Breakfast in Bed (Part II)

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I was supposed to meet Emma at 9:30 on Friday morning, and we planned to carpool into the hill country from her place out west of town, so Seth suggested he come over at 6:30 Friday morning to make breakfast.

I’d pushed back, “That’s really early…”

But he shrugged it off. “You can stay in bed. I’ll come over and make you breakfast in bed. I know you’ve been working hard and not getting much sleep, so sleep in, and I’ll make breakfast. You just relax.”

I’d sighed gratefully, wanting to contribute but also knowing I needed the sleep. So I agreed, and sure enough, on Friday morning I heard Seth come in before the sun was even up. I’d set out a skillet and mixing bowl for him the night before so he didn’t have to fumble around in my kitchen cabinets, and before long – in my half-conscious state – I started to smell sizzling omelets and warm biscuits. I even heard the tea kettle and milk foamer. He was making me a lavender tea steamer. What a gem of a man.

I’d hung up laundry to dry the night before, so as I slowly came to full consciousness, I sat up in bed and, though the dresses and blouses hanging from my bedroom door, I watched the man I love joyfully cooking me breakfast in my own kitchen. My heart swelled with love for him, and I smiled to myself, thinking, “I’m the luckiest girl in the world.”

And then the fire alarm went off. I heard Seth give a sharp whisper of an indeterminable word under his breath, and I chuckled silently, sliding back under the covers and pretending to be asleep. He really wanted to make me breakfast in bed, so in bed I would stay!

Before long, Seth’s silhouette ducked under my hanging laundry, and his handsome face came into view in my bedroom. He carried in a plate of bacon omelettes and warm biscuits, along with my lavender tea latte. We kissed good morning, and he commented, “Sorry about the fire alarm earlier.”

I grinned and then burst into laughter. “It was perfect. Seriously, perfect. I love you so much!” He started laughing, too, and leaned in to kiss me again. “I love that we laugh together.”

Feeling happy and cherished, I started to pat the covers beside me and invite him to sit, but he said, “I’ve already eaten,” and suddenly disappeared into the kitchen to start cleaning up.

“Don’t you want to some sit with me?” I called into the kitchen. He seemed not to hear, so I tried again. Still no response. So I went to eating, expecting him to come back in shortly. But when Seth did come back to where I was enjoying breakfast in bed, he just gave me a quick kiss, grinned an unusually large grin, and said simply, “Have a great day. I love you!”

He was almost out the door before I could call back, “You too! I love you!”

My curiosity was definitely piqued, but I just smiled to myself and enjoyed the delicious tea latte he’d made me – how did he get the milk frothed so perfectly? – and tried not to let my imagination wander too much.

About five minutes later, my phone rang, and it was Seth. “Good morning!” I answered. “Hey babe,” he began. “Are you still in bed?”

“Yes…” I replied slowly, wondering why he was asking.

“Well, before too long, you may want to make your way in to the kitchen to check it out.”

“Okay, I will.”

“Okay, bye!” He hung up.

Seth was definitely acting strangely, and my curiosity was now definitely piqued. So I set my half-finished plate on my bedside table and walked with my tea latte into the kitchen.

And there on the counter were two peachy-pink roses and a poem. The words swam before me as my eyes filled with tears. Today was the day.

Authentically Aurora

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Servant Leadership (Part I)

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The past two months have been an absolute whirlwind. Not only am I a first year teacher, but I am also the only one at my school teaching 7th grade Pre-AP math. The prior teacher “is no longer with the district” and left none of her material, so I am having to develop all of my own lesson plans, including quizzes, tests, and differentiation activities for my students at different learning levels. I have duty before and after school twice a week, I am coaching the school’s math club, and the choir director found out I was a three-time All State Choir member, so on Thursdays I am using my conference period to do voice lessons for our choir girls.

I spend my weekends grading papers and attending mandatory GT workshops where I spend 8 hours of my Saturday learning about how to better reach my Gifted & Talented students. Though normally a neat freak, my state of my apartment has devolved into one of barely controlled chaos. I no longer sort my laundry by color, I actually leave dishes in the sink, and I can’t remember the last time I did a deep clean of my kitchen or bathroom.

I used to cook dinner for Seth about once a week, but these days, he usually gets to my apartment before I do and either has dinner cooking or has brought over take-out (which I then pack as my lunch for the next day).

This first year of teaching has been the most chaotic, involved and stressful of any job I’ve ever had, but it’s also been the most rewarding. More on that later. But suffice it to say, I haven’t felt like I’ve been a great girlfriend lately, and I tell Seth all the time, “I want to do something for you. Do you want me to try to get to the grocery store to make dinner tonight? Do you want to go for a bike ride after work? We used to do that all the time. Could I give you a back rub?” I want to do something! Seth has been selflessly serving me and patiently holding this relationship together while I try to keep my head above water. But he always just smiles (I can hear his smile over the phone) and tells me he’ll take care of everything. And he does.

The one thing I’ve been able to offer our relationship the past two months is gratefulness. I notice and appreciate everything Seth has been doing for me, from the big things (grocery shopping and cooking dinner) to the little things (picking up a dead roach in the front entryway). He even scrubbed the toilet bowl at my place a couple of weeks ago. He is so selfless and kind and loving, and he does it all joyfully, which has stirred my heart to love him all the more.

In the midst of my nonstop schedule, my friend Emma texted me and asked if I was up for a girls’ weekend trip. She’s a 9th grade math teacher, and her roommate also works in education, so they get it. And they suggested that the three of us take a mid-semester break to recharge. I was so excited and relieved at the thought of a break that I even agreed to give up a precious vacation day to take off Friday so we could make it a three-day weekend.

Seth and I attend bible study on Wednesday nights, and last week as we were walking back to our cars after bible study, Seth asked, “Could I come over and make you breakfast on Friday morning? You’re going to be gone all weekend, and it would be nice to see each other before you’re gone for three days.”

It was a sweet offer, and I wanted to see him, but he’s been doing so much for me lately that I felt a bit guilty at the thought of him doing one more thing to serve me. “I’d love to see you! But you don’t have to make me breakfast.”

“I want to.” He smiled.

I did like the thought of having a homemade breakfast together. And it would be nice to have some quiet time together before I left on my girls’ trip. “You really don’t mind?” I asked.

He wrapped his arms around my waist and gave me a gentle kiss. “It would be my joy.”

So I packed Thursday night and looked forward to not only my girls’ weekend but also some quality time with my sweetheart.

Authentically Aurora

The Dietitian

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Every year, my company pays for me to have a full physical done. It’s a nice perk, actually, except that every year they tell me in some way or form that I am morbidly obese.

Some years, it’s my BMI. Other years, it’s my Body Fat %. One year, my LDL cholesterol was just 1 point too high. I’m young and healthy, right in the center of where I’m supposed to be on the Height/Weight chart, so I tend to mostly ignore the comments about my supposed obesity.

This year, my Body Fat % was measured at 26.0% by the pinch test, so they brought in an on-site dietitian to talk with me. Insert April Ludgate saying, “I hate talking. To people. About things.” 

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The dietitian and I went over my typical meals and snacks throughout the week. I think I eat pretty healthy, especially considering how I ate my first year out of college.

Cookie SliceBack when I started at this company (and all the bitterness began), I used to comfort myself with an entire Slice from Great American Cookie Company. Every day.

Once I realized that was a terrible life choice, I transitioned to a season where only after a particularly hard day at work would I come home and bake a batch of chocolate chip cookies to eat in its entirety. By myself.

From there, I moved to just eating a dark chocolate bar (the whole bar). Now – eight years later – I allow myself a handful of almonds and blueberries while I watch an episode of Parks & Rec to help me unwind.

I made all of these decisions over the past few years without a dietitian, and I feel pretty good about my food choices. But last week when I told the dietitian that I eat almonds for a snack, she said, “You need to stop eating so many nuts. They are high in fat.”

Almonds.png“Yeah, but I’m eating almonds, not peanuts. And it’s good fat.”

“How do you feel about celery?”

“I feel like I don’t hate myself.”

We moved on from snacks to my lunch choices, and when she found out that I eat salads for lunch – which I think should have constituted at least a tiny smile and “good job” – her first question was, “How much dressing do you put on?” I go to Salata and ask them to half the dressing, I told her, proud of myself.

But there was no praise to be had. Did this woman know my boss? Were they related? “You should really ask for the dressing on the side,” she chided me.

Internally rolling my eyes, we moved on to protein shakes. “How much fruit do you put in?” I was cautioned to only use vegetables, not fruit, because fruit is “high in sugar.” I also use almond milk, and she shook her head. Another error on my part evidently. “Almond milk doesn’t have the same protein count as regular milk. You need to be drinking soy instead.” But aren’t there hormone concerns with drinking soy?

For breakfast, I eat one hardboiled egg. Surely she can’t say anything negative about that. Oh, but she could. “You should add some fruit to your breakfast.”

“But I thought fruit was high in sugar.” Hadn’t she just told me that?

“But you need to add carbohydrates to your breakfast. Try eating an apple or banana.”

It was a miserable experience. I feel like I’m doing a lot of things right. I don’t eat a Starbucks pastry for breakfast in the mornings like I want to. I eat an egg. I don’t eat pizza for lunch to comfort my miserable self from my life of sitting in a cubicle all day. I eat a salad. I only eat out about twice per week, but I was strongly advised, “You need to be splitting your entrees. Your waist can’t afford to eat an entire entree.”

At the same height and age range, I weigh less than this girl:

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My waist is 28″, and my hips are 37″. I am healthy. Could I afford to work out more? Yes. But I’m already pretty restrictive on my diet, and a little bit of positive encouragement would have gone much further than all of the chastising.

I shouldn’t have been surprised at the treatment, though. This woman is affiliated with my company. I can’t wait to leave.

Authentically Aurora