages.  Let’s just say this:  it took real balls on my part to even consider getting pregnant a fourth time.  I had no interest in repeating the nightmares of the past, but I felt that I needed to try again.  Take one for the Gipper. Third time’s the charm!  I had an excellent specialist, and we had no doubt that it was going to work this time.  We forged ahead with positivity and cautious optimism, and we were expecting our 2nd child in December 2015.  Exactly three months from now.

Only that didn’t happen.  Again.  This time, I was closely monitored twice a week and had fair warning about 3 weeks before my 3rd miscarriage happened.  Let’s just say that fair warning during pregnancy is not a good thing.  It is much like being tied to a train track while watching a train approach.

During that 3 weeks, I put on a good face and carried on with my life because I had no other choice.  I went to spin class.  I went to Mother’s Day parties at school.  I attended my daughter’s dance recital and pretended everything was normal that day, despite the fact that I might miscarry at any moment.  I sat on the end of the back row on the very end

And then, the train hit.

I had a miscarriage in my bathroom on May 10th, 2015 on Mother’s Day.  MOTHER’S DAY.  I literally held a teeny, tiny baby in the palm of my hand around 3pm on Mother’s Day.  In my own bathroom.

I have heard the occasional person say, “but it’s not a baby yet, it’s an embryo.”  Let me dispel that myth for anyone who actually believes this misnomer.  IT IS ALREADY A BABY.  I know this because I held my tiny baby in the palm of my hand.  It had tiny arm and leg buds, and I saw the teeny, tiny heart that we had watched beat on the ultrasound screen several times.

As you might imagine, this was a fairly traumatic loss for both of us.  I would compare it with an emotional earthquake, with the aftershocks hitting at unexpected times.  Recurrent miscarriages seem to accumulate some real emotional wreckage.  I spent the entire summer dealing with the aftershocks, drinking a little more wine than usual (for me, that means a glass almost every night as opposed to 1-2 glasses during the weekends only), and coming to terms with the fact that we are not going to have another child.

Lots of healing has happened, and we are moving forward.

We can’t choose what happens to us, but we can certainly choose our reactions.  I was very, very sad for a few weeks.  Few things are as disempowering as losing an expected child.  Two weeks after this loss, there was a moment when I felt a stillness of my thoughts.  It felt like a pause wherein I could choose to sadness or happiness.  I could take a left turn and continue to feel sad and angry, or I choose a right turn and take the joy that is available in my life.  Either way, the choice was mine.

It dawned on me that the greatest loss would be getting stuck on this loss like a broken record….and missing out on the joy that is in my life right now.

I chose the right turn.  It was a very conscious choice.  Here is what I have decided:  sometimes, you have to decide to choose joy.  It is a very conscious decision to focus on what you DO have, and to choose to be happy about that.  I refuse to be a victim to these circumstances, or to any others for that matter.  I am so grateful for my beautiful, healthy, sweet daughter.  We were lucky to have her.  In fact, I am now convinced that the only fluke in my life was Savanna.

But she is not the only one.  She’s just the only one I have at home.  I have three in my heart, and I have one at home.

And maybe the next time someone asks me the dreaded question, “Is she your only?” I will give a different response.  A response without those four letter words.  One that honors our family expansion efforts and the lives that never made it here.

“I have three in my heart and one at home.”  

I’m grateful for my husband, Savanna, our health, our family, and our friends.  There is so much joy to be found in each moment, but we have to choose mindfulness and presence in order to experience that joy.  I hope that in sharing this, I can do my part to help dispel the myth that we should not talk about miscarriage.  I also hope that if you have been through anything similiar, you feel a little less alone after reading this.  You, my friend, are not alone.

That’s all from South Florida for today, folks.  Three in my heart and one at home……and that is enough._DSC0086-1

 

Sausage and Eggs All Week Long | Paleo Mornings Bites

One of the toughest meals of the day for us is breakfast.  Every weekday morning is like rush hour, as I’m sure it is for you.  Mike generally runs in the door from CrossFit, showers, and runs back out to work within a 15 minute time frame.  If there’s nothing ready to grab for breakfast, he grabs….well, nothing really.  This isn’t a great way to recover after training, nor is it the optimal way to start your day.

Here is a fast, easy way to have a Paleo style breakfast……sausage and eggs!  These were a fast favorite at our house, and I try to make at least a dozen of these puppies once a week.  Pop them in the toaster oven before your shower and they’ll be ready by the time either of us runs out of the door!  These will also help you get into a state of ketosis, which I happen to think is an optimal state of functioning.

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Continue reading “Sausage and Eggs All Week Long | Paleo Mornings Bites” »

The Health Benefits of Stevia and Xylitol

Do you use stevia or xylitol?  I hope so because both of these sweeteners have some pretty neat health benefits.  Besides, they make life a little sweeter.

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Stevia is all over the place these days, so you won’t have any trouble finding it.  It tastes great and even has some major health benefits.  Stevia can help control blood sugar AND insulin levels.  This is exciting news since both are closely connected to health and longevity.  In fact, controlling your blood sugar and insulin levels after meals is a powerful way to reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease, cancer, and a few other age related disease processes.  In a recent study on subjects diagnosed with diabetes Type II, stevioside reduced after-meal blood glucose levels by 18%.  That’s powerful stuff.  To think that you can decrease your chances for any of these disease processes while possibly improving your health and longevity by using stevia is pretty sweet.
photo-62 Continue reading “The Health Benefits of Stevia and Xylitol” »

The 7 Steps to Preventing Cold and Flu | Halloween Happenings

It’s cold and flu “season.”  You know what that means, right?  Kids go back to school, the holiday season begins,and people start stuffing themselves with candy corns.  Kids generally obliterate their immune systems by eating an entire bag of candy in one night, and next week will be the busiest week of the year in most pediatricians’ offices.  Happy Halloween!

Whether or not you choose to get the flu shot (don’t get me started), there are a few things you can do whenever you feel like you might be coming down with the cold or flu to stay healthy.  I have been following this plan for a year now and have managed to stay healthy.  No colds, no flu, no nothing.  Whenever I begin to feel a hint of the “kiddie crud,” I follow this plan to avoid getting sick.

I found this information in an excellent article written by Dr. Bill Falloon, head of Life Extension Foundation, in his article on how to avoid the influenza.  You can find further explanation and the related references in his article.  He hasn’t been sick in over 25 years, so I’m doing what he’s doing.  colds and flu 2 Continue reading “The 7 Steps to Preventing Cold and Flu | Halloween Happenings” »

EmWave™ | The Best Health Technology on the Face of the Planet

Do you ever wish that you could enter “the flow” or the “athlete zone?”  You probably already know this, but the flow is that magical place where you lose time and activity becomes effortless.  What would it be like to live in that zone?  If you could train yourself to get into the flow and stay there all day long, what would your life look like?  What would you be able to do that you never thought possible?

You CAN do that.  There is a cutting edge piece of technology available to you today that can help you train yourself to enter the zone.  Are you familiar with the EmWave™?  If not, you will be in a few minutes.  Read on, my friend.

Continue reading “EmWave™ | The Best Health Technology on the Face of the Planet” »

How is Your Thyroid Doing?

I have written about thyroid health numerous times here in the past, including articles about the importance of getting a comprehensive thyroid test and the numerous problems your thyroid can mimic.  I have even written about the fact that broccoli can slow down your thyroid gland when eaten in larger quantities.  This time, however, it’s personal.

This summer, I got really tired.  Not the type of tired you might feel after, say, an all nighter or a monster workout.  I’m talking about the kind of tired that two Venti Starbucks a day can’t fix……bone ass, drag-yourself-through-the-day kind of tired.  At first, I thought maybe the summer heat was leaving me feeling drained and lethargic.  Then, I began to wonder if something was really wrong with me.  I kept thinking I was fighting something and always hit a wall around 3pm in the afternoon.  I had trouble doing CrossFit and decided to take a break for awhile.  It gets tough to do an intense WOD when you don’t even have the energy to get through the normal daily routines.

Continue reading “How is Your Thyroid Doing?” »