Friday Frankness #1 – Triggers, Workout, Discipline, and Physical Touch

FridayI have decided that I would prefer to keep the kid’s names out of this blog in order to provide a small measure of protection for them. So I will be using the following to refer to the kids in this and future posts:

  • My 9 year old, older son, or big brother.
  • My 6 year old, older daughter, or big sister.
  • My 3 year old, younger son, or little brother.
  • My 1 year old, younger daughter, or little sister.

I will go back through my previous posts over the next week to edit their names out of previous posts. I’m debating whether to use their pictures or not. I’ll see how that train of thought progresses.


Technically this is about last night, but it was after I published yesterday. My nanny and I were talking and she started telling me about her headaches that she has been having this week. She went to the doctor yesterday morning and they said it might be that she isn’t eating enough variety (she became a vegan last fall). She said she had been referred for a CT scan next Monday.

Okay, so far so good. Then she told me that they also said that it could be migraines, that her mom got migraines.

And suddenly I couldn’t breathe quite right for a second. I started shaking my head and told her I couldn’t, I just couldn’t hear any more. She got it and fell silent. I just stared at her awkwardly for a few minutes with tear filled eyes before we found something else to talk about.

I have told that story before. The one about getting a CT scan because it might be migraines and how there is a family history of that from his mom and sisters. I’m (reasonably) sure my nanny doesn’t have a brain tumor, but it was a hard couple of minutes.


This morning was much smoother than yesterday with the kids. They had all the things done and we even had time to fill out lunch menu orders and go over a few summer camp options. The kids were so proud that they were going to get to school on time and get kindle time today.

I then fiddled around on the computer for a bit before taking a nap. I love the days I can take a long nap and not just a power nap.


I went to the gym for my workout. Since it is Friday, it was also measurements day. Sky has a fancy machine that measures muscle mass and body fat in addition to weight. I got a sticker because I had lost a bit of body fat. Don’t ask my how much weight I’ve lost, because I don’t know for sure. I don’t really care right now.

Life is too short to start obsessing over a number.

I can tell you that I am wearing a size smaller jeans than I did when I started going to the gym in January. I can tell you my kids feel lighter (and I’m pretty sure they aren’t losing weight). I feel stronger, both mentally and physically. Actually truth be told, I wouldn’t probably be blogging again if it weren’t for my new gym adventure.

When I signed up for the Bombshell program, I didn’t realize it was a 6 days per week program. I thought it was a 3 day per week program. I read that there were 3 homework workouts per week, but I didn’t know they would be full hour long workouts.

So after 3 weeks of going to the gym 6 days per week, I realized that I really could do something every single day if I really wanted to. That if I really wanted to make something a priority, I was capable of putting it on my calendar and doing it Every. Single. Day.

Since starting this program, I have put it on my calendar and when the time comes, I go. I have rarely had a moment where I didn’t want to go.

As a cancer patient’s wife and as a widowed mom, I have done a lot of things that just needed to be done over the last 2 years. Maybe that is what makes it easier now for me to understand this do this now.


Discipline is a word that I have been ruminating over the past couple of weeks. I have always considered discipline to be a synonym for punishment, generally in reference to children. As a parent, I’m supposed to discipline my children. The thing is, I’ve never been a big fan of punishment, at least not how Kraston and I always tried to use it. It never felt right or effective.

At some point or another, I read a book or a blog or something about how discipline is perhaps better understood to mean I’m supposed to teach my children. Okay, I liked that. So when one of my kids did something I didn’t want them to do, I identified what I wanted them to do and why and explained it to them. As you can imagine, this didn’t always work very well either.

I have started spending more time figuring out ways how to remember and execute the desired activity or behavior. This is the part I struggle with for myself and thus haven’t been able to teach my kids. We really need to spend time finding the process to accomplish what need to done. For me, just putting it on my calendar is often the most effective process. For the kids, having a list seems to be really helping.

I wish I had understood this years ago.

Once I am confident that I have both explained the what, the why and the how, I have discovered that I finally feel comfortable providing some sort of consequence if they don’t do what needs to be done.

Google’s dictionary provided secondary definition of the word Discipline as a noun as “activity or experience that provides mental or physical training” and as verb as “train oneself to do something in a controlled and habitual way.” This is clearly what I’ve been missing, both for myself and for my kids.

Habits. Routines. Discipline.

Just doing what needs to be done.

Physical Touch

Physical TouchAfter my workout this morning, I ate lunch and got a massage. I got a few massages while I was pregnant with my older two kids, but it has never been a regular thing for me. Since last November I have gotten a massages every couple weeks. It surprises me every time how much better I feel afterward. I’m learning to appreciate the therapeutic benefits of touch.

I’ve had several people tell me they know I don’t like hugs. However, I don’t actually dislike physical touch. I just rarely initiate physical touch. There’s a difference.

A hand on a forearm. A pat on the shoulder. Same thing. I just don’t initiate.

I have always been extremely conscious of anyone who enters my personal space bubble, and awkwardly self-conscious of entering someone else’s space purposefully to touch them. Kraston and my kids are the only ones I know of that I have ever touched without conscious effort.

For some people, touching others is as natural as breathing. Many times I don’t even think they know they are doing it. My therapist, when I’m leaving her office, almost always puts a hand on my arm when I pass by.

Some people have much smaller personal space bubbles than I do. My trainer at the gym is an example. She always stands somewhat unexpectedly close to me whenever she is talking to me. When she lays out two mats to show me how to do something, she puts them like three inches apart. It is not just me; it is everyone. It is just part of who she is.

As a widow, I am adjusting to a significantly reduced amount of physical touch. So all the hugs, arm touches, shoulder pats, and bubble popping closeness help me feel connected and valued. I notice and deeply appreciate it every single time.

So the next time you see me, feel free to give me a hug. I might not be expecting it. I might be awkward about it. But it will be appreciated.

Are there any other widows in your life that could use a hug? Give them one too.

Final Note

This post was a hard one to write. Since I was trying to organize my thoughts on a couple of topics of rumination, rather than sticking to just discussing my day, it took me much longer than an hour to write. I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.


8 thoughts on “Friday Frankness #1 – Triggers, Workout, Discipline, and Physical Touch”

  1. I have a friend who is widowed and she said after only 3 months she missed the hugs and physical touch. I am a physical touch person so beware next time I see you❤️


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