Friday, April 18, 2014

their grace.

Full on into the Easter season and there is much talk about grace and forgiveness, compassion, and the bonds between parent and child.

I've got my own story to tell.

These kids. Man. They save me. Every single day. Mostly from myself and the parts of me that are still so broken. I'm not the most patient person on the planet, and sometimes, especially when feeling really rushed for time on work-a-day mornings, I find my shallow reserves stretched taut.

Yesterday was just such a day. And when B plucked my pulled-too-tight last nerve, I snapped. And promptly told him he was behaving like a spoiled little brat. These are words I never use. These words stung behind my eyes, teary pinpricks of shame and regret, for the duration of my work day. It's my job to shower my kids in love and light. Not call them names.

So, yes, mornings can be rough. But mornings have also become a special time with my kiddos. As part of our new Life Schedule, I have them every morning before school. Though it be tightly scheduled time, I try to make the most of it. This often includes wild dancing in the bathroom while I finish getting ready and they get dressed. One of our favorites to sing and dance with is Michael Franti's "I'm Alive".

"Everybody wants me to be who they want me to be except you. I only wanna be with you..."

When I got home last night, I called the house to talk to B. I needed to tell him I was sorry. I needed him to know that he is nothing short of spectacular and that sometimes even Mamas say bad words that should never be spoken.

"Buddy, do you remember when I got so angry this morning? I just want you to know that I am really sorry. I shouldn't have gotten so angry, and I shouldn't have called you a bad name. You're a very good boy and I am very sorry."

"That's ok, Mommy. That's ok."

"Thank you, Buddy. I am still sorry, though".

"That's ok, Mommy."

They are endlessly patient with me. They humble me with their capacity to overlook my shortcomings and grant me their special kind of grace. They brighten my day. They save me. Over and over again.

Today, I hired a special little assistant for the morning. On our commute into work, our special song came on.

"Mama! It our song!"

"But when I'm feeling down, I only wanna be with you". 


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

muscle memory.

I found myself outside, playing soccer of all things, on an unseasonably warm April evening. Having shed my high heels and polka dots for more Monday-evening-Zumba-appropriate gear, I took some time before class to kick the ball around the street with my littles. Their giggles rolled through the air, and I found myself smiling along with them.

With each step, though, my left leg patiently, quietly whispered, “Step gently”. It’s odd, how a body remembers its injuries. Twenty-eight years after a horrible skiing accident, my knee balks at being touched. My nose was broken when I was four, and I still cannot watch a person on TV take a punch to the face without a flood of physical remembrance. Rain is predicted in the forearm that I may or may not have stress fractured during the years with no health insurance. And, now, the ankle injury of this past winter continues to hover, the pain of the experience fully healed, but not yet released. Perhaps never to be released?

What constitutes “healed”? By clinical definition, my ankle is no longer sprained. I have no pain. No swelling. No limp. No limitations. No other physical manifestations of the injury. While playing soccer in the street, there was no indication of anything being amiss. I was not wobbly. I did not buckle. I did not wince in discomfort. Yet it was there, every foot fall. That unmistakable essence of vulnerability. There was pain here. There will always be a unique type of difference where that pain existed.

Though it no longer hurts, though it be healed, it will never be the same. Hem tells us that what remains is actually stronger. Be that as it may, it will forever be altered by the experience. It’s amazing what our bodies remember.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

chasing the sun{set}.

I haven't had a sunset run in ages. I forgot how much I love running this time of day. 

And thus, I signal the close to one of the loveliest weekends I have had in a long time. 

Hope yours was splendid, too. 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

hello, gorgeous.

Of all the varied benefits of running, this found appreciation for, and observance of, nature ranks among the highest. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

muttering mama's guide to running.

I received a great question in the comments section yesterday, asking how I worked up to a half marathon. I never specifically set out with a goal, so the distance between those first Couch to 5K runs and the hills of West Point was not well thought out. But I guess there were things I did, and moments that I encountered, that brought me to where I am now.

1. I blogged about it. Ha! I can't lie...putting each step out there was, as previously mentioned, huge in accountability. It also provided the forum, mostly through FB, to connect with other runners. I also plan to join my local running club, because having people to talk, troubleshoot, train, and celebrate with is a huge boost. 

2. I needed it. My life has been shifting in incomprehensible ways, and running was/is my salvation. Whatever that motivation is defined as for you, so long as it is from within, it will propel you through the challenging spots. Define it. What is it for you? A testament to strength? A means to an end? A release? Something unique that only you can define? In yoga, we are taught to set a sankalpa, an intention. Running is no different. 

3. I was mindful of the milestones. I was talking to a friend the other day who said she is struggling with a running plateau. I distinctly recall the moments last summer when I crossed those same hurdles. The first was last April {a year ago, yesterday, incidentally. Thank you, Nike+ for logging everything!}, when I established my first route. I set a mileage goal and then created a route through my 'hood that was fun, and met the goal. The predictability of that increased my desire to run so much. I hadn't realized how frustrated I had been just running randomly. It became a more enjoyable activity once I had a set route, and it better allowed me to begin tracking progress. 

The second major milestone for me was in August when I was finally able to stop walking at each mile. I didn't necessarily do anything to get there...just was patient yet relentless...but I know, without a doubt that that was the day I became a runner. By my own definition. 

4. PLAYLIST. Music has been huge! I saw something on FB that said "Running is just dancing forward". YES!!!! So much yes. Find what moves your feet! 

5. I treated the time like a gift. I don't run because I should. I don't have to run. I get to run. Once it was a joy and a privilege, it was something I wanted to do all the damn time.

6. I entered a race. When I first began running it was that first 5K that prevented me from quitting. 

7. And of course, I gently but persistently upped the ante. I set Saturday mornings as my "long run", and each week (or at least every couple of weeks) I try to add a mile. If I can run three, then I can run four. If I can run 10, I can run 11. It may not always be feasible to add a full mile, but then just choose the increment that suits you -- quarter mile, half a mile. But with each increase you have accomplished something. 

8. Pinterest! I pinned so many of those inspirational running posters. And think about them regularly when I want to bail. 

9. I honored my body. Yoga taught me that. There is a difference between it hurting, and being hurt. Pushing beyond one's limits is a good thing, to an extent. It leads to exhilaration, until it leads to frustration. I needed to find that line for me. 

Confession: I walked up the last mega-hill in the race Sunday. My legs were jelly, and I was starting to trip over the tread on my sneakers. If I pushed, and fell, I may not have finished at all. So I sacrificed about a minute off my time, honored my limits, but then came back to finish super strong.

10. Of course, as evidenced by this past weekend, there is also an element of just going for it! Ha! I was not, by technical definition, prepared for this race. I knew I'd finish. But I never considered it would be within my "goal" time. Part of my reason for entering was knowing that, and letting go of it. Who cares if it's not within the goal? Just do it, and finish, and be proud. Turns out, I got to add "pleasantly surprised" to that list. {OK, fine, I got to add "ecstatically euphoric" to the list.}

And then, always. This.
But that may just be me... 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014


Back in the day, I installed a tracker on my blog. I liked to know who was peeking in on me. A while ago, I took it off, but started to miss it. Of course, then I had to think about why I was starting to miss it. I wonder about you all, you know. I wonder who you are, and why you come visit me here.

Most of you know the drill: this blog started as a way to document our lives with Down syndrome and to advocate for the normalcy of this grand journey. During that time, I connected with so many families, made friends, and hopefully changed some opinions. It is always rewarding when someone tells me that they were moved by what I wrote here or that it helped them in some way. That validation is treasured. It goes without saying that the tone and focus of this space has shifted. I find myself writing more and more about the changes happening in my life and family, and of course, running.                                                                                                                                                                                               
Incidentally, I've gotten more feedback about inspiring people as a runner than I ever did as a voice for the Ds community! Ha! So I guess, as they say, change is good.

Anyhoo. I put my tracker back on, just as a means of sating my own curiosity. Don't feel stalked or anything! I'm not trying to be all weird about it...but I can't help but wonder. Who are you? And why do you keep returning to read here? {And also, what on Earth did you Google to land here?!? The answers to that are riveting! I could do some analysis on it, but it's probably best that I don't.}

There are some locations that I immediately know who it is. Or at least can make a good guess. Largely because I know those folks. Either in real life, or through downysn/Facebook, and recognize those locations as friends. But there are just as many that are unknown entities. I find that fascinating.

I mean, I write as a means of escape, to get this crap out of my own head, making it hard to comprehend why folks come here of their own volition to read the silliness I post. Is it as simple as you are the voyeur to my exhibitionist? Symbiosis in bloggity form.

Perhaps I needn't wonder so much. Just know that I am always grateful for the folks who choose, time and again, to be a part of this story with me. Whoever you may be.

Monday, April 7, 2014

2:14:49 - the day after

That's the official official.

To say I am pleased with these results is an understatement. 

To say that I am a bit sore and tired today is even a bit more of an understatement. For those of you who may not be familiar with our nation's military academy, just know that they built it into the side of a mountain. Starting on the banks of the Hudson and going straight up.

Interestingly, I went for a brief walk around campus at lunch to loosen up and felt tons better than I have sitting at my desk. So as odd as this sounds to my own ears {and as much as my hip flexors are all like, "whoa, simmer down, tough girl"} I may take a short jog after work. Mark it down: my very first recovery run! Ha! 

Completely. Totally. Stupendously worth it.