Wednesday, April 24, 2013

I will not waste them (Just Write)

I stare at the screen, a map of two countries and 4000 miles, trying to dissect it into drivable days. I open a new file, type "Itinerary." Then back to the screen with the map. The irony isn't lost on me--this getting nowhere in my attempt to plan a cross country trip.

When you first hear the news about a big move, that's when your heart pounds and you feel like you could skip a mile down the street and back. But soon all the talk of grand adventure turns into obsessively hitting refresh on Zillow while the kids log too many episodes of Scooby Doo. (You know it's bad when they protest your turning off the tube by calling you "that meddling mommy.")


I typed those sentences weeks ago (or was it days?). I told myself I needed to write through the numbness, write until I felt alive with something other than anxiety. The running helps, and the praying helps; and the not forgetting to say thanks, that helps too. But I still chew through these hours too fast to savor them. The tasks and the details, I gulp them down indelicately, almost angrily. I'm a girl on a mission, googling now at top speed; and at night, I fall asleep before I have a chance to rest.


I didn't feel like running this morning. I ran anyway. The same old route, the easy seven.
I didn't feel like eating this morning, either. I ate anyway. The same old bagel with peanut butter.
I can't believe I'm going to admit this, but I don't really want these last few months. I've lived something like them before, back when we were getting ready to move from Maine to Ohio. And these almost-but-not-yet months broke my heart. But I will live them anyway. I refuse to use the fast forward button, to shut my eyes or hold my breath. That's just not okay.

These stressful months leading up to Big Change, they matter as much as the months after, maybe even more. They are moments in my short life, moments in which I can model for my children how to be present, how to be grateful, how to be resilient. They are opportunities to smile and to hug and to cry and to be alive with wonder, to be alive with courage, to be alive with grace.

I will not waste them.
A nearly 4 year old picture--my proof that the days are as precious as they are fleeting

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Countdown {Just Write}

"Hey mom, look at this picture I drew. It's of you competing in Whisker Wars," he snickers. The facial hair jokes never get old to the eight year old. I hem and haw and protest in that over dramatic way that shows I think he's as silly and exasperating as he is adored and treasured.

She races down the stairs, breathless in her quest to tell her brother about an exciting connection. "You won't believe it, C. Did you know, did you know that Wose (Rose Wilder) had, had mah-nonia (pneumonia) just like YOU?"


I pick up one of my daughter's friends after kindergarten. She hops in the back, and they're barely buckled in before the stories begin.  My brother this and my sister that. It's a holy, precious moment, far beyond the figurines, as I listen to their tiny R-less voices practicing the art of conversation, trading facts about where they were born and what they like to eat for lunch. "Well, my brother had Mrs. L. for third grade, but for fourth grade, he's going to have a teacher at our school in Alaska!"


We sit eating cilantro-infested bean burritos, and the girl announces there are nine days left of school. "You mean nine weeks?" I ask. "Yes! That's what I said. Nine weeks!"

It's hard to believe. Only nine weeks. And today, an email came saying something to the effect of "90 more days until your move." I'm never ready for the countdown to begin. I feel like I'm always on eight when everyone else is saying five. Four. Three. Two....


I'm in a hurry, but I linger in the aisles long enough to look at the expiration dates on the bagels, the milk, the sour cream. It needs to be fresh. It needs to last. I think back to when I was pregnant and I started to see expiration dates that were after my due date. I used to think about whether I would have a baby before we finished the last of the yogurt. Now I see the expiration dates and I think about packing. And goodbyes. And how my babies are 8 and 6 years old, born so many milk cartons ago. And how I'm never, ever ready for the countdown to begin.


Just writing today with my fave free-writer, the lovely Heather of the EO.

Monday, April 1, 2013

In which I return to my happy pace

My neighbors must think I'm nuts. (They're right.) When most normal folk are putting an extra leaf in the table, recruiting chairs from every room to seat all the Easter guests and heaping ham and scalloped potatoes onto their plates, I left my kids inside with PB&Js and Mario Cart so I could run up and down the quarter mile long street. Back and forth for nearly an hour, hobbling along in my turquoise shorts, trying (and failing) not to sing audibly to The Fighter.

Give me scars. Give me pain. Then they'll say to me, say to me, say to me, there goes the fighter. (Insert triumphant visual of me crossing the marathon finish line sub-3:30, somehow still energetic and exuberant enough to jump and leap toward the crowd of adoring hometown fans. Hometown still TBD).

Or in my case, there goes the fighter crazy lady with the running form of an overgrown mid-tantrum toddler.

I chose to cut way back on the miles these past two weeks to nurse an IT band flare up. It was a perfect storm for going batshit crazy. No running. Family "vacation". Lots of driving. Lots of standing around at a overcrowded germ-infested playground disguised as a science center. Lots of listening to Born to Run on audiobook, all the while NOT running. Did I mention the part about not running?

I'm happy to say I survived the endorphin withdrawal without figuratively beheading any member of my dear family. And I really enjoyed Born to Run. It was entertaining, inspiring and thought-provoking. The book left me thinking a great deal about the joy found in running. So much so that I decided to incorporate smiling into my overgrown mid-tantrum toddler running form. Which brings me back to the reason my neighbors might have concluded I'm certifiable.

In other news, I played a super fun April Fool's joke on myself. I told myself since I had to scrap plans to race a half marathon next week (due to low mileage, a cranky quad/knee/hip, and a family vacation), I should just run a marathon in 8 weeks. Why the heck not, right? How hard can it be to squeeze in 16 weeks of training in half the time, while starting with a baseline of a not-quite-resolved overuse issue and two weeks of the lowest mileage I've logged in over a year?

Yeah, Self, that was a good one. You almost had me.

Happy Easter, happy April, and happy trails to you, my friends.