Most of you know that the past few years have been challenging for me. The whole process of trying to make sense of my mom’s illness—one that eventually took her life—and then maneuvering through the emotional aftermath as we all try to manage our lives without her has been exhausting. I’ve felt as though someone laid a dozen Pendleton wool blankets on my back and I’ve been hunched over tying to support the weight of them all this time.
The day after Christmas, I had a good old-fashioned “feel sorry for me because I don’t have a mom” day. Thankfully I was with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law who hugged me, shed a few tears with me, and let me mope. December 26th marked a year since the last time my mom spoke to me – although I should clarify that my mom had been writing to communicate for over a year at that point but to me it was speaking. Our conversations that day centered on adjusting her pillow, making her a smoothie, and eventually her saying good night to me. The finality of that good night hit me full force a year later.
Anyone who knew my mom knows that she was never one to say ‘why me?’ and mope about things she couldn’t control. Even in the bleakest moments of her illness she’d say things like, “I’m listening to 15 minutes of the Laugh USA station every day because they say that humor can heal the body.” She was always upbeat. Always moving forward.
After winter break was over and the kids were back in school, I was alone in my kitchen, drinking coffee, and trying to motivate myself to work. In that quiet moment, I heard my mom talk to me as if she was right there and she said, “Enough. Get off the pity party, Care, and let’s get going!”
I had to smile to myself because those were phrases she had regularly said to me and my siblings growing up and she always accompanied them with a clap, clap, clap.
Once those words sunk in, I said to myself, “She’s right. Enough. Let’s move forward.” And somehow I felt the weight lift and I mustered up the strength to move ahead.
And that’s what I desire from 2015: STRENGTH.
- The strength to set boundaries and guard my time.
- The strength to focus on accomplishing two projects dear to me: my book and building my photography business.
- The strength to eat food that nourishes me.
- The strength to make good decisions regarding my finances.
- The strength to recognize when to grab onto new opportunities and when to let other opportunities go.
- The strength to parent my children.
- The strength to exercise my body even when it’s cold and rainy outside.
- The strength to get to bed at a decent hour so my body can have a full night’s sleep.
Yes, there are still mornings when all I want to do is wrap my neck in a pink scarf, drink coffee, sit on the couch, and ponder, but then I hear my mom clapping and saying, “Let’s get going, Care!” and that gives me the strength to get up and get to work.
Maybe her sing-song words and clapping will be motivating to you too.
|Kale, Apple, and Walnut Salad with a Lemon Vinaigrette|| || |
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Pinch of salt
- 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2-3 handfuls of baby kale or a mix of kale and other winter greens
- ½ a Granny Smith green apple, cut into bite-sized pieces
- A small handful of ricotta or goat cheese crumbles
- A small handful of roasted and chopped walnuts or hazelnuts*
- In a small bowl, mix together your garlic, lemon juice, and salt. Set aside for 10 minutes to allow the flavors to mingle. Whisking continuously, slowly drizzle 3 tablespoons of your olive oil into the lemon and garlic mix. Taste. Add the final tablespoon of olive oil if you desire.
- Put your kale on a large plate. Top with your apple, cheese and nuts. Drizzle a spoonful or two of the lemon vinaigrette over your salad. Enjoy.
- *Roast nuts on a cookie sheet in a 350°F oven for 10 minutes stirring once halfway through.