Recently, I was asked to participate in the "Who Keeps You Healthy?" campaign put on by the American Recall Center.
After some thought, I chose my son, Noah, who is one of the reasons I've wholeheartedly embraced an active and healthy lifestyle. The letter that follows is for him.
You are 26-months-old right now, and oh-so-active.
You keep me going, going, going from the time you wake up in the morning (usually around 7:30) until nap time (around 2:30), and then again from the time you wake up from your nap (4:00) until bedtime (9:00).
You and I go, go, go at home. If the weather is super hot, super cold or rainy, we stay indoors and play. You love when I push you down the hallway in the laundry basket, especially when it is full of clean, warm clothing. You also get excited when I pull you around on the blue sheet over the family room hardwood floor. And when the Hokey Pokey song comes on Pandora, we dance and sing together in the kitchen.
While we spend some time inside--playing, reading, and working on chores--you really love being on the go, outside.
In the yard, we run around. I say, "I'm gonna chase you," and as you scurry away from me, I can hear you giggling.
Right now, you are particularly fond of throwing rocks in the creek on our property. You will search for two rocks (one for each hand), throw them in the water, and then go searching again.
Over and over, you search, find, and throw--sometimes for an hour or more at a time.
You tromp around in your black rain boots, and I follow you, picking you up when you fall in a puddle or get stuck in the mud, and making sure you don't accidentally tumble into the creek.
You also love to be pushed on the swing that hangs from the tree in our front yard. You like when I run alongside the swing or dart behind it, and say "Boo!" from the opposite side. I love hearing you laugh.
Being at home is fun, but you like to go out, too. Out to the park, where we chase "gators,"--John Deere Gators that is. You run after the Gator, and I run after you. When the Gator disappears, it's back to the play structure where we climb stairs, run across bridges, and slide down slides. You're getting faster and more confident.
We go out to the gymnastics center, too. I pull you on the parachute and walk with you as you slowly traverse the balance beam and rescue you from the foam pit if you're having trouble getting out on your own. (I generally lose a sock in the process!)
You, my son, are keeping me young, keeping me active, keeping me healthy.
Because of you, I run and jump and climb and lift and pull and push.
Your love of play inspires me to play more. To laugh. And dance. To tickle. And sing.
Several days a week when you nap, I head downstairs and jump on the treadmill, running between three and five miles at a time.
I don't always love running on the treadmill; I much prefer to jog outside, but I do it because running gives me the stamina I need to keep up with you.
And running makes me feel good. The stress that commonly takes up residence in my neck and shoulders melts away when I run. And I'm nearly always in a good mood when I'm done with my workout. (Watching reruns of The Office helps, too.)
Running keeps me healthy, not only physically, but also mentally. I feel more balanced, and better able to deal with you when you're having meltdown moments. Those times when you throw yourself down on the floor and cry and scream. In time, your tantrums will disappear, but there will be other challenges, no doubt. For you and for me.
I want to continue to exercise for years to come--running or hiking or yoga--because it's important that I'm able to handle those challenges as best I can, and actively play with you for years to come. I want to kick the soccer ball around with you, hike the hills, shoot hoops, and just plain have fun while being active together. (I hope your daddy will be there, too, actively participating!)
I also think about myself years from now, when you're grown and out of the house and starting your own family.
In my mind's eye, I see myself as a "fit" Grammie, running around after your children (Gosh, it feels weird to type that!), kneeling down beside my grandchildren showing them how to take photos with a digital camera (or just shooting photos of them), going for hikes, and playing in the park.
I want to be strong and active and healthy and well-balanced.
And I want that for you, too, my son.
Thanks for being my health hero, Noey.
P.S. All shots taken with my Nikon D700 and 24-70mm lens.