The Tea Bag Test
This Christmas is different. This is the first Christmas without any parents. My mother died in May and my father died long ago. I’m lucky; I have my husband and kids. My brother has a girlfriend, but they both have to work today and they are miles away in New Jersey.
If there is one upside to cancer it’s that you get a basic timeline and are able to say goodbye. Last year my mom almost died before Thanksgiving. She had pneumonia after chemo and was in the hospital and I was in such a panic. But then her fever broke and at the same time I got a text message saying that my application was selected to compete in the bikini division of the Arnold Amateur, the second biggest bodybuilding competition in the world.
My life has changed so much this past year. It was the worst year of my life: mother dying, tornado hit my house, family feuds. And it was the best year of my athletic life: winning 3rd, then 2nd, then 1st place in bodybuilding competitions, I dream I had been working towards for the past three years. All of those things culminated in a rare opportunity that I can’t even write about yet.
Eleanor Roosevelt said, “A woman is like a tea bag – you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water.” I’ve been in and out of boiling water so much this year I’m hoping for a little peace and quiet so I can taste the tea.
I feel like I’ve cried more, smiled bigger and hugged my family and friends tighter than I ever have in the past. I’ve discovered that sometimes bravery is wrapped in a blanket of fear and nothing breaks tension better than laughter. I’ve learned that fitness is a better crutch to lean on than a box of chocolates. And I’ve been reminded again and again that nothing really matters except the people you love.
Life has an expiration date – I’m going to live mine to the fullest. I hope you do too.
Merry Christmas everyone (or belated Hanukkah or whatever you celebrate!)
Lisa Traugott is a Mom’s Choice Award winning writer, fitness blogger, wife and mom of two.
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