Tuesday, February 19, 2013

And so I run...

Someone asked me the other day if I was still running.

And by the way, when I say the other day, it could mean two days ago or two months ago... or even almost a year ago. 
Everything seems like just the other day to me.

Anyway... am I still running? 
I told my husband I was asked this question and we both laughed a little.

I said, "Asking me if I'm still running is like asking me if I'm still breathing.  Imagine if I didn't run?
 I'd lose my marbles!"
His very dry response, "WE ALL WOULD."

And he's right.

Growing up, I hated running.
I was never one to run. Ever.

I didn't want to play soccer growing up. Why? Because I didn't like to run.
Absolutely. Hated. It.

Instead, I danced. 
I spent most nights during the week from middle school through high school at a small dance school where I practiced ballet, tap and jazz... where I stretched and sweated and laughed and had fun...it was my home away from home... it was what I loved.

After I graduated high school, I went to college and I stopped dancing. 
I just stopped. And no exaggeration... I think a little part of my soul died.

It's not like I was this professional dancer or I was ever going to have a career in dancing.
Not in the slightest.
Hell, maybe I wasn't even GOOD. (ok, I was a little bit good)
But I spent so much time in my life dancing and then to just up and stop, cold turkey... holy crap.
It was intense.
And I really lost a little part of myself.

I no longer got that "me" time...where I didn't think... where I just moved and counted and breathed... focusing  not on me, but on ME.
I know, that really makes no sense.
But when I was dancing... I wasn't thinking about school or school work, or my friend who was mad at me... or the HUGE MONUMENTAL fight (isn't everything HUGE and MONUMENTAL in high school?) I had with my boyfriend... it all went away... and my mind was clear and all was good for a while.

So when I lost dance... I needed to find something else.
And I don't even know how it happened, really.
I found running. 
Or maybe running found me?
I don't really know.

I went to the school gym near my dorm because I realized I needed some sort of an outlet...and if I'm being completely honest... needed to burn off the late night pizza and cheap canned beer I drank.

But I got on a treadmill to walk...and eventually that walking led to running
And that was it.
I was set free.

I liked the rhythm of running.
I liked the breathing.
I liked that I had to focus so much on my steps and not DYING that I couldn't think about anything else. Nothing.

And at first... I really sucked.
I was a bad runner. My stamina was nil.
So I walked and ran...and walked some more.. and then ran a little more.
And I'm sure it didn't look pretty or graceful, but it was time I spent with me... not thinking.

And as time went on... I ran more, walked less... ran further(further? or farther? ), ran faster...

I ran alone.
I ran with friends and roommates.
I ran with my husband back when he was still my boyfriend... in the dark after work because he refused to let me run by myself.
I ran a few races.
I ran a handful of marathons.

And in all that time... I never considered myself a runner.
But by definition - and I did really  look this up -  A runner is a  person who runs  or a person who runs competitively as a sport or hobby: "a marathon runner".

So I guess before I realized it... I was a runner.
Sounds weird to me.  I'm not a runner... I just run.

And as I look back at that time I've spent running(I don't want to even count how many years now)...

It has saved me.

Running has gotten me through some tough times;
My twins' infancy...when I needed to escape the madness of my house I'd tie on my shoes and go for an hour... and I'd come back a new(or new-ish) mom... with a clearer head and renewed patience.

I ran through my younger brother's illness and his subsequent death and some of those dark days with tears streaming down my face, I felt like I could run forever...  leaving behind the noise in my head... running through the anger and sorrow in my heart....

And without that outlet... what would I have done?

Running has made me a better person... a stronger person.
Running has allowed me to be a better mother... A better wife.

It's not always easy or fun.
It's not always a "good" run... but it's always... ALWAYS worth it. 

And I certainly know that running isn't for everyone.
That some people would rather poke their eyes out than run a lap at the high school track.
I get that.
In fact, that was me at one point.

But, I do believe that everyone needs SOMETHING.

An outlet...an escape... something that they can turn to when times get tough or maybe not even tough... just something that is just theirs alone -a mind clearing, thinking of nothing,  SOMETHING... knitting, cooking, a sport, yoga, reading....whatever

(not endorsing drinking or drugs here, although a glass of wine does make bedtime with my kids a little easier)

But it's food for the soul... a little ME time.

So am I still running? 
For MY sanity...and the sanity of my husband and my children and all of those that know me(or even come in contact with me)...


Peace, Love & RIGHT NOW

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Snow days... love 'em and LOATHE 'em

Welp, no school again today.

I get the feeling that someone somewhere is testing me.... seeing how much I can actually take before I go completely nuts and have to be put in a loony bin somewhere.

This is the fourth day my kids have been home from school and pretty much stuck inside due to the THREE FEET OF SNOW we had. 

And every day I walk the line between kindness and madness.
Good mom and bad mom.
Sanity and lunacy.

It's exhausting.

My kids are tiring, yes. They really are.
But they're kids! And I have a hard time remembering that sometimes.

They're supposed to be tiring.
They're supposed to be non-stop question asking, drink needing, snack wanting, mess making,  arguing, "I'm bored" kind of people.

That's their job.
And mine are REALLY good at their job.

The thing is... I can handle a snow day or two.
In fact, I enjoy them and actually look forward to them every winter!

Hunkering down, watching the snow, drinking hot cocoa with the tiny marshmallows, making crafts, watching movies all snuggled together on the couch, playing endless games of Uno and Old Maid... those are all SO very appealing to me.

But after the second day of all that yummy togetherness... I'm all about life moving on... starting the next thing... Everybody up and at 'em and OUT. OF. THE HOUSE.

So I've been in the house with my four kids for FIVE days...no wait... SIX days. (I'm losing track of time over here)

I'm done.
I'm cooked.
I'm waving the white flag.


My kids have exhausted me, for sure.

But I think I've exhausted myself far more than my kids ever could.

In the past six days, I've had to check and recheck myself....
Monitor my patience level... rethink my expectations level...change my tone of voice...triple check my boiling point.

Bring it all down like twelve notches(all but the patience level. That, I've had to increase like tenfold.)


My kids are just being kids...that's all.
And I'm just being an adult who is done being with kids 24/7.

I'm done with the crafts and the Legos and the fights over Wii and the constant snacks and drinks and the who hit who first.... and the "SHE started it".

They need to be back in school.
We need to be back to our regularly scheduled program because I can't take much more of this.

I'm tapped out on patience. 
I need a break from them so I can be happy to see them again.
I need them out so when they come home, I can have a REAL smile on my face... not a forced smile that's more like a grimace with my teeth clenched. (how's this for brutal honesty?)

I'm over trying to juggle my work-from-home job with my Mom job because the two don't mix.
Not for an extended period of time, at least.

I'll be on a work call and I'll turn around to a child tapping me on the shoulder mouthing,
"Can I have a snack?".
To which I wave her away frantically trying to mouth to her that I'll be with her in a minute ...
To which she responds shouting, "WHAT?!? I don't know what you're saying!!!!" ....

It's been an interesting couple of days...and I'm having a hard time keeping all of the balls in the air.

And it's not fair! 

It's not fair to them... I can't expect them to behave like adults and give me the time and quiet I need to get my work done... they're NOT adults. (I must keep this in the front of my mind at all times)

And it's not fair to me.   I'm starting to want to hide from them.... I'm starting to cringe at the sound of, "Can I have a snack???" 
And their footsteps!! Their footsteps haunt me wherever I go.. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD! I'M GOING TO THE BATHROOM! I CAN'T PUT YOUR HAIR IN A PONY TAIL RIGHT THIS SECOND!!!!!

And I feel awful even typing any of this...but then I think to myself...
If I was trapped someplace with my best friend in the whole world for six days....
I'd be sick of her too! 

Everyone needs space... under the BEST circumstances.

Under THESE circumstances.? We all need a drink.

Peace, Love & RIGHT NOW

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Night is for sleeping... or should be.

I've learned a lot of things in the past seven years of being a parent.... a lot of things that,  to me,  are now ridiculously obvious -
but prior to being called, "Mom"  I never gave them a second thought.

Like, cleaning the house while your kids are at home.  It's like shoveling while it's still snowing. 
There is absolutely no point whatsoever.

And, being on the phone while making homemade play dough is NOT a good idea.  Flour and unsupervised children do NOT mix.

And, there is no such thing as pleasing everyone at the same time... especially at dinner time.
No matter what I make for dinner, there is always someone who doesn't like it. 

But one of THE most important things I've learned while being a parent?

Nothing good comes from being woken up in the middle of the night.

Now, I'm not talking about a baby crying to be fed...because even the most exhausted mothers will say that those peaceful times feeding their baby in the middle of the night are some of their favorites.

I'm talking about that tap on the shoulder when you're in mid dream at 2AM.....That tap that somehow incorporates INTO your dream.... That tap-tap-tapping that just won't stop until you realize it's not in your dream, but someone standing next to your bed STARING at you. 

#1. That's some scary sh*t. 
Opening your eyes to see your child standing there staring.  It's like poltergeist or something.

#2. Nothing good comes from your child standing at your bed at 2AM because it is usually followed by,

"Mommy, I wet the bed".

In which case you have to get yourself up,  wrestle the sheets off the bed...put on some clean ones, wash up the kid and put her back in bed all while trying to keep your eyes closed so that when you get back in your own bed, you're not wide awake and struggling to fall back to sleep.  No easy task.

Or how about this at 2AM?

"Mommy, I'm scared to sleep in my room"

This is a tough one.
This means that you either have to bring that scared little person into your bed to sleep between you and your husband. Where SHE sleeps and neither of you do.

You head into her room with her. Squeeze into a twin bed... lie there, not moving, with the hope that she falls asleep so you can slip out unnoticed...but that never happens because every time you open your eye a crack to take a peak at her. She's peaking back at you.


You can try the whole,
"No, you're not going to sleep in my bed tonight. I'm going to bring you back to your room and you're going to go back to sleep in your own bed"  (because isn't that what the "experts" advise you to do?)

This is usually followed up with some crying...maybe some crying and then some screaming ...and then you giving in and  letting her sleep in your bed in order to avoid waking up the rest of your sleeping children.

Because what's worse than one non-sleeping child in the middle of the night? 
FOUR non-sleeping children in the middle of the night.
(Can you tell that this one has been playing out in my house a LOT recently? Awesome.)

There is one thing that is far worse than the mild shoulder tapping wake up at 2AM ...
and that is the SCREAMING wake up at 2AM.

We've had a bunch of those.

Those happen when, most specifically, one (I won't mention any names) of my children is sick.

This child is scared of throwing up.
Actually, not just scared...absolutely terrified.
So if she feels sick, there isn't that tap on the shoulder to wake me up to say,
"Mommy, I think I might throw up"
Nope. That's too rational.

She wakes me up by screaming bloody murder in her bed... like someone is stabbing her over and over again.

Ever been woken up like that?
It's the closest to death I've come. It's heart attack inducing.  I'm not kidding.

So, hands down, the screaming is, by FAR, the worst kind of wake up.

#1. It takes a full 30 seconds for me to even realize that I'm out of my bed and RUNNING through my house... I have no idea where the screams are coming from or where I'm running to because I'm still asleep.  My body is working but my brain is not.  And my heart is now beating furiously.. by itself .....    ....on the living room floor.

#2. Once I find the screaming child.... Its a disaster trying to talk her down.
She feels sick, but won't admit it because admitting it is like defeat.
In her mind, admitting she feels like she MIGHT throw up automatically means she's DEFINITELY, NO WAY AROUND IT, going to throw up.

And for her, throwing up is the WORST. THING. EVER.
And for me? HER throwing up is the WORST. THING. EVER.

She's been known to try and outrun her vomit. Not kidding.
I bring out the bucket and she starts to run.
I once had to tackle her in the hallway to get her to throw up in the bucket rather than on the floor while trying to run away. 

She also screams right before throwing up. 
Which I guess could be a good thing because then we know to get the bucket ready.  But it's a little unnerving.  The pre-puke blood curdling scream scares the crap out of me every single time.

And all of this goes on in the dead of night. 
I've been woken up out of a sound sleep and the next thing I know I'm tackling my child in the hallway to get her to throw up in a bucket!   How does this happen?!

I have yet to be woken up in the middle of the night by one of my children handing me flowers...
Or by someone just needing to tell me they love me,.
Although, that would still be annoying, just less annoying/horrific than the tapping and screaming.

I mean, can't we all just stay asleep and leave the tapping, screaming, puking, bed wetting and whatever else for during the day?
I function way better during the daylight hours when I've had a full night sleep(Can't remember the last time THAT happened)  

I know that people say, "You'll miss this when they're older"

I can confidently say, "No, I won't."

This is one thing about parenting that I will NOT miss.  

The homemade playdough messes and the complaining over dinner?
Sure, I can see myself missing all those little things....

But the middle of the night?

I'd like to keep that just for sleeping. Thanks.

Peace, Love & RIGHT NOW