This morning my sweet 2-year-old boy delicately cupped my chin in his dimpled hands, widened his bright, brown eyes, and said to me, “Do laundry. Make dinner.”
I have to admit I was expecting him to profess his unfettered love to me, not give me a to-do list.
I laughed at this unexpected moment but if I’m completely honest, my heart felt an ounce heavier, too.
Lately I’ve felt like my life has been reduced to a list of menial tasks. Many of my friends have careers outside of the home or they at least work part-time. I’ve drastically cut back on the amount of freelance work I do. I have one chapter of the novel I say I’m writing, and it’s not a very good chapter either. When I homeschooled the older children, I at least felt like that was my job. I was a teacher. I was imparting great wisdom to these impressionable souls gifted to me. These days I feel like I am simply the person who cleans up spills, folds clothes, and makes sure permission slips are signed and returned to school.
I don’t write much. I blog sporadically and am always apologizing for my vapid posts. I don’t run (still resting…and hurting. Sigh). I don’t homeschool. Here’s what I do do: I clean. I nag. I wipe snotty noses. I schlep kids around. I worry that I’m doing it all wrong, that I am ruining my kids. I feel like no one notices all that I do. I feel taken for granted, used, and ignored. Wah, wah, wah. Please tell me you have felt this way before, too.
A friend of mine texted me a few weeks ago and asked me if I ever feel invisible. Um, yes. All of the time. I’ve wondered what would happen if I slipped quietly away. Of course, the world would still turn. But my household? It would be even more chaotic and discombobulated than it is now. I remember reading Ladder of Years by Anne Tyler before I had any children and being miffed with the heroine’s selfish behavior. In the novel, 40-year-old Delia Grinstead strolls down a shoreline and just keeps walking, abandoning her husband and three older children. The decision is not a premeditated one, and there was no big fight or breaking point that forced her to walk away from it all. She leaves more on an impulsive whim because she is tired of feeling like a “tiny gnat buzzing around her family’s edges.”
I didn’t get it then. I could not empathize with Delia. Today I have more insight. Today I sometimes feel like that gnat, too, that everyone is swatting away and doesn’t want around to bug them about picking up dirty laundry off the floor or being kind to their siblings.
I’ve taken two pregnancy tests recently (both were negative), not because I really thought I was pregnant (it would have been a miracle) and not even because I am desperately longing for another baby, although I would certainly embrace a new, little life if one was given to me. It was more out of a need to feel useful, to have a sense of purpose, and duty, to be more than a pesky gnat. I’ve written before that babies, while certainly physically exhausting, are beautifully simple to me. Their needs and wants are one in the same. I nurse them when they cry, and they are at least briefly satisfied. They want only mama. I have an excuse to “do nothing” except care for my baby. People allow you that when you have a newborn but when you have older kids, you need to be team manager for the soccer team and make homemade snacks. Or there’s the pressure – real or perhaps just perceived – because you’re “just” an at-home mom.
Lately I’ve found myself pining for those simple, early days of motherhood when it was just my baby and me in a cathedral sort of calm, cloistered off from the rest of the world and to-do lists. The miracle of what happened within my body – the laborious process of growing a human – was obvious as I held the baby in my arms. When I had that pregnancy bump, it was a visible sign of sacrificial love. Those first smiles were big returns for my investment. I felt needed. I had a great purpose. The babies needed my womb to house them. As newborns, they needed my milk and arms to comfort them. As my kids grow older, I feel more like a glorified waitress and maid. My job is to serve (and serve again) and pick up after them, and I’d better not forget to send water bottles with them to school or soccer practice. Sure, there are plenty of bigger teaching moments. I know mothers do far more than keep house, but I do struggle with this dying to self and all this quiet, unnoticed work. There has been a longing in my heart for little ones to nurture – as if I don’t still have young children underfoot (my oldest isn’t even 9 yet, but she’s getting very close!).
I could blame my internal struggle on society and the push for women to do it all. It’s easy to feel like a slacker when you only have four kids whom you no longer homeschool, and you don’t work outside of the home, and your husband even hired a house cleaning service to help you out for a bit. I mean, what exactly do I do all day?
I don’t watch TV. I don’t squander hours on Facebook. I do go to library story time with two littles. I read lots of books. I search for MIA shoes and socks. I bake muffins with sous chefs at my side. I make sure soccer cleats and shin guards are in their place for practice and that soccer balls are round with ample air. I meal plan. I wash dishes. I wipe counters. I kiss boo-boos. I encourage. I tickle. I wrestle wiggly toddlers into diapers.
But too often I am focused on all that I don’t do and on all that I lack. Or I look at my work and think it’s so mundane and useless. What’s the point? Many times I dwell on all that I do wrong: How I may have handled the emotional, raging child the wrong way, how I bark orders too much in the morning to ensure we make it to school on time, how I bite my nails, or ply my kids with Goldfish instead of making homemade crackers from the recipe I found when I was pregnant with my first. (I’m already forgetting about the homemade, healthy pumpkin muffins we made just this week.)
Then I discover notes like this: A “just because” note that should remind me that all this work I do – the routine stuff and the more important stuff too – has meaning that transcends hazardous waste removal.
Those little people do notice and they do love you even when their actions, their hurling of phrases like “I hate you” pierce your heart and cause you to collapse into a heap of self-doubt (or maybe that’s just me).
And you’re probably doing a better job than you think like this must-see video reveals. (Do watch it when you get a chance. My babysitter sent it to me recently, and it was just the pick-me-up I needed.)
I’m traveling through a rough patch right now. People said it would get easier as my kids grew older. I feel like it gets lonelier. I feel more powerless than ever before. There are all these unique people in my midst who have strong wills and their own ideas of how to live their lives. Pregnancy, nursing, babywearing – these were all more obvious signs of love. Now I am more hidden. And so is my work. Being a mom deals far more with that which is invisible. Love cannot be quantified, counted, or priced. It can only be given. Sometimes it’s given in more obvious ways like when you hold a tired child. Sometimes it’s doled out in meal after meal you serve day after day. Sometimes love is offered in a “no, you can’t have an iPod touch even if every other almost 9-year-old in the world has one.” When you give that love, you’re only given rejection and anger in return. Your work is hard. It’s tireless. It brings joy, but it hurts a lot, too. There’s nothing extravagant about it. I am not building skyscrapers. I am not piecing together perfect prose. I’m not saving lives as my husband does on an almost daily basis. There are occasional love notes and hand-picked flowers (thank God for those gifts of gratitude), but there are no raises, promotions, great accolades, and I’ll certainly never be up for a Pulitzer Prize, Grammy, or even finish number one in a race. No podium climbing for me, but there’s another ascending, a drawing closer to Love itself. Motherhood is surely a path to sanctity, especially if we give our work – even the most tedious tasks a greater purpose.
The Jewish philosopher Martin Buber wisely stated, “It is not the nature of our work, but its consecration that is the vital thing.”
All that I have and all that I do, the visible and the invisible – from the bum-wiping to the limit-setting – is not only for my family but for the greater glory as well.
The other day I had fall fever. Since I only have two little ones at home now I decided to go out to lunch and then run a few errands, including stopping by the local bookstore. (My first mistake was assuming that not having the two older children who are actually mostly helpful these days when we have stuff to get accomplished would somehow make it easier to take on the world.) I ordered roasted butternut squash soup. It was creamy and a beautiful orange. Its vibrant hue matched Thomas’s shirt. Mary Elizabeth indulged in a pumpkin sugar cookie to keep up with the orange-themed day.
Thomas screeched a few times during lunch, but he did quite well and more food ended up in his mouth than on his face and his belly. He did spill his cup of ice water, and the employee seemed mildly annoyed when I asked for help cleaning it up after I’d tried to soak up the lake with a generous stack of napkins. Whatever. Welcome to the restaurant industry. Spills happen.
The fall breeze outside, a perennially satisfying bowl of soup swimming in my tummy, and all that orange had me aglow with optimism, so I decided we definitely could handle a few more stops before heading home for quiet time.
Next up was the bookstore. I was looking for a birthday gift for an 8-year-old boy. Mary Elizabeth quietly perused a book while Thomas brought a menagerie of stuffed animals to my feet. “You’ll have to help me clean those up, okay?” I say.
“Kay!” he says agreeably.
But when it came time to return all of creation to its proper place, he shouted, “No!” and ran away on his quick, fat feet. I chased after him and when I scooped him up in my arms, I knew he had made me a wonderful, stinky present.
“Mary Elizabeth, it’s time to go,” I announce. Poop is always our cue to leave.
“One more book?”
I have trouble saying no to more book-perusing. “One more book. But that’s it.”
Of course, after that one more book was closed, there was the request for one more book. Fortunately, I didn’t have to squabble with her too much, and she got up from her cozy, reading spot to follow me. Thomas, on the other hand, shouted, “No!” once again when I approached him. I handed a book I was buying to the little stinker (in more ways than one) and made a game out of making it to the cash registers.
Tantrum number one averted. She scores! Go, Mommy!
Once at the cash register, I watch anxiously as a customer and the cashier debate about whether he should purchase the membership card. Enough with the chit-chat already, I thought. Thomas is pulling every single colorful gift bag from a display. “Put that back, Thomas, please.”
Now the the cashier and customer are bantering about his clever email address, which I didn’t catch. I honestly don’t care how clever his email address is. Just check out already. The ridiculously long transaction finally comes to a close, and the woman smiles and says, “Next.”
I scramble to clean up the gift bags. Thomas is on to a nearby display of bobble heads. Mary Elizabeth eyes the ugliest bobble head I’ve ever seen. The child is like a crow and typically drawn to pretty, shiny things, but she picks up the ugly bobble head, which I see now is marketed as a Despicable Me character. “I wish I could get this,” she says, which really is a nice way of saying, “Why can’t you be an awesome Mommy and buy me this random piece of junk?”
“Why?” I ask, not meaning to sound quite so disgusted.
She looks at the doll’s odd face. “Because I like its pointy nose.” Who doesn’t like pointy noses? And what house and family doesn’t need a bobble head with a really pointy nose?
“Please put it back,” I say. She stares at it longingly, but she does put it back. In the process, she knocks down a tower of bobble heads. Thomas picks one up and chucks it. The kid’s got quite the arm. I’ll give him that.
We finally make it to the smiling cashier who immediately begins trying to get me to sign up for the membership card thingy. “No, thank you.”
“I wish I could have a piece of chocolate,” Mary Elizabeth says as she eyes the delicious display of chocolate enclosed in glittery-gold wrappers.
“Chocolattteeeeee!” Thomas chimes in.
“You guys just had a cookie,” I say.
“Cookie, cookie,” Thomas says hopefully with his gloriously big, brown eyes shining at me, thinking that my saying the word “cookie” means he’s getting another one.
I resist his charms, although I’m starting to think binging on chocolate might be nice. “No. You already ate the cookie,” I say.
And now its gooey deliciousness is in your pants, I think.
I’m scrambling to find my wallet in the black hole I call my purse where diapers, wipes, enough snacks to fill a pantry, myriad treasures (AKA rocks, pieces of pinestraw, etc.) my kids have gifted me with, and water bottles call their home as the cashier, who seems impervious to the fact that I have two antsy kids in my wake, is asking me if I want to grab one more children’s book to get a $1 off the children’s book I’m already purchasing during their special fall promotion.
“I…” I stammer, considering if I should venture back to the kids’ section and grab another book for the sake of a buck.
Thomas makes the decision for us by picking up an audio book and hurling it, nearly missing another customer. I mumble an apology and watch as he then follows after it like a skilled Labrador retriever but before he can grab the box, I get to to it. I put it back, and he comes at me like I’ve just stolen a prize duck and barrels into me. I lift him and try to hold him in the way kind, patient mothers do, but his arms are flailing and he’s going for the hair now and climbing me like a crazed monkey. He is crying and screeching and shaking with a fierce anger. No diffusing this titanic tantrum.
“No, thank you,” I tell the cashier.
“Are you sure?”
“I think he’s reached his limit,” I say.
“I understand,” she says.
Do you? I wonder.
“Do you need gift receipts with either of these books?”
You don’t understand, you little liar. Just let me pay. Now.
“Oh, you smell,” I say to Thomas since I now have him in the football hold and my nose is closer to the offensive bum.
“He does,” the cashier says.
Well, I’ve been trying to hightail it out of here and would have been finished by now if you hadn’t told me about every single promotion in this store.
“I am sorry,” I say.
“Don’t be,” she says.
Oh, don’t worry, I’m not really.
Finally, she hands me my purchase and the receipt, and we flee for the door.
I stuff a stinky, squawking 2-year-old in to his carseat, and I realize that I had completely forgotten why moms of 2-year-olds stay holed up in their homes. We were supposed to stop by the grocery store to pick up a few items, but my momnesia – the amazing ability mothers have to forget about everything that’s less than desirable in the trenches of motherhood from labor pains to the bone-aching exhaustion of chasing after rogue littles day after day – was quickly fading, and I recalled our trip to Kroger last week and how Thomas threw every item I put in the cart on the ground and giggled at his hilariousness, watching Mommy bend over again and again to pick up whatever he’d tossed out of the cart. How he reached the items remains a mystery to me. He was buckled in the front part of the cart; yet, his arms somehow developed an elastic ability and reached the contents with ease.
The kids calmed down in the car. I savored the silence and took a few deep breaths and imagined myself eating all that chocolate. We made it home where after I tackled the atomic waste in my boy’s pants (I don’t attempt to change his diaper anywhere but home unless it is an absolute emergency because of the wrestling match that ensues and because poop always ends up somewhere on my body) we three snuggled together as I read a stack of books to them. In a mess of arms still glazed with cookie, we reclaimed our peace; the feudal lord called a toddler yielded and leaned into my body; the 4-year-old rested her head upon my shoulder. I closed the last book. We cuddled some more, and the momnesisa started again. Soon enough I would venture outside this lovely cloister where I’d risk my sanity again and try to do too much with a 2-year-old and 4-year-old in tow. But for now, I’ve forgotten the harrowing trip to the bookstore. Or maybe I just don’t care because in that moment, I am unabashedly happy and so are my children, and it is this brand of bliss that keeps me coming back for more.
My husband planned an impromptu trip to the mountains last week. This was the same week we already had scheduled a weekend trip to Nashville. When my husband shared the news, I tried not to panic thinking about all of the things I had planned on accomplishing during the two days we’d unexpectedly be away. I did a pretty good job of it (or at least I faked cool with my inner thespian; remember I minored in theatre and almost found at the Tisch School of Arts). Really, I never ended up being too frazzled despite having to pack for another trip this Friday. Two trips in one week with four littles is quite the feat. This week has been another story. I keep making mental gaffes. The clutter is driving me crazy. I’m reading The Dirty Life for book club, and I remember my husband’s short-lived leave-it-all-behind fantasy of buying a chunk of land and becoming completely self-sufficient and how I thought well, maybe our big brood could handle a farm. If my husband were to bring up the thought right now, I’d probably screech, “I can’t even get my kids to put their dirty clothes in the hamper or to put their shoes in their designated shoe baskets and you think they will help us till the land?”
Maybe this is precisely why I needed some mountain air.
The weather was perfect and before too long Georgia will be enveloped in unbearable heat and humidity. I’ll take the nice days when I can.
Plus, my husband, who has recently taken up fly fishing, caught his biggest trout yet. It’s a beauty, no? My 8-year-old helped reel it in, and the other girls had a chance to “pet” the fish before my husband returned it to its watery world.
As for my baby boy, well, he’s growing up.
He probably looks ages older to any of my readers who have stuck around despite the dearth of posts. Cutting back on blogging has been a blessing overall, but I do miss all the friends I “met” in cyberspace as well as the friends who used to pop in to regularly say hi. My regular readership has shrunk dramatically. I don’t know this for sure. I stopped checking any sort of stats long ago, but I base it on the fact that my mom and good friend Kris are usually the only folks who comment. I’m okay with that. Today I was reading a new blog I love – The Hungry Runner Girl (more on running in a bit) – and discovered a “how to” blogging post that talked about how she devotes 25 hours a week to blogging, which has become an income source for her. Her blog is very popular, so I believe it. After my infamous extended breastfeeding post, my traffic exploded. That’s when the burnout really started creeping in because I felt like I couldn’t keep up with the sheer volume of emails I was receiving. Sometimes I’m not sure how I had anytime to blog or be online much. My days are jam-packed, and sometimes just keeping up with email (and I get significantly less these days; most of it is from personal friends, family, or contacts related to my kids’ activities or education) is really difficult.
We’d been trucking along quite well with homeschooling, but we’ve fallen behind just a bit. However, I read a great tweet from Teaching Your Child that put my mind at ease (at least for the time being): “To homeschool or to unschool??? That is the question… Both, is a sufficient answer.” So lately we’ve been doing a little more “unschooling” than my Type A self typically allows. And you know what? Two out of four kids can still read. Oldest hasn’t forgotten how to do math. Preschooler still doesn’t recognize all her letters but whatever. Life is rich and good. (That’s exactly how I was feeling when I first drafted this post, but then it sat in my “draft” folder and I had “one of those days” and contacted the local parochial school about openings for next year. Sheesh.)
And that’s really the point of this post. Not homeschooling or blogging. Or big fish stories. Or babies growing up too quickly. It’s about living a rich, good, deep, and meaningful life. I feel like I’m doing just that right now. Our family has had a lot of death to deal with this year. I’m not going to get all maudlin on you or share all the sad details, but we’ve lost three family members (including a father of four and a teenager) and a friend of the family in the past year. It hasn’t been easy. In some ways, I’ve been detached from some of it simply because the funerals were out of town and I was unable to make two out of three of the family ones. But one of the loved ones we lost had a favorite mantra that he embraced well before his pancreatic cancer diagnosis: Every day is a gift.
This was the mantra of a brilliant man. Seriously. He was a card-carrying Mensa Member. But he found joy in the simplest of truths: Every day we are blessed with in this broken world with our broken selves is indeed a gift.
I’ve decided to start living my life like I believe this.
I started running again this past summer after a looonnnng break – like I didn’t run more than a sluggish mile here and there for almost 7ish years. I still was exercising because I enjoy it and make it a priority so I’ll be healthy and strong enough to rise up to the exhausting task of being a mom to little ones. But running? Nope. It seemed like a relic of my past that would never again be unearthed.
In my pre-mom days, I regularly logged in 30 miles a week. Running graced my body and soul with health. Then an injury happened. It wouldn’t go away. And then I got pregnant. And then I got pregnant again and…well, you know. So I decided running just wasn’t something for me. But last spring a friend invited my two older girls and me to run in a fundraising fun run for her kids’ school. I ran a mile fun run beside my girls. My then 5-year-old fell into a quick rhythm. I kept telling her she could slow down; this only made her go faster. She ended up winning first place for her age group. I was impressed. I was also invigorated. It felt great to run again even if it was just for one mile. I thought about taking up running again right then and there, but I was afraid. I was afraid of failure. I was afraid I’d be as slow as a slug when I used to be fairly fast. I was afraid it was impossible to even think about training for a big race (and that’s what I really wanted to do was to run a half marathon or maybe even a marathon again) when I was a busy wife and mom for four. So I never bought new running shoes. I continued to go on walks or listen to Jillian Michael bark orders at me during her 30-Day Shred (great, effective, and quick workouts, by the way, for busy moms). Then I met Katie. She was new to my neighborhood and a former runner, too, although she had kept up with running more than I had. Somehow it came up that I missed running and wanted to get back into it. She was excited. She wanted to run more again and was looking for a running buddy, so we made plans to meet bright and early the next week for a slow 3-miler. I owe my newfound happiness to this dear friend. I really do. She got me running and talking and believing that it was okay to do something just for myself as a mom. She also was crazy enough to get up at 5 am to meet me for 5:30 runs even in the rain. She pushes me, too. She recently was the first place female finisher in a local 5K.
Then came Rachel. Katie met her through a mutual friend. We all ran a long run one weekend and another running partnership and friendship were cemented. Rachel brought Lyndie into our herd. It’s not always the four of us running together, but sometimes it is. It depends on the day and whether or not one of our kids spent the day puking from a bug, but we’re a loyal, tight group. We stick together. We each bring our own running strengths as well as weaknesses to the pavement. We support each other, and we problem-solve. Just how do you deal with an irrational but extremely stubborn preschooler anyway?
Ever since that first (and scary) 3 miles back in the summer, I’ve been running. I do a few solo runs here and there, but mostly I’m with my girls. I’ve also been solidifying close relationships with fellow running moms. Rachel, who ran Boston in 2011, has helped me train the right way. She also hooked me up with the right gear and let me borrow her arm sleeves for race day. She invited me to run a memorial run for Boston. She makes me want to be a better runner, a better person. Katie, like I said, is the one who gave me the courage to lace up my running shoes again after a terribly long hiatus. She’s the kind of friend whom I could call in a parenthing pinch, and she’d be there (yes, she’d run to my side to help). She has even watched three of my kids, so I could find a cloister of calm at the grocery store. Lyndie is one of those women you meet who possesses a quiet strength. She’s got your back even if you don’t hear her yakking or pounding the pavement. Her peaceful presence conveys that she knows that in and with God she is enough. Lyndie and all the girls patiently listen to my rambling. I’m the big talker in the group. Running incites verbal diarrhea in me. It’s even worse than blogging. Seriously, the things that come out of my mouth.
This past Saturday I wasn’t talking much though. I was quiet and reflecting running through a total monsoon in the St. Jude’s Country Music Marathon in Nashville. This was my first big race other than a local 10K since I started running again. The weather was lousy and my feet resembled raisins after the race, but my spirits were high and I was happy with my run. I’ve got the itch again and have already signed up for another half in October with plans to run another one in December. My husband is the real one who rocked the rainy race day though. He juggled four kids in a torrential downpour. Oh, and did I mention my 57ish (not sure of his exact age) uncle ran the full marathon on Saturday? So did a mama-friend from my Bradley Birthing class I took when I was pregnant with my first, and someone I met at the Edith Stein Conference at Notre Dame back in February ran the half as well. Running brings people together.
Following the Boston bombings, my running fever heightened. It’s like the tweet that went viral said: “If you’re trying to defeat the human spirit, runners are the wrong group to target.” One of the biggest Google trends after the bombings was “qualify for Boston.” I was one of those crazy hopefuls who Googled just that. Yup, I’ve added “qualify for Boston” to my bucket list. We’ll see how that goes, but a meaningful life seems to find its roots in simply attempting to try difficult things and then going to the next hard thing regardless of outcome. Cue Journey now: Don’t stop believin’. You know you’re hearing it in your head right now.
This poignant essay written in the aftermath of the Boston says it best:
When despair is overwhelming, what do we do? Go for a run. When stress is oppressive, what do we do? Go for a run. When hope is gone and all seems lost, what do we do? Go for a run.
A run can turn the worst day into the best day; it can bring us from the lowest of lows to the highest of highs. I ran after September 11, I ran after the deaths of my grandparents, and I run whenever things aren’t going my way. It never fails.
If the perpetrators wanted to inflict lasting devastation, they could not have picked a worse target. Running defies destruction.
To run is to live. Running nourishes our muscles and nurtures our minds. It induces clarity of thought, vitality of physiology, and tranquility of emotion. It demands complete unity of body and spirit, it requires your legs, your lungs, your heart, your mind, but rewards all those parts too. It’s in this harmonious holism that we come to understand our true identities, our authentic selves. The universe’s uncertainty is distilled into a singularity: We exist in and of the moment. In the midst of entropy, serene bliss. In the midst of confusion, clarity. Surrounded by constraints, we are freed. Running creates.
But running is more than the antithesis of terror; it is also the antidote. Just as a vaccine implicates pestilence in its own defense, running takes pain as a template and produces something beautiful.
Terror holds no more power over running than wind over wildfire. Runners do not avoid suffering, they embrace it. Pain is merely the pathway to our potential. From the depths of agony rise meaning and purpose.
I could launch into a well-worn metaphorical analysis of how running a marathon is like natural childbirth – taking pain as a template and producing something beautiful – or how it mirrors the Christian life – how we’re not supposed to avoid suffering but to embrace it, to unite our wounds with Christ. All of this is true for me, but I’ll spare you the navel-gazing. After all, I know a lot of you probably aren’t runners. Likewise, if it seems like I’m going all OCD on running, it’s probably because I am just a little bit. But the truth is, I’ve never felt better mentally or physically. I’ve stopped weighing myself, but I’m pretty sure those last 7 to 10 pounds are still lingering, but that’s okay. I’m a nursing mama. I probably need a little extra padding. My husband has been incredibly supportive of my running renaissance. He even bought me a super-cool Garmin to help me with my training. He never really got on board with the blogging thing. He appreciated the additional income it and other writing pursuits provided when we needed it, but he felt like it sometimes drained me emotionally and resulted in me being too tethered to technology since I felt like I owed other bloggers comments and had an obligation to respond to every note, email, or comment I received in response to my own blog. His protector instinct also was wary of TMI floating around there. But running, he’s seen that it’s made me feel less lonely because of those awesome mothers and friends I’m honored to run with as well as taken some of my blues away. I didn’t even realize I was blue until those long-run endorphins starting flowing through my body again.
I am first and foremost a wife and mother. No personal record at a race will ever overshadow my greatest accomplishments: My four lovely children (and those babies I never got to hold and cuddle with on this earth). But running again has reminded me that I can have other identities, too. I can be a running mama.
Everyone is always telling me how quickly my children are going to grow up. This is true, and maybe it’s because of this truth that all of moms need to cultivate something that isn’t inextricably linked to our maternity. When those babies are all grown up and moving out, God-willing and body-willing, I can still hit the pavement with a good pair of running shoes and a couple of true friends and run. Maybe the empty nest won’t feel quite so gapingly empty then.
What is your passion? What did you do in your pre-mom days that you’d like to do again? Yes, we find ourselves through a gift of self, but this doesn’t mean we have to pull the martyr card and assume we don’t have time to nurture any talents that may or may not be related to motherhood.
So if anyone has been wondering where I’ve been, what I’ve been up to since stepping away from the online world, I’ve been getting my groove back. I’ve been pulling a Forest Gump and letting my feet take me places – some of them physical, some intellectual, and some even spiritual.
I’m not sure the future of this blog. I’ve been toying with different ideas: stop blogging completely and then on the other side of the spectrum, start writing more posts about how busy moms – especially those with several kiddos – can still make time for fitness. We’ll see. I hope some of you might stay along with me for the journey.
Now a random photo dump from the last week: