Sunday, April 8, 2012
He Is Risen!
First of all, a happy (hoppy?)Easter to all of you -- wherever you are, whatever you do, whomever you're with, I hope you enjoy the day and the truly beautiful weather.
I didn't write yesterday... it was really silly, I had a whole post planned out in my head, and then between the napping and the grocery shopping and the TV watching, I just... didn't. I've already broken my #HAWMC goals!
So today is double duty -- yesterday was a topic'less day - the assignment was just to write about whatever we wanted. Today's topic is to recount the most interesting conversation that I had all week. So I'm going to do double duty and tackle them both in one (although this is less about a conversation and more about an experience).
The picture above is my grandfather (and me)
He is 95 years old.
(Yes, he's still alive).
His wife, my grandmother, is 90.
They have obviously been a huge part of my life, because now I'm in my mid-30s with living grandparents (unusual), and because they live only a few miles away. I have always adored my grandfather and his quiet, sweet-natured temperament. He's a foodie and a wine guy, and a life-long athlete -- traits I've come to appreciate and acknowledge more and more as he has aged.
Right now, if you were to see my grandfather, he would look pretty much exactly as he does in the picture above -- just lying down instead of standing (And of course, without a 3 year old on his shoulders - although you could probably swap in his great-grand daughter, my niece Abby, and get the same effect).
You see, the old dude just keeps falling. He's mentally sharp, he's still sweet-spirited... but he just doesn't get around like he used to. He's got a walker, but imagine being an able-bodied athlete your whole life, and then being told that you have to slow down and use a walker!? What?
I skiied with this man until I was 18 years old.
So he keeps falling. And each and every time, he bangs himself up a bit -- bruises, cuts -- but nothing ever HAPPENS to him. And the doctors can't find anything wrong.
So basically, the guy is 95, and healthier than 95% of the population.
This last fall was pretty bad - it landed him in the hospital with a few cuts and a very sore shoulder. Bad enough that now he's living in the health care wing of their retirement community, rather than living in the apartment with my grandma. I went to see them yesterday -- terribly nervous that my grandfather was going to be a mess. That he wouldn't remember me. That he was on death's door. That he'd be frail and weak and vacant.
I could not have been more wrong.
When my mother and I walked into his room, he greeted us with a cheerful hello. He was dressed -- down to the shoes -- and lying in bed, watching The Masters tournament. He was chipper and talkative -- moreso than usual. He's gotten very quiet and withdrawn over the years -- sometimes it is hard to get him to talk -- but yesterday, in the absence of noise and chaos and lots of other people, he was very conversational.
And then, just before we left, we discovered that he wasn't even wearing his hearing aids.
Yet seemed to hear us just fine.
The theory there is twofold - one, without my grandmother around all the time, he has a minute to get a word in edgewise; he relies on her less to make the conversation, and the focus is truly on him. But more importantly than that, I wanted to talk about my grandfather's health.
I don't think it is a coincidence that my grandparents - athletic my entire life - are in their 90s and reasonably healthy. They have jogged/skiied/golfed/played tennis/ fished / hiked my entire life -- even well into their 80s they were attending "Silver Sneakers" exercise classes in their retirement home, and my grandfather loves to get in his walker and cruise the halls to keep the body moving. It is truly remarkable, and I believe what has kept them alive and healthy for so long.
They are generally healthy eaters, but they are also people who enjoy coffee and wine and dessert. They even SMOKED in their younger years -- and then instantly quit and never touched cigarettes again the minute the surgeon general announced it was unhealthy.
Everything in moderation.
With health on my mind, I hit the grocery store later in the day -- I automatically made many healthy choices. Fresh vegetables. Lean dairy. Lean protein... in fact, the only UNhealthy thing was the near mental breakdown, induced by grocery shopping at 5 PM the day before Easter. I always make healthy grocery choices, but this was more conscious than usual -- no processed foods. No granola bars, crackers, or pretzels. No potatoes. No pasta.
There are lots of thoughts floating around in my head about diet and lifestyle and how to feel as good as I want to feel -- so that at 95, I can be as healthy as my grandfather. So that when The Hubs and I go down the kid path, I can be a healthy mom and role model. So that today, tomorrow, next week, next month and next year, I can enjoy life to the fullest.
I've got some friends trying out the Paleo diet and Atkins, and although I don't really believe in or feel the need to eliminate entire food groups, I'd also love a way to quickly kickstart a few lbs of weight loss. When combined with Weight Watchers, South Beach Diet is something that has worked for me in the past -- basically, eating all the SBD foods, but still counting points -- and I think I'm headed down that road again. I need to get through this week's breakfasts and lunches (smoothies and oatmeal mugs -- neither of which will be okay for the first two weeks), and then put a new eating plan in place.
When I think deeply about food, it brings out some spiritual / holistic feelings -- mainly, the thing I always come back to is that the things we should subsist on are the things that are naturally present in the Universe.
Grains. Vegetables. Fruits. Fish, chicken, and lean beef. Milk. Yogurt that doesn't have a whole bunch of STUFF added to it. The planet and population have managed to evolve for kabillions of years based on the notion that the earth has provided exactly what it needs to survive.
And I assure you - that doesn't include baked lays or fettuccine alfredo.
So that is my dual-day post, all about my grandpa -- such an awesome guy, and somebody we could all learn a less from:
Whatever life hands you, keep on moving... with a smile on your face, and corny joke in your back pocket. And there's never anything wrong with a little glass of red wine.
Off and running,