The Problem With Holidays

Why does our society encourage gluttony during the holidays instead of health?

As I am slowly diving into the world of Twitter, I have learned many things. While I  will wait to elaborate on all the lessons Twitter is throwing out there, the thing I have been focused on lately is the enormous amount of “holidays”. We just had National Dog Day, which was after National Siblings Day and today is one of my favorites so far: National Grilled Cheese Day. Yes, even two pieces of bread glued together with cheese has it’s own special holiday. I am amazed. While I am sure all of these made up holidays may actually boost a love between siblings and our pets or an increase in sales of grilled cheese sandwiches, is it really necessary? In fact, are most holidays all that necessary or good for us?

Take Easter for example. It is coming up on Sunday. Easter is one of the most confusing holidays in my book. Each year it is on a Sunday, but that day can be anywhere from March 22 to April 23. It is quite interesting the way it is determined: the first Sunday after the first full moon occurring on or after the March equinox. It is quite interesting to me because this means the day Jesus was resurrected changes EVERY year. Talk about confusing when you try to explain that to your kids.

Now, I understand the importance of Easter. I am not very religious but I do consider myself a Christian. It is probably the most symbolic day of the year for the Christian religions. So why let it be ruined but colored eggs, plastic grass and oversized plush animals hiding candy? It seems to make a mockery of this incredible day. In early times, new litters of rabbits were generally born in the time near Easter symbolizing new life, but is this really what the Christian church wants to hold on to?

Ask any kid on the playground at school about what their favorite part of Easter is. While many of them will know the reason behind Easter, their favorite part will not be attending church. It is not going to be learning about the sacrifices Jesus made for humanity and the incredible miracle that took place as he rose from his tomb. No. It is about the big egg hunt. The colored eggs. The candy. Easter has become a day where binging in chocolate and treats is more than acceptable; it is encouraged. Gluttony (one of the cardinal sins) is actually encouraged.

One of the hardest things I deal with while facing these holidays is how bad for our health these holidays are becoming. We eat very healthy. We limit our sugar intake, avoid junk food, teach our kids that things like squash, zucchini, spinach and broccoli are amazing to eat. However, the task of raising our children to avoid bad food is incredibly difficult when every store pushes it on us or people are continuously trying to hand candy to your kids. I even have people tell me that my children deserve a treat, another piece of chocolate, more candy.

In a country riddled with diseases such as diabetes, obesity, heart disease, high cholesterol, cancer, and addiction, shouldn’t we focus on healthier alternatives and a healthier lifestyle than a sugar-induced high? Shouldn’t we protect our children from a life of illness and teach them that when you are constantly indulging in treats, you are actually hurting yourself? Something as simple as a single Hershey kiss has 2.5 grams of sugar in it. Considering an ADULT woman’s recommended daily sugar intake should be no more than 25 grams of sugar, that small indulgence is a lot more than small. Ten pieces is the same as an entire day’s worth of sugar! And that is for an adult, not a child.

I’m not going to tell you that this Easter there will be no chocolate in our house. At this point, it is inevitable. Anywhere we go, candy is pushed at us but what I will tell you is that my children will learn about the true meaning of Easter, and when they awaken to the baskets the “Easter Bunny” left for them, they will have things such as new biking gloves and paints instead of chocolate and chick-shaped marshmallows. The best part about it is that they will be thrilled because treats don’t have to be edible.

One final word: please think before you offer someone else’s children candy. While the gesture is nice and thoughtful, it puts parents in a difficult position to turn it down in front of their children. It make the parent the bad guy for not allowing that sucker. Yes, it is a small treat, but think about how quickly one small treat escalates when everyone is doing it or when you look at the amount of sugar in that small treat. If you do feel compelled to give kids “treats”: things like stickers, pencils, erasers, and tiny trinkets are just as loved by kids and they serve a purpose in the home. Those things have more meaning to children than candy and it doesn’t affect their health. We are doing our best to raise our children to be healthy and we hope that you can support our decisions. While you may think they “deserve” that piece of chocolate, we feel that our kids shouldn’t be getting chocolate everyday or even every week. I am not asking for you to agree with that decision, but please respect us enough to allow us to make those decisions. Thank you.

 

Before the world goes dark

When the things you take for granted are taken away from you.

Imagine if you will. It is 7am. You are drifting in and out of consciousness, contemplating waking up when your four year old daughter lands on the bed. “Good moaning mom!” she exclaims, still not yet able to get that good “r” sound. She loves the mornings when she is one of the first ones up. She curls up next to you and starts coaxing you out from under the covers. “Mom! It’s moaning! The sun is shining! The birds are singing. The flowas are going to bloom today! You have to get out of bed!” Her giggles are contagious and uplifting, better that the coffee you can smell brewing in the kitchen. She snuggles her face up to yours, gently nudging like a puppy would do. You open your eyes. You can’t see her. And right at that moment, your heart drops and a tightness rises in your chest. You can’t see her.

You can’t see her expresso eyes glittering as the sun coming into the window hits them. You can’t see those chubby cheeks that you kiss at least fifty times a day. You know she is there, but she is hidden. You have been blinded in one eye with the very real possibility of being blinded all together. Today, you are able to roll over so the one good eye can see that beautiful miracle you made. But before you are able to think about how lucky you are that she is yours, you first have to push aside the fear that one day, that face may forever be hidden from you.

This is my story. Over the last few months, I have lost the eyesight in my right eye. My eyes constantly hurt with pain ranging from throbbing to stabbing pain. It is accompanied with other issues such as muscle weakness, fatigue, and body pain, but the loss of vision is the main issue that have the doctors struggling to find answers. I have been through more tests than I can count, yet we don’t have an answer for why I have lost half my sight or how much further it will go. As of the current moment, the doctors know I have some sort of autoimmune disease that is causing my body to attack itself, but autoimmune diseases are interesting in the fact that some are nearly impossible to diagnose or even figure out what can cure or at least slow it down.

Millions of people in this world suffer from autoimmune diseases. Some being very well known life Multiple Sclerosis, Celiac Disease, Type 1 diabetes. However, many are still random, unknown and not understood. It not only makes a person going through the process feel lost, but also a bit like they are losing their mind. There are days I can go all day without any issues (other than the whole blindness thing), and there are days where I feel like I am trying to workout while battling the flu. Days where naps are mandatory and even then, there is no energy flowing through my body. It’s perplexing, haunting, frustrating, and heart wrenching to say the least.

I have had to quit my job as a result of my loss of vision as well as the other physical tolls that this disease is having on me. I miss working. I miss the people, the job and the mission I was a part of. It is hard dealing with a constant sense of defeat, but I am not the type of person who settles and admits defeat. Luckily for me, I have a wonderful husband who has been there for me throughout this and is supporting me like no other. We decided to buy an RV. We took the kids out of school. We are traveling. We are seeing the world before the world goes dark. We are learning how to adapt.

My son is kind of like my seeing-eye kid. He walks on my right side everywhere we go and tells me what is on that side so I don’t bump into anything. He keeps me focused on the positive. My husband is devoted to finding a natural way for my body to heal itself. We are working on breathing, meditation, yoga. He reminds me not to stress myself out. He is understanding and encouraging. And then there is my daughter. Well, she is a bit too young to understand the concept of being sick. That’s what I like most. She pushes me to get out of bed. To open my eyes. To giggle and cuddle as much as possible. To go outside and see the “flowas” bloom.

The spring is here, it is a beautiful day. Let’s go out and see it.