Thursday, May 21, 2015

summer bucket list.

Last summer, I watched as a former colleague posted wonderful photos of her and her little boy partaking of joyful adventures...each labeled with a bucket list number. Checking off the items, quantifying the memories, stuffing those precious sunlight-filled childhood memories with all the happy. 

I want that. 

They deserve that. My two littles have mastered the past 18 months like tiny bosses. They have adjusted, adapted, loved whole-heartedly, and accepted this new reality with so very few hiccups. I'm so incredibly proud of them, of M, and of myself. I want to spend this summer working on some new memories. 

Already in a few hours some new items were added to the list. B wants to play every sport under the sun: baseball, basketball, soccer, frisbee. L wants to cook dinner one night. They both want to go on a hike. They can't wait to be in charge for a day. 

It's gonna be an awesome summer. #summer2015bucketlist 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

fall down seven times, stand up eight.

I snatched this title from a Japanese proverb because as I celebrate my eighth Mother's Day, it seems only fitting.

Motherhood, man. It has been a trip. And sometimes I feel as if I've performed very, very poorly. I've spent hours sobbing into my pillow, or the Kleenex in my therapist's office, or onto the shoulders of my most trusted emissaries as I've struggled with my identity as a mother. Should I even have ever had the audacity to attempt to become one. I work with 18-22 year olds, predominantly. And often, my young ladies will tell me they aren't sure they ever wish to become mothers. I've often replied, "I haven't decided yet either." I wish it wasn't so true. 

I'm impatient. And I'm selfish. And I get easily overwhelmed and frustrated and irritated. I get like this...

I want what I want when I want it and my children do not give a singular fuck about that. And for all my "Welcome to Holland" traipsing through the tulips "L has taught me to slow down and enjoy the journey" that I try soooooo very hard to embody, the truth is, when it takes her 27 minutes to use the ladies' room or she spills all of her food all over her entire self again, I could scream. Or when my boy is also slightly inconvenienced and hungry and you suddenly have two irrational beasts attempting to out tantrum each other. {and for the record, I am the other one}

Motherhood has been so difficult and it hasn't come naturally to me and if you've been reading here for some time you already know that. And so for the past seven Mother's Days, I've been far more concerned about the presents coming my way, figuring out how to NOT spend all day with my creatures, and sleeping in until at least some number closer to double digits than usual...and less so about the actual job of mothering for which I'm being "honored". 

Of course. It's a new year. And a new kind of Mother's Day. My eighth one. And I've got this new lifey thing kind of happening and this year, it felt good and earned and it felt like it was all about them. I feel like life in The Penthouse has made me a mom in a way I never was before. I have noticed (and written) about this from time to time over the past 18 months, but this day sort of felt like the culmination of the process, despite it's general Hallmarky schmaltz. I wasn't even pissed when L woke me up by climbing into bed with me at 6:30am. I mean, how could I be? It was following the suit of this entire weekend...

...Friday, quick pulled pork dinner and a trip to Toys R Us to buy outdoor toys with stashed away birthday/Christmas money. 

cuz this should totally last more than 15 minutes, right?

...Saturday, breakfast, a trip to the track where they again let me get four miles of running in before a rewarding trip to the playground where B did his best baby American Ninja Warrior impression on the jungle gym. Showers, chill out time {B and I learned how to fly his new glider. unscathed.} and then dinner with my mama and her mama and my daddy and my sister and my little-r niece. 

freckles. sigh.

...Sunday, 6:30 wake up call, handmade gifts, yoga and free babysitting by The Runner and JT {during which time the kids played wiffleball and I got to go for a balmy run}. And lunch, which looked like a disaster when a persistent bee met L's phobia and the hysterics were for real...but some minor adjustments and suddenly we were all picnic in the park about it. My big blanket. Watching his cub and my cubs bond. Ice cream. So much love. All of the love. 

this does not suck. at all.

At this very moment, they are tucked in their beds, I am sitting on my front porch with an adult beverage and nighttime sounds, and I feel like a mom. I was reminded to take a moment and recognize that I've got happy, healthy, fantastic children...and that I am part of the reason for that. I was called brave and spectacular. 

I make about 456,324,323,234 mistakes per day with them {sometimes before breakfast even}. I ask them daily to grant me patience. They show me their grace with tiny arms around my neck and soft kisses. 

I'll never be perfect at this gig. Not ever. Because of all the selfish, impatient, hangry stuff listed above. I am glad I've got such wonderful teachers, though, because they are nothing but delicious amazements. 

Happy Mother's Day to everyone celebrating, or reflecting, in whatever way best serves you. And for perhaps, the very first time ever, Happy Mother's Day, to me. 

Sunday, April 26, 2015

all of the outside.

It snowed three times this week, so I don't know how truly accurate this statement is, but it would appear that Spring is here. This weekend has been vastly outside, and it has been marvelous. 

One of the difficult aspects of my new life is that making time to run on the weekends the kids are with me can be a challenge. They aren't old enough to be left alone, they aren't able {or willing} to run with me, and I can't afford to pay a sitter every time I want to go run. I've had to get a little creative, and luckily I've got good peeps in my corner, including M, who will keep the kiddies for me while I log some miles. But, it's not always easy to rely on others. Enter the school track. 

Where can I run where I can watch them, they don't have to run with me, but they'll also be occupied? Turns out my big blanket, a bag full of balls and bubbles and frisbees, and of course snacks, on a sunshiney Saturday afternoon is exactly the remedy to my childcare issue. 

And of course, this just makes my heart explode with hope, joy, and pride. He ran a 1/4 mile with me! 

Their reward for giving me 36:59 of running time was the equivalent at the playground! And also, someone needs to design a running track with a playground right in the middle. Mkthanks.

Thankfully, the only other patrons of the track included a mom and her two kids doing exactly the same thing and a couple with a jogging stroller. It was nice to know that everyone in the vicinity was welcoming of a couple little kids that were on and off the track! 

Running time was followed by a Welcome Spring barbecue with a few of my favorite peoples, and this morning opened to M picking up the boy child for a date with a few of their favorite peoples. 

L and I were invited by The Runner and JT to go a for a hike -- L's first! 

She looks excited by I tell you she asked to return to the car within the first 10 minutes. The lake path is 1.75 miles. I was nervous! 

But with a little coaxing and cheering from her fan club, and a helping hand {or piggy back ride} when needed, she did it. Her first hike on an absolute stunner of a day. 

And of course, single dad runners are nothing but gracious to single mama runners and so JT and The Runner kept L busy with frisbee tag so that I could log in another 5K at the lake. The day did not suck, I'll tell you that.

I may even hit 90 miles for April. Boom. And that view for days.

Sunday, April 19, 2015


Last Sunday...

The Runner: Hey, do we have plans next Sunday?
Me: Nope. Why?
The Runner: Do you wanna run a half marathon? 

This Sunday. Today....

5am wake up alarm. My 5:30am FB post: It's 5:30am. This is dumb. Running is dumb. Races are dumb. Not being asleep right now is dumb. 

6:30am packet pick up. Freezing. And comically adorned with "Run like hell" comments when the picture was posted. 

7:00am start. Still freezing. And tired. 

8:59:20am crossing the finish line. 

That translates to a finish of 1 hour 59 minutes and 20 seconds for my third half-marathon. {The first two being 2:14:49 and 2:16:30.} I'm still in stunned disbelief. 

Because it was so last minute and sort of nonchalant this wasn't a "race" as much as it was a highly organized and expensive long run, right? Just me and The Runner through his hometown. Or so the story goes.

Yeah, right. There were PRs to be set. 

This feels euphoric and beautiful and gratifying. This feels like how it's supposed to feel. It hurts, yes, but it feels amazing. 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

JT and the R-Word.

Folks, last night I had the exact experience everyone hopes for. All of us parents, or those of us who have friends with children. The advocates.

The Runner has a son, JT, and he just turned 13. Last night, I joined a little merry band of teenagers to celebrate birthday shenanigans. In the car, the three boys were doing what 13 year old boys do. Bantering and being silly. Trying to outdo each other with theatrical renditions of pop 40 hits, and a fair amount of good natured trash talk.

Half hour into the ride, the first "r*tard" slipped out. I ignored it. I'm still working on establishing a relationship with JT and these were his friends and I decided to wait it out. A few minutes later, the second one emanated from the back.

Quietly, thinking only The Runner could hear me I said, "I should address that?" {not asking permission, for the record, just establishing the protocol.}

From the backseat, louder and with assertion JT said, "Yes. You should. Or maybe I will."

Have at it, my friend.

Again with the theatrics, he cleared his throat like a bold orator and calmly explained to his two buddies, at the height of peer pressure-y teen hoopla, that it was not ok to use that word.

One of the kids asked why. I said, "Well, I have a daughter..." The other kid said, "That's right. He told me about her" {this made my heart burst, btw}. I showed them L's picture.

There was a few minutes of brief discussion. They talked about the kids at their school who would or wouldn't care if they had been asked to refrain from using particular words. And then they morphed into some other conversation, as I hoped that their worldview had just been expanded a bit.

Later, I told The Runner how proud I was of his son. Looking back at myself at 13, I can't say how I would have handled it. Even at 40, and being L's voice these last buncha years, I felt that hesitation. It makes me happy that L has a brand, spanking new advocate in her life. And one who's sort of on the front line of changing the generations behind mine.

It was good stuff. My heart was glad.

L and The Runner.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

the space between eight and ten.

I woke up in a happy place today. The sun was shining and only a very little amount of snow continues to be visible in my neighborhood. It was chilly and there was a beast of wind, but I set out on my hilly farmland route to do some sunshiney miles.

Six? Or eight? Or ten?

Eight miles has become my yoga pants of distance running. Just the right amount of comfy but still stylish enough for public consumption. Since November, I've only done one other 10 miler. I wanted to go for 10 on my trail last weekend but as I hit the Mile 4 marker I focused heavily on the ice, and the isolation of mile 4-5, and my absence of pepper spray...and so I turned around. All valid reasons but still mostly just excuses.

And so today, as I was getting warmed up and starting to set my mental goal I engaged in a dialogue with that inner self.

I could always do six. That's perfectly respectable. But eight would be better. And it's hilly and there's a vicious headwind. I suppose I could do ten. I really should do ten but I've been stuck these many recent weeks at eight.

And the voice rose up: The only way to stop being stuck at eight is to run ten.

And so ten I ran. Just like that. Mental shift.

Incidentally, in late March 2014 I ran nine miles in 1:33:44. Today I ran my ten miles in 1:33:16. And friends, it felt magnificent.

Somewhere, in the space between eight and ten, lies everything. The choice. The determination. The fight. The fire in the belly. The decision to stop being stuck. Such is life.