Dear Mom and Dad,
Looking back now, I think the hardest part of my getting-fit-and-healthy journey was that you both wouldn’t go along with me. I’m grateful that you, Mom, were there, most of the experience, with supportive words and to be my cheering section. When most people criticized me of being obsessive, excited to start college in a new direction of fitness and wellness, you stood proudly behind me. When I made the difficult decision to move on from a marriage that turned toxic, you were surprised at first, but became my only listening ear in the entire family. You became the ONE I could confide in. Through the divorce, you and I were able to bust through invisible barriers and start talking about more-adult topics, instead of our usual cutesy stuff. It was such a tremendous relief to me to know I had to around for that. Instead of just being my mother, that’s when you turned into my dear friend, as well. We could start talking about the painful things.
Dad, I’m learning to heal and I don’t know how long it will take me. Every day is different. But it goes without saying that the healing IS happening. Eventually, I want to have an actual relationship with you. I won’t be able to forget what happened, but I’m learning to move on regardless. There are brighter things ahead for me. I respect you for the very wise business-minded guy you are. I know that I can learn a lot from you in that area and you can help me excel. I want to someday get to the point where I can call on you for advice just as I do with Mom. Seeing you becoming more involved in Marc and Scott’s lives and the lives of their kids (your grandchildren) has been bittersweet for me to watch. It’s fun to watch you dote on these new additions, but it sometimes hurts that it took this long for you to soften. The grandfather you’ve become to my niece and nephews is the guy I wanted for my own Dad.
Mom and Dad, what hurts me right now is witnessing both of your health conditions wilt and fade away as the years pass by. Tomorrow, Mom turns 60 years old, but instead of being the vibrant, energetic, lively woman she could be, she’s losing her strength and beginning to develop diseases. Most of these have to do with a sedentary lifestyle and carrying around the excess weight. Dad, you aren’t doing well either, and keep your ills hidden well, but I know it takes a great toll on you just to move around, up and down stairs, and living life day to day. You get out of breath, trying to chase the grandkids around.
Mom, you have reached out several times to me, wanting dietary help and getting started with an exercise program… countless times now. You seem so eager to get started living the life you COULD have… then you let fear derail your progress and blame your stalling on a preset list of excuses. It makes me frustrated, but it also breaks my heart. This is SO MUCH MORE than fitting into smaller sizes of clothing, Mom. This is more than your confidence when going out. This is your life on the line. The only one you have or will ever get. I don’t want to lose one of my best friends. I have so much to learn from you still. I don’t want either of you to miss out on a future wedding in a few years down the road… should there happen to be one. I want you BOTH at my college graduation(s). I want you to see me purchase my first house. I want you both to be around so I have that ability to call at 2pm on a Sunday afternoon for tips on how to cook a roast… when really, I’m just craving the comfort of hearing your voices. There isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t long to be home with both of you. It’s been this way for years.
I know most children would want their parents to get healthy and drop the weight so that the parents could see their children someday. You’ve already had that experience with both of my older brothers. While that’s true for me, too, I have to admit that I come from a more selfish place. I want you both around for me. I don’t want to continue spreading my wings in adulthood without both of you. I need you both around so I can lean on you for advice. It wouldn’t be fair to me, by any means, to lose either of you within the next 10 years. I can’t even fathom the kind of pain I’d experience with that loss.