My Valentine’s Gift

I should probably start by saying Valentine’s Day isn’t something we really celebrate in our house – at least not in any over-the-top fashion. Tony and I may exchange cards and we might make a special dessert or something, but rarely does it go beyond that.

This year will be a bit of an exception. What started out as an idea to abstain while observing Lent, has turned into something else altogether. Although I’m not doing it directly for my kids or for Tony, in the long run it really is.

For Valentine’s Day, I’m giving up my decade-long love of Dt. Pepsi and plan to quit drinking it for good. That’s right, no more Dt. Pepsi for me… You may not be able to tell, but this is going to be very hard for me.

How is that a gift?
Well, initially, I’m nearly certain it’s not going to feel like a gift. To anyone. I’m going to be cranky. And tired. And cranky-tired.

Do they make a version of Snickers’, or, in even more recent pop culture, Choe Kim’s “hangry” for “I’m pissed off because I need a Dt. Pepsi?” Maybe “Dt. Pepissy?” (If that goes on to become a common phrase, you read it here first.)

And all of these cranky/tired feelings are probably going to come out on the people closest to me… so sorry in advance family, friends and co-worker’s for the next few weeks of abnormal bitchiness. I promise I will regain some sense of humanity and function closer to normal after my extreme caffeine and artificial sweetener withdrawal wear off.

So again, how is this a gift?
In recent years we’ve discovered there is some level of Alzheimer’s in our extended family. While I admittedly don’t know a ton about Alzheimer’s, I know there are a couple of factors thanks to the good ol’ Internet:

  1. Aging. I’m getting older, and only will continue to do so. Boo. I know the risk isn’t really great until you’re over 65, but I’m being proactive. I want to live a long, long time. And be active and remember shit the whole time.
  2. Family History. It’s in my family. To the best of my knowledge, I don’t have a first-degree relative (parent or sibling) with it, but my mom does. So it’s close enough that I’m not comfortable ignoring it.
  3. Gender. I’m girl, and since us ladies tend to live longer, there are higher rates of occurance in Alzheimer’s than with guys.
  4. Environmental Factors. What are they? Well, honestly I don’t know, but I’ve heard a lot about the artificial sweeteners that go into diet sodas. They’re not good for you (especially when consumed in excess, like I tend to do) and have been linked to all types of health issues, like cancer and Alzheimer’s in some research… couldn’t tell you how credible that is, but it’s scary enough that it’s on my mind.

Bottom line, I want to be around for my family for a long time. I want to go on lots of adventures with Tony and to be a big part of my kid’s kid’s lives. I want to do it all and remember it all. And that’s my gift. To Tony. To my kids. To myself.

Now please help me remember this during the course of the coming weeks and months when I’m begging for a Dt. Pepsi.

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