Grat Friday - Getting Fit editionAnother week, another opportunity to think about the blessings I’m grateful for. Happily, I had plenty of little joys this week, but instead of naming those, I decided to focus on a couple of the less obvious, more challenging sources of gratitude.

 I’m grateful to have been able to hug my firstborn for the first time in seven weeks. It was great to have him home from college for the weekend, as well as welcome his friends into our home. He expressed how grateful he is to be going to college, how appreciative he is of the experiences that led him there and how comfy it was to sleep in his own bed and use his shower. Nothing like going away to appreciate what you’ve taken for granted for so long!

 It’s been a positive change to have finally committed to working out on a regular basis. I started on August 1st and I have kept a brief log of my exercise, which ranges between five and seven times a week. I started because I felt enormously fat, perpetually exhausted and unhealthily out of shape. I woke up one day in late July and told myself I had to end my slothdom. Truthfully, I was petrified that I would keel over the first time I actually did something active, so I decided to start slow on the treadmill—really slow. Miraculously and thankfully I didn’t keel over that first day. That gave me the confidence to try it the next day and the day after that, and I’ve since increased the speed and length of my treadmill walks. I don’t run, and I’m not embarrassed to say so. It’s just not for me. Nor am I destined to do a marathon, and that’s fine. I’ll admit that some days I just hate my time on the treadmill and I push myself to go for 25-30 minutes, but there are other days when I never want to get off. Just depends how my body feels each day. I figure it’s all okay, because doing anything is exponentially better than doing the grand total of nothing I was doing before. A month ago, I added a few stations on the weight machine to my treadmill walks, and I fell in love with the way lifting makes me feel. It’s light weights—I’m not looking to pump major iron—but the cool thing is that when I really don’t feel like using the treadmill, I still feel motivated to hit the weight machine. Have I lost weight? No idea, maybe a couple of pounds. I have no interest in getting on a scale. But I can tell that I’m slightly less marshmallow-y than I was back in July. My chronic sinus headaches have nearly disappeared. I sleep better at night. I have more energy all day long. And best of all, I’ve gotten a little mental boost from knowing that I’m no longer completely sedentary. It’s a good feeling of accomplishment each day that I work out, and I’m grateful to whatever finally kicked in and got me to move my butt. Getting started was definitely the hardest part.

 This one’s going to sound bizarre, but I’m actually sorta grateful to be having the opportunity to turn lemons into lemonade. We are embroiled in a horrific dispute with our school district over their failure to provide accommodations to which they committed for our son. It’s a whole long story that I’ll spare you (I’ve been encouraged to write my next book about being an unwavering educational advocate…who knows?!), but the upshot is that it has provided an invaluable learning opportunity for my high school freshman and has been an important catalyst for his strong self-advocacy. He has learned and demonstrated skills that will serve him well for life, having the courage to voice his concerns respectfully yet passionately both in writing and in meetings with school personnel (without us present!). As for me, I’ve learned more than I ever wanted to know about educational access; federal civil rights laws; legal documentation; due process; bureaucracy; captioning services; hiring policies for paraprofessionals; the prevalence of profound stupidity, ignorance and incompetence in people whose salary I contribute to—and I’ve gotten to sharpen my legal writing skills along the way. Has it been a barrel of monkeys? Um, not by a long shot. But I’m trying and managing to find the silver lining, as frustrating as it may be. And it’s giving my kid the experience of standing up for himself and not taking crap from people just because they’re adults. Something I wish I’d learned as a 15 year old!


4 Responses to “Gratitude Friday 2013: Week 42”

  1. michelle says:

    Oh my gosh.. a lesson I wished I learned at 15 too! ahhhhhhh I’m always inspired by your tenacity and even more so when it is vital to learning experiences of our (your!) young people…
    Thank you for being tireless!

    • Andrea says:

      Thank you for being my cheerleader, Michelle! I honestly wavered about not having everything be all sunshine and lollipops this week, but honesty won out over discretion I guess. I always appreciate your kind, supportive words—even more so during a cranky week! Have a wonderful weekend, my friend. 🙂

  2. Kathryn says:

    Hi Andrea,

    Just a short note to say that I’m so happy Ben is happy here at Georgetown. He is such an asset!

    And as far as working out goes, congratulations and a suggestion from someone who has been working out for over 30 years–I try to “attach” some pleasure to the workout. I save tv, light-weight magazines and the style section of the paper for treadmill and elliptical workouts and listen to meditations or music when I walk/job outdoors. Also, I do strength training with a small group class that meets twice a week–a great social outlet. These tweaks have made a huge difference in my ability to stick with it over time.

    Best to you and your family,

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