deep down, are we all WEIRD?

At the gym the other morning, I walked into the locker room and there was a lady swimming in the pool wearing a tiara on her head. I’m not even kidding.

Sadly, none of my three friends I work out with were there to see the festivities. You can bet I texted them, though:

“We now have a three-way tie for Gold’s Gym’s Craziest:

“Tiara Swimmer Girl is neck and neck with Tone Deaf Loud Singer.

“Followed closely by Heart Attack Dude and Treadmill Dancer.”

TDLS is a lady who brings sheet music (hymn arrangements and Christmas music, year-round) and loudly sings off-pitch over the Van Halen and Black Eyed Peas coming out of the gym’s stereo system. While exercising on the elliptical trainer.

HAD is a guy who is actually quite fit, but gets on the Stairmaster and gasps and wheezes and heavy-breathes to the point where people either (a) ask him if he’s okay, or (b) complain to the management.

TD literally dances on the treadmill, and if you know dance, you can even tell what ballroom steps she is doing, and she does all the hips and arms too.

My BFF Laura has told me for many years that she thinks everyone–really, EVERYONE—is weird. You just have to get to know them well enough, to learn what their specific brand of weird is. And after she and I both got married, her theory evolved to encompass how married couples develop some serious enmeshed weirdness TOGETHER.

The one nice thing about my “weird” is that it’s no secret. With the advent of this site, and publishing my books, everyone knows!

I was driving my 17 y.o. to do some school shopping last week, and I pulled out a cooler of green smoothies. Got one out, handed it to him with a straw.  Had this convo:

Robyn: Here, drink this and I’ll drop you off at this store and I’ll come over in a few–I’m going in Sunflower Market for a minute.

Cade: Of course you are. Always with the vegetables, all the time. I’m sick of the healthy eating-thing.

Robyn: Well, that’s who I am. Better get used to it! It’s what I do. We eat healthy at our house. [I could say this in my sleep.]

Cade: I’m not asking you to start going through the In-N-Out drive-thru, Mom. I’m just saying. Most people are HERE. [He puts his hand, palm-down, on his leg.] And you are HERE. [He puts his hand, palm down, on the roof of the car.] How about a happy medium?

Robyn: [silent for a minute, thinking] Well, I don’t think I’m up there. I am just trying to make sure you get what you need to be healthy. I know people far more hard-core than I am.

Cade: No, nobody is.

So I chewed on that, all the next morning, on my bike ride up the canyon. I’m thinking I shouldn’t overreact, because we HAVE been eating an awful lot of zucchini lately. All our lunch and dinner meals in August, every year, tend to be 80% vegetables.

And I’m thinking, I know why I do it. Because when the kids come back from their dad’s house, there are smears of chocolate across my youngest son’s face, from his stepmom’s Crazy Cake, and her chocolate chip cookies, and whatever.   So I probably feel at some level that the 85% of the time they’re with me, I have to keep them on the straight and narrow.

I know what our health was like before. And I Never. Ever. want to go there again.

But what can I do so I don’t feel I caved to the teenager pressure, the stepmom-feeds-us-candy-and-cookies pressure, the pop-culture pressure? AND so my son is happier? Can I have both?

The answer I came up with is to continue–but try to focus more often on the healthy meals he LIKES. Even if some zucchini goes to waste. Even if there’s more fruit in the green smoothie than I like to use.

(FYI, just to show him how versatile I am, I came out of Sunflower Market with fruit only, no veggies.)

And to offset experiences like I’ve just described, there will be little rewards along the way. A few days later, my youngest son called me from home, even though he was supposed to be at his dad’s. This was the second time he had done this in recent memory.

He said, “Please can I just eat dinner here? I’ll make it myself, and I know, I know–I’ll eat veggies and fruits first.” He had his food laid out on the counter, told me what he was making. He said, “I don’t want to eat dinner at Dad’s–he makes disgusting stuff.” Like what, I asked. Like boxed mac-n-cheeze, he said.

It’s working. They’re getting it. You can’t take a little tantrum here and there to represent their whole experience with your consistent, whole-foods lifestyle.