Mama Jennifer on a journey

My awesome mom, a math teacher back home in Louisiana, spent a huge chunk of her summer vacation with me in Virginia in 2014.  Instead of filling her days away from the kids with ice cream and lazy days at the beach, she decided to lace up her sneakers and step into journey right along with me!  She’s kicking butt and taking names along the way.  She is the embodiment of the phrase “love is a verb.”

Each day when I got off of work, she and I headed straight to the gym to meet with my good friend and personal trainer Ken Williams. We put in a full hour of cardio and weight training.  At 60 years old, she’s lifting heavier weights than me in some cases!  We had a blast making healthy meals and researching new recipes.

me and mom at trashmore
Mom and me during our 3 mile walk at Mt. Trashmore in Virginia Beach.

My mother and I have always been extremely close. She is my best friend and my biggest cheerleader. It seems the older I get, the more I love, respect and adore her.  I think it’s because as an adult, I can truly understand and appreciate the sacrifices she made as a single mom so I could have an amazing life.

AHA Jess and mom
Mom and me at the Crescent City Classic 10K in New Orleans.          April 2015.

We have both had our struggles with obesity. I was 10 years old when she was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at the age of 40.  I remember seeing tears fill her eyes as she told me in the kitchen.  We made some changes back then that stuck, like getting rid of sodas.  She always made sure I was active in dance and cheerleading.  However, looking back, we know we didn’t make big enough changes to the food we were eating.  As the saying goes, when you know better, you do better!  It is one of the joys of my life to have her on this journey with me now.

Mom, Auntie Elaine and me at the finish of the Crescent City Classic in 2010. I weighed around 260 pounds.

Mom, Auntie Elaine and me at the finish of the Crescent City Classic in 2010. I weighed around 260 pounds.

My mom is living proof that it is never too late to put your all into the journey, no matter your age! Seeing my mom put the same amount of passion and effort into her journey as she did when it came to raising me is simply amazing.

She’s my hero. Maybe that’s why she can lift more than me LOL!  I’m happy to say that she has been consistent with her exercising and eating choices since her summer vacation.  We can’t wait to do it again this year!

(Originally published March 29, 2015)