I did not grow up in a family where many things were officially diagnosed. When we weren’t feeling well there were usually 3 things that we were told to consider. Do you need to go to the bathroom? Have you had a glass of water? Are you hungry? For me, that last one was usually the answer. Somewhere during my high school years, back when I played sports and worked out multiple times a day, I started fainting…or feeling close to it. My heart would race; my hands would shake; the room would go black. Sometimes I would fall…sometimes I would catch myself. I considered my 3 questions and usually landed on “yes! Hungry!” And would help myself to 2 or 3 bowls of cereal. So often that my mom questioned whether or not I may have had a tapeworm. My parents’ lovingly named the possible intruder “Timmy”.
Fortunately, there was no parasite to blame (though thanks for the disgusting worry, otherwise-perfect parents!) but our family doctor did finally diagnose me with “Exercise-Induced Hypoglycemia.” My parents, essentially, were right. I was hungry. Those of you who have played competitive sports will understand the comedy gold that was my doctor’s suggestion for my swim practice struggles: just keep a snack, like a hardboiled egg or a Fig Newton, at the end of the lane for when you feel like your energy is fading. This was the 90s. People didn’t bring their own water bottles to a 15 minute meeting in case their hydration level was bottoming out (but my parents would be so proud of us now for staying on top of question #2). But sure, Doc, I’ll hop out of the pool, plant myself on the deck, inhale an egg and then get right on back in…Coach will be fine with that! I ignored that suggestion. But one person did not. My parents must have shared the news with their parents. My grandma was having NONE of it. She couldn’t be there with me at swim practice…but I’ll be darned if Rusty didn’t show up to every Friday night football game with a hardboiled egg and a cheese stick for this high school cheerleader to eat during half time. And she would make sure I ate it. She was that kind of woman, my dad’s mom. She loved us fiercely and with a dash of bossy and a few good swear words tossed in.
Flash forward to adulthood and my parents made sure my future husband knew early that “hangry” was an official thing for their little girl. He knows. It’s a favorite pasttime of both my husband and mom to wait for a moment when I’m a little irritated and ask “do you need a cheesestick??” The WORST part is that they are usually right. I am usually hungry. I’m not doing 2.5 hour swim practices anymore…but parenthood certainly requires a well-placed snack every now and again. And I hear myself asking my kids the Big 3 Questions on a regular basis. They lean hard into the “hungry”, too. I travel with Fig Bars and cheese sticks close by.
This week, as Spring arrives in NC, has been a bit of a struggle for me, energy wise. I’m falling asleep EARLY. I’m having trouble dragging myself out of bed at the alarm. Headaches have been abundant. Yesterday I found myself ready to write and lacking the mental focus to get it done. So I did what my past suggested…with an Easter themed twist. I grabbed some Peanut M&Ms (there are peanuts…so it’s protein…stay with me) and powered through a writing session with renewed energy. Question 3 had done it again. (I also took a Zyrtec…but don’t tell my mom and dad!)