“Mom, will you go running with me?” is the question my daughter asked me.
This week marks 5 years and one month since I first had lap band surgery. My 11 year old daughter just started middle school and chose cross-country as her fall sport. Unlike me, she has legs like a gazelle and is built for running. She came home excited and invigorated from her first practice. This weekend my daughter gave me what felt like the mother of all NSV’s, she didn’t think twice about asking if I’d start running with her; she sees me as a fit mom, someone who prioritizes exercise, who takes care of her health, someone she wouldn’t be embarrassed to run with. Who? Me? Run with you?
OMG! Her simple request shocked me back to reality like a bucket of ice water pouring over my head. My daughter gave me an amazing, much needed gift: “Mom, will you go running with me?” The last year of my banded living journey has been hard. I’m struggling to get my weight firmly back in my target range; there are lots of reasons for the struggle, some hormonal (to borrow a phrase from a member of our bandedliving community who periodically writes a column about food and recipes – I now have the metabolism of a “lobotomized tree slug”), some in my head, some in my choices about how hard I work my tool. My daughter yanked me back to reality. If I hadn’t chosen to have lap band surgery 61 months ago, I think the chances of my daughter asking me to run with her would have been about zero. It’s highly unlikely that I’d be struggling with 10 or 15 pounds; it would be more like 100 or 150, or even more. I need to remember that this journey is not a straight line; it probably never will be for me. It’s a journey to grow from, savor, struggle with, and learn from. It’s about my health and my quality of life, so much more than it is about the number on the scale.
Alexis asked if I would run with her while were sitting in my car getting gas, on a beautiful Saturday morning on the way home from buying her new running shoes. I took her to be fitted in a local store in our town center. We have a great store; the people working there are pros; they are runners. Shopping for good running shoes proved to be one of those “mommy moments,” one that I will relish forever. My daughter truly appreciated the expertise, the passion, the time they spent with her to find the right pair of shoes, and the camaraderie of the sport. I loved observing her take in the experience through all her senses. I also couldn’t help thinking about how I fit in the store, amongst the athletes, that a few months ago I had bought shoes and a cardio monitor there for myself, that I wasn’t embarrassed by my size, that I was treated with respect.
Will I run with my daughter? I’ve never been a runner, but I will try. I told my daughter I‘d give it a shot. I have great cardio endurance, but I’m not sure my joints can handle it. She knows that we are built differently; I am more flexible; it drives her nuts that at 50 I can still do a split and her long limbs aren’t as flexible as mine, and probably never will be. Her response, “…if you can’t run, will you bike with me while I run?” What a great idea, yes, my precious daughter, I’ll be out there with you; if running hurts, I will bike the trails with you while you run cross-country.
61 months (but who’s counting) after lap band surgery, at the age of 50, I have a strong, fit, healthy body; I can participate in life with my daughter. We share a lifestyle that includes a passion for fitness. That’s a measure of my long-term lap band success that can’t be measured on a scale. Once again, I’m reminded why we call it Banded LIVING.
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