Monday, January 10, 2011

A Yellow Dress, Snowflakes, and Dead Weight

There's a yellow dress on my bedroom wall, a fitness video in my DVD player, and Snowflake Chocolates on the top shelf of my kitchen cabinet. I think they're all laughing at me, but there's one week of success under my belt, so I smirk back, but with only a small measure of arrogance.

I can't brag yet. This one week comes on the heels of eleven years of stop/start, succeed/fail, lose ten/gain ten. Can it still be considered baby fat when said baby is now in the adolescent stage of life?

The dress is size four, the chocolates are minus two (that I thoroughly enjoyed last night), and the time frame is forever, because it's really not about the numbers on the scale or the ones on the label of my dress. It's about being strong and fit and disciplined for life — and not eating the entire box of chocolate in one sitting.

So when the alarm goes off at much–too–early o'clock, I reluctantly exchange warm pjs for T–shirt and sneakers and tiptoe past dark, quiet bedrooms harboring sleep–cocooned children and descend the stairs into the dark and quiet of the also–sleeping living room. I must be crazy.

Before I'm fully awake, I'm sweating and breathing heavy. The weights move in tandem, up then down. The muscles, still weak with sleep, are jolted into service, and the oxygen flying to my brain is tapping out Morse code on my artery walls the message, "She's up and in overdrive already, Fellas! Looks like we'll be firing on all pistons today!"

Thirty minutes. That's all. Everyday. No thinking about it or giving it a chance to talk me out of it.

When it's over and I shower, victory washes over me, and I decide it pairs well with hot water and soap. I think I want to never shower without it again.

Fully dressed and fully invigorated now, I hop down the stairs this time. The knowing grin is because I see my kids dragging themselves from the clutches of sleep and fighting for consciousness as if they were allergic to morning. I remember the fog well and feel glad to be outgrowing my own allergic reaction.

Ahead of everyone else, I enter the kitchen in search of water and grounds and sugar and milk. Only with a mug of steaming cafe con leche in hand, do I sit at the breakfast bar, bible open, ready for real communion. The house is still quiet and undisturbed. As I linger over final thoughts and the last of my prayers, the kids filter in foraging for something to break their fast. I can't help but smile again because I'm filled, my fast already broken.

I kiss three groggy children and Mike. The clock says 7:30, and I walk out the door for work. I'm wearing discipline and a new morning routine. They fit perfectly and I feel like a million bucks dressed this way. They may not be size four, but they shrink to fit, and will be by the time I am. With my briefcase strapped over one shoulder and confidence, lean and strong, thrown over the other, I'm beginning to feel sure that the dress hanging on the bedroom wall waiting for Easter won't get the last laugh.

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