Monday, July 25, 2011

The Successful "After" Weekend (176.8)

Saturday was a packed day, but good.  

I spent 2 hours Saturday morning getting our bedroom cleaned up.  New duvet and clean sheets on the bed.  I cleaned the year-old stacks of books and various other things from our nightstands.  The clean bedroom was a gift to myself for getting through the last 3+ years of Mark's studying. And it was a gift to Mark too--a clean slate, with no more books or highlighters to crowd his sleeping area.

Then Sophie & I drove to my mom's & picked up Luke, and the three of us ran errands for over 3 hours.  We got everything to decorate the house for Mark's return Saturday night.  I bought flowers at The Fresh Market (a gorgeous bouquet for $6.99--a steal), balloons, crepe paper streamers, and a cake. More on the cake in a minute.  We finally got home and I decorated while the kids relaxed.  I think I sat down maybe a total of 30 minutes all day, which was a good thing.  Busy hands and all that.

Mark got home around 7:30 pm, and he was pleased by the fuss we made over him.  We had a great family night together.  He still hasn't really adjusted to the fact that he's finished.  It's going to be a big After for him, too.

So. The cake.  It was 6" round--the smallest I could get. At first blush, the cake is a bad idea. We didn't NEED cake to celebrate. I chose to have cake because it is a traditional way to celebrate, and I pulled out all the stops for Mark. I wanted him to feel special.

I had a slice Saturday night when Mark got home, and one slice Sunday.  It was not my downfall this weekend.  I didn't do my usual dance with the cake--where I take a fork and eat straight from the box in the middle of the night.  I mindfully sat down and ate a piece when everyone else did, and allowed myself to savor the sweetness, and let it be. 

I think allowing myself to have some cake let me get through The Afters of the weekend without binging.  Because I did. not. binge.  At all.  Not once.  The only sugar I had all weekend was the two slices of cake. 

After I look at how the weekend went down, food wise, I can see that allowing myself the small bits of sugar pleasure--and not making it forbidden and therefore something I obsessed about all weekend--was, for me, a good way to cope without having a full-on binge meltdown.  

It is important to note that I kept the rest of my food stable and normal. I ate cake after I had had a meal with protein, and my next meals were exactly what I would have had if I hadn't had cake.  I think the sugar impact was lessened because of it.

The cake was a lot of sugar, though.  I wasn't used to it.  I didn't need much to satisfy me.  Much less than I would have eaten in the past.  I also had a cup of milk with each cake slice, and that protein may have tempered the sugar, too.

We spent all day Sunday at home. The kids never got out of their PJs.  It was a nice family day, and we all needed to chill out.  I kept very busy, but also made time to rest and play. 

All of our hampers are empty and there is only one basket of towels left to be folded (which Sophie will do as one of her chores). 

I had finished our vacation photo album Saturday; I left open slots on many pages for journaling papers and started writing them on Sunday.  I cleaned up my scrapbooking table and got things organized for my next projects. 

I read a while on my Kindle.  I played charades with the family for about 45 minutes.  We sat around and talked about the new Harry Potter movie (which Mark went by himself to see Saturday night at 10:45 pm because he couldn't stand to wait any longer). 

I ate cleanly, didn't have the wants, didn't take a nap, didn't feel bereft, didn't yell at anyone or get impatient or angry. It was a nice, steady day. 

Mark and I had a long talk last night after the kids went to bed.  I was glad we got the conversation going right away, instead of waiting.  We have put our relationship on hold for over 3 years.  He did an amazing job of staying connected to our kids during these insanely intense 3 years.  He has made a living for us and we are still in business.  He has his bachelors degree.  He took a 10 hour exam that he put in over 400 study hours for; that doesn't count the 6 trips to Philadelphia and the hours he spent working and studying there.

The 3 years he has been studying have encompassed a lot of drama.  The stock market crash of 2008.  My dad's year long illness and death, and all the stress that went with it.  My depression and weight gain. Mark's own health issues, especially his lower back pain.  Our daughter's migraines and ADHD, which, praise the Lord, we finally found resolutions for in the summer of 2009 and she has been healthy ever since.

It's frankly a miracle we have a marriage left at all, after the immensity of what we have faced.  But we do.  I am blessed to have a sensitive, emotional, intelligent, communicative husband who wants to rebuild our relationship.  And I am excited to see what happens next.

I told him last night that I have no expectations.  I am leaving the future open, not setting up rigid guidelines for how I want my life and our lives to be.  I don't want to set ourselves up for failure.

There were many times during our talk where I could have gotten defensive, let my pride get in the way.  I didn't.  I stopped, I thought, I let encouraging words come out of my mouth.  I can get my feelings hurt easily, and I often interpret things the wrong way.  I didn't let that happen last night.

I am fully aware that the recent topics on several of our blogs--on graceful living mostly, and my realization that my reactions to people are often prideful, and not the way I want to live my life--are a big reason I was able to do this.  I am also aware that not have sugar coursing through my veins also allowed me to think more clearly. 

And the 53 minute 4 mile run I went on at 6 pm last night, in the drizzly cool blessed rain, helped rid my mind and body of stress and anxiety.

Considering what a huge After this weekend was, I am happy with how things went.  I am not wallowing in regret. I am relishing the peace and joy that enveloped our family.

Today, I am happy.


Jill said...

All I read in the post is peace, understanding, and calm self-assurance. I think you are doing an amazing job of taking care of yourself and your family. As for the cake, you don't need to justify it to anyone. You knew what your body could handle and you handled it supremely well. Hooray!! I'm so proud of you!

Vickie said...

I am glad you wrote about the cake in detail, so you remember it was planned and that you were careful and it was a every 'once in a great while' kind of thing.

The slippery slope, as I know you know, can be when we haven't set up 'guidelines', haven't talked about it, and then next weekend, we think - three pieces of cake.

And so very good you kept the rest of your food regular and you were not trading real food/meal for the cake. Because that is another slippery slope all together.

Very smart to just take it a bit at a time and not have any major relationship to do lists or schedule. Working on each thing that comes out of our mouth and each day together, is a very good plan.

Boundaries and communication and graciousness and respect all came through to me in your post.

Very good job.

jen said...

Wow, congratulations. That sounds like a wonderful weekend. I imagine that the stress of shouldering extra responsibilities for three years may have had a lot to do with your food issues -- I know that I feel the urge to snack when I feel neglected as a way to treat myself (even though it doesn't end up feeling good to me).

I like the changes you made to the bedroom to signal new things to come. Glad your talk went well too. I hope that you and Mark can rekindle a sense of fun and togetherness now that there is less pressure on both of you.

Cindy...154 said...

Congrats to Mark and to the whole family! When you summed up the last three years there were so many things. I can relate to that. What a great post! So good that you are not setting yourself up with expectations about your relationship, and that instead you are being grateful and open minded.

Laura I. (G.G.) said...