I have no idea what I want to say. What I do know is that I have been bogged down all day with a weight on my mind but unable to pinpoint it. Tonight while taking an Epsom salt and lavender bath, I felt an overwhelming sense of sadness. I felt the gravity of this world. I felt sadness for my kids growing up in this time of life. I feel like my kids are facing an uphill battle and I am not able to protect them from it, let alone help them prepare for it because it is affecting my generation as well.
My parents’ generation saw an increasing divorce rate. Moms started returning to work. Jump in the saving grace of Hamburger Helper and Hungry Man frozen dinners. Drive thrus increased in popularity as our parents faced an increasing pace of life and the stretching of time so thin there was no longer time to fix a full home-cooked dinner for the family; introducing my generation to the start of highly processed food and fast food alternatives. Now, as my generation is fully submerged in technology’s mach-speed pace of life, taking time to prepare healthy food for us and our kids is for the minority. However, if we do not wake up to this disparity, this “minority” will be all that is left.
As a nurse I see countless of individuals in their 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s with auto-immune disease, “strange” cancers such as brain cancers – glioblastomas for one, kidney failure, heart disease, pancreatitis, diabetes, and the like. THIS IS NOT NORMAL!!! My children’s generation is the first one predicted to die before their parents. THIS IS NOT OK!! Eating clean and taking time to meal prep is my new standard. Do my kids joke about mom eating kale all the time (I don’t ever eat kale, although kale chips are pretty tasty)? Do they joke about plant-based protein and measuring my portions? Absolutely! But are they learning by my example? I sure hope so.
Don’t get me wrong, they are still kids – ok, teenagers. They eat fast food and go get “coffee” with their friends. But the amount of processed foods they are eating has greatly decreased. Will it make a difference? Who knows?? But I sure hope so.
Aside from diet, the increase in social media and technology via personal electronic devices and increase in video gaming has prompted a sedentary lifestyle. My kids see me working out at least 5 day/week. They see me getting stronger, having more energy, being more active, losing weight and helping others do the same. Will it change their lives? Who knows?? But I sure hope so!
I watched my sister bury her 5-week old baby girl due to several congenital issues. I’ve watched friends bury their children due to cancers, auto-immune diseases, congenital diseases, and sudden illness. I hope I never have to bury my child.
Time is a thief. After working with a patient of mine who is 19-weeks pregnant and seeing the baby on ultrasound, I look back on my kids’ lives and wonder where the time has gone. My oldest son leaves in 4 months for boot camp for the Army National Guard – a decision I am so proud of him for making. My youngest starts driver’s education in the fall. You don’t get any of those days back. Once their teens and are being social in their own little lives, hanging out with friends, getting jobs, and doing what teens do as they start preparing to leave the “nest”, they aren’t as interested in hanging out with mom anymore. So I watch from a distance…and repeatedly ponder, “Where has the time gone?” How much have I missed because I had to work full-time to support them? How much have I missed because on top of working full-time, I also had to go to school full-time in order to have a career that would support us and our future?
I strive to enjoy my time with them now and not ruminate on what I have missed. I did not have a choice. Our future depended on those sacrifices. However, each night I struggle falling asleep because deep inside me there is a pocket of dread for what my kids might face tomorrow. And all I can do is pray they will be okay. Pray that the seeds that were planted when they were small have taken root and will guide them as they grow. Pray that they continue to be open and learn; and learn from their experiences and mistakes. I pray they have a good, happy, and uncomplicated life. I pray they take their faces out of their phones and enjoy the company of those around them. I pray they make a difference; that they affect change in their circle and in society. I pray they recognize my sacrifices and what I have instilled through example, and that they know without a shadow of a doubt how much I love them, believe in them, and how much they are capable of.
I pray we have a long time together still; uncomplicated, in health, and in happiness. For time is a thief.