Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I'm a Walrus

If you've seen the movie The Breakfast Club, you probably remember the scene when Brian Johnson (Anthony Michael Hall) is thinking about how he'll answer the essay question that's been posed to the crew at Saturday detention (something along the lines of, "Who are you?"). He's got his pen stuck between his mouth and his nose. With one end of his pen kinda picking his nose a bit, Brian mutters to himself, "Who am I? Who am I? I'm a walrus."

Whenever I'm feeling a little lost in life, when I feel my own version of what William Young calls "The Great Sadness" in his novel The Shack, I think to myself... "I'm a walrus." To me, the "walri" of the world just never seem completely at ease. Perhaps it's the fact that they have no arms and always appear to be tipping over or something. I dunno. The walrus is just one of those creatures that seems to not quite "fit" for some reason or another.

So, this week, I am a walrus. I'm "sort of." Sort of a stay-at-home mom. Sort of a writer/editor. Sort of a spiritual person. Sort of a runner. Sort of a friend. Sort of a daughter. Sort of a wife. I'm toe-deep in more than a few pools of water right now--but sometimes I feel like I'm drowning in them.  My shrink thinks it's good to have so many things in my life. So many things to love. I guess she's right. So many wonderful things to pick from... Guess it's time to just be happy with that. I am where I am. Lots to do, lots to be thankful for.  I don't have to be just one thing. I don't have to do it all. And I don't have to be perfect at any one thing.   

So, who am?  I think the members of the "breakfast club" put it well:

Dear Mr. Vernon:
We accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was we did wrong. But, we think you're crazy to make us write an essay telling you who we think we are. You see us as you want to see us: in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But, what we found out is that each one of us is: a brain... and an athlete... and a basket case... a princess... and a criminal... Does that answer your question?
Sincerely yours,
The Breakfast Club

Enough said.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Simultaneous Meltdown

This is how I felt at the end of my long run yesterday. I've been just plain exhausted lately as I anxiously anticipate the taper for my October 5 marathon. I can't tell you how many miles I've been running during the week--not quite sure what my long runs have been, either, but I'm pretty certain I've neared (even surpassed) the marathon distance more than a few times.

Yesterday, I met my friend Cindy (a person and friendship I absolutely cherish) at 5:41 a.m. We've calibrated our watches and leave our respective houses at exactly 5:30 a.m. Every weekend. Almost every long run. Running towards each other we meet at the lake in just under 12 minutes. Clockwork. Literally.

In a crazy fit of obsessive behavior, we circled the 3-mile perimeter of the lake four times. Seemed the only way I could keep myself going. "Just once around the lake," I'd tell myself (lie) as I pushed for that next lap, about ready to cry at any moment. I wasn't sore. I wasn't hurt. I'm not out of shape. I'm exhausted. I've run over 30 marathons so you'd think I'd know the fatigue is coming. Always does.

In the same way, you'd think I'd anticipate when my kids are nearing exhaustion, too. The equation is simple:


Now that Cady can tell time, we contemplated turning all the clocks ahead one hour. Evil, yes, but would hopefully spare us another meltdown that would most certainly be contagious (little sister assumes most of big sisters emotions and attitudes!). Alas, the meltdown happened anyway and both kids were in bed by 7:30 p.m.


This week, they've got the same lineup. Hopefully a little extra rest again tonight and they'll be good as new. Me too. I just need to make it through two more long runs and it's taper time. Bring it on!

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Taste of Independence

This is what independence looks like when you're in first grade. It's a beautiful sight to me, actually, because it means my husband and I got to spend an extra half hour in bed this morning. Yep, our oldest daughter, Cady, decided that since she's in first grade, it's time to get up and start her day instead of being coaxed back into bed by sleepy parents. And while I admit it's a little sad that she doesn't want that half hour of cuddle time, it's nice to know my little girl is learning what it means to "do her own thing," so to speak. No matter that she destroyed the Oat Squares box... it actually takes up less room in the cupboard when the bag is removed from the box. Perhaps she knew. After all, she is a "grader" now.
Cady thinks having her own desk at school is pretty cool. It's a big step up from the shared tables in kindergarten. She likes having a place of her very own. Like mother like daughter, I guess. That's not to say I have any privacy anymore--motherhood snatched that away long ago. The kids have found their way into my dresser drawers and tried on my bras, they've jumped into bed at the most inopportune times, they've even disrupted that cherished "alone time" we all deserve in the bathroom everyday.

Nope, I don't feel independent because of anything I have. My sense of independence is gained from the only thing I can really call my own... my time spent getting sweaty on runs, bike rides, and other fitness endeavors. I've come to realize that sweat is the one thing I have that is mine. All mine. Mine alone. And when I'm working up that sweat it's just me. No doubt I carry my family and friends along with me, but during the time I spend working out I'm free.

Cady has only been in school for one week now, but I really think she gets it a little better now. Gets me better. Running is to me like that desk is to her... it gives me a sense of independence. And someday when she joins me on my runs, it won't take any of that away. Somehow, it will just add to it.

Here's to my independent little first grader. Way to go, Cady!