lesbian mom

Surviving my First Birthday Without my Dad

This week I’ve been rundown. I’ve been feeling the stress at work. I’ve also been missing my Dad. I felt like I used to feel approaching the 6th every month since he died on April 6th. I kept thinking, it’s not the 6th, so why am I so raw? Oh right. My birthday.

My birthday serves as not just another first that I have to get through in the year after his death, but also a reminder that I lost my Dad before I even turned 35. I reached an age that my Dad would never see me in. The last time he saw me I was 34. For some reason this just seems monumental to me; to reach an age he won’t ever know me during.

My Dad was a goofy guy. Every year on my birthday he called me and sang Happy Birthday. My Dad had a horrendous singing voice. I mean super awful. It was better if I could pick up the phone and hear it live. Because if I let it go to voicemail he would sing Happy Birthday, loudly and off key, as per usual, then leave a long rambling message starting with “Hi! This your Father! Your Dad! Happy Happy Birthday…” and then would devolve into another song this was completely made up.

He would talk and sing until the voicemail cut him off usually.

As I said, it was better to pick up and get it live, so he would only do the one rendition.

This morning we all went to the playground. Then I went to hot yoga. On my way home I found myself crying. I forget what song came on in my car but it suddenly hit me that I wouldn’t be getting a phone call this year. No horrible rendition of Happy Birthday.

It’s these little things that we take for granted that I miss the most. Not everyone who knew us knew that was a birthday tradition. I never even thought of it as a tradition until it wasn’t going to happen this year.

I received many Happy Birthdays from my friends and family this year. But no call from my Dad.

Grief is a funny thing. Unpredictable. I never know what memory will trigger it. I knew my birthday would be hard. I didn’t know it would be hard because he wasn’t going to call and sing to me.

It seems like such a stupid thing to cry about. Such a small thing to miss. His singing voice was truly bad. But it wasn’t about the singing. It was about my dad making me a priority and having fun and doing something silly to make me smile.

By the afternoon I was feeling okay. By the evening when some friends came over and my Mom I was feeling more positive. I don’t mind turning thirty-five. Aside from the term “advanced maternal age” now applying to me there’s not anything scary to me about aging (I’m not having more kids I just find that label moderately horrifying if I were to have more kids).

We had a nice meal and gluten free cupcakes which were surprisingly delicious.

If my Dad were here he would have sang. He would have enjoyed the food and I would have not realized how precious every second with him was. Because it wasn’t until he was gone that I truly appreciated his Happy Birthday renditions which to me would be the sweetest sound I could of heard today.

It is with grief and also hope that I enter thirty-five. I grieve my dad. But I have hope that the grief will ease. Hanging out with my kids and my family and friends eases the grief and helps easing into a new chapter without my Dad more bearable.

PCOS & Endometriosis Recipes

Beef Stew Paleo (Instant Pot recipe)

I used the instant pot for this. You can use a slow cooker- likely low for 5-6 hours. Or in a dutch oven or stew pot on the stovetop. That will take probably a couple hours to get a good simmer going and for it to thicken.

This also meets Whole 30 criteria.

  • 1 package beef stew meat
  • 1 butternut squash (you can use sweet potato) peeled and diced
  • 5-6 carrots peeled and diced
  • 1 pear (I used a standard green peel fat pear, mildly ripe, still somewhat firm)
  • 2 tbsp arrowroot powder (for thickening you don’t need this but without it will be thin broth)
  • 4 cups broth- bone broth or chicken broth low sodium
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • garlic 1 tsp minced
  • black pepper
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • if you have other veggies in your fridge that you want to use up feel free to add- kale or spinach would also be a good addition. The base recipe though is delicious on its own.

I put avocado oil in the instant pot and turned it on the “sauté” function on low. I added the meat. As I chopped the butternut squash and carrots and pear I added it all intermittently stirring.

I added a bit of broth to the pot while sautéing so it wouldn’t get too dry or stick to the bottom.

Then I added all the spices and the arrowroot powder. Stir it all together and make sure there are no arrowroot lumps…because that’s a thing that happens. If there are little white lumps in the stew at the end don’t freak out. It’s just arrowroot powder.

I did not peel the pear. You can if you don’t like peels.

After it was all in the pot, I added enough broth to cover it all and make it start to look like a soup. Then I put the lid on, turned the instant pot on low pressure setting and set for 8 minutes.

Mine was cooked through 8 minutes later. The carrots were a great consistency. I find that with pressure cookers you can overdo it and then it’s all just mush. I felt like with this setting and time it was all cooked perfectly- not mushy but cooked through.

I found the initial recipe in an Autoimmune Paleo cookbook. It didn’t have enough spices, and no onion- I didn’t use onion- but you definitely can and I probably will next time. I also felt like it could use some greens.

This stew was delicious as is though and easy with the instant pot.

The photo was right before the actual pressure cooking.