Monday, December 16, 2013

A Very Happy Birthday

What a perfect birthday card.  Thank you to my mother-in-law.  Life in indeed a journey, and what shoes you wear are a big part of your happiness along the way.  Both literal and metaphorical shoes....

Mice concert ornament at the botanical garden
This weekend I turned 34.  Yes - I'm admitting my age publicly.  Why not?  Honestly I am so much happier and fulfilled at this age that I was at 24, 14... actually maybe I was pretty happy at 4 years old, but I just don't remember.  So right now, overall.... life is good.  My weight (normal + 4 lbs of Christmas cookies), and my pace (about a full minute slower than I'd like to admit).... I will keep to self :)

The specifics of life lately have been a little hairier.  For one thing, Mother Nature decided to dump a foot of snow on us over the weekend, so the original plan of my parents watching the kids so the Jedi and I could have a date was scrapped.  Instead, we decided to meet my folks at a local botanical garden on Friday to see a holiday display I've been wanting to see. Local, free, and safe.  Unfortunately, even though we ALL had the stomach flu last week and should therefore have been past it, my son woke up vomiting Friday morning.  After several hours of watching him, we decided he was ok to still go, and we headed out.  We had a very nice time - the display was beautiful.  The plan was to hit the gym on the way home for my fast-finish training run and to let the kids play in the kid gym.  That plan was also scrapped when my daughter got hit by the flu while we were at the garden (I'll save the details).  Needless to say, getting her home and into bed (bathroom?) was key.

Heading out into the dark and cold.
I am Rudolph.
The kids were bummed to miss the gym and so was I.  I made the best of it - dressed for the cold and lit myself up like a Christmas tree and took my run outside.  It was a little icy (scary!) and dark (scarier!).  Not sure how I feel about night runs.  I know that many people do it, but... man.  I just don't know.  At least I got the run done.

Saturday morning started with the kids seeming a little better, so rather than subject them to grocery shopping with Dad and all the crazies stocking up for the storm, I took them to the gym with me for what should have been my Total Immersion Class followed by my long run for the week - 4.5 on the treadmill.  Got the kids settled in Kid Watch and got to my class a little late.  Five minutes.  Was just starting to warm up when..... there she was - the staffer from child watch.  I went upstairs - little guy had nearly (but not actually) had an accident.  I got him cleaned up.  The staff was ok with him staying and he and his sister were having fun, so I crossed my fingers and went back to the pool.  I made it through most of the class (although my attention was sadly still upstairs with the kids), but then 10 minutes before then end, there she was again.  "Your son has been in the bathroom for 10 minutes".  Oh God.  I'm the worst mom in the world.  I didn't even bother to throw on anything - just wrapped a towel around myself, grabbed my bag and followed her upstairs into the kid area to my crying little buddy who was, indeed, in the bathroom.  I got him sorted, got some clothes on, and carried both crying children home.  (The girl was crying because she didn't want to leave without her time in the kid gym, which was just about to open.  Oh my).  Long story short, the rest of the day I threw myself into being Mom (oh the guilt) and trying to get both children well again.

I don't do cold.....
So Sunday (yesterday) was my actual birthday.  We had no idea what to expect.  The storm could have dump snow or rain.  The kids could be fine or go to the ER for IV fluids.  I just didn't know what to expect when I opened my eyes.

As luck would have it, I woke to two healthy kids, a nice present and nice breakfast made by my wonderful husband, and a foot of fresh snow for my kids to play in.  After about a half an hour of shoveling our 200 foot driveway (really - we must get a snowblower), I was liberated by Merlin, who came by to pick me up for a really beautiful (and really tough) 4.5 mile snowshoe on the MidState Trail nearby.  I haven't seen Merlin in months, it seems, and it was great to catch up with her and meet some of her friends.  Once I got home, showered, and warm again, I was off to a cookie swap party.  The kids and I made the cookies the day prior, and they were dead set on winning.  Luckily we did (we've got a reputation to defend, after all!).  I got to carry a prize home for them.  Then dinner out and collapsing in front of the TV, totally tuckered out from a day where I actually got to do exactly what I wanted to.  How often does that happen???
Snowshoeing the Midstate

Of course turning older always makes you a little thoughtful.  I've had a lot of "why am I doing this to myself?" lately.  Whine whine.  I'm sore.  I'm tired.  I'm injured.  I'm burned out.  I'm not fast.  I'm all of these things.  So WHY????

There's a great article floating around about how asking yourself what you want in life is the wrong question.  That the right question is "what are you willing to suffer for?"  I've been asking myself that quite often.  I sometimes feel like I'm not quite sure how I got where I am.  The house, the career (which admittedly fine, is not in wildlife like I had planned).  These two tiny people that are forever hanging on my legs and calling me "mom".  What's with that??  It's all wonderful, but it's a little different than the kick-ass wildlife researcher / watercolor artist living in Africa that I envisioned in my youth.

So what am I willing to suffer for?  Clearly not my career, since I've mostly taken the path of least resistance, landing self in cushy corporate job that pays the bills for my kiddos and stay at home husband.  My kids?  Well sure - that's biological. That can't count as a goal.  Finishing an Olympic distance triathlon or a half-marathon?  Actually, no.  Not.

What now, you say? You're a triathlete - it's all about the next race!  

Well, sort of, but it's all a means to an end.  What I'm willing to suffer for is being the 80 year old woman at the gym's pool that swims laps every morning because she loves the water.  Being like my feisty friend in her 70s I saw at the cookie swap who still plays tennis 3 times a week.  Like my kids' preschool teacher, who has adult kids gone off to school and who's idea of a perfect date is a 50 mile bike ride with her husband.  I want to be healthy, fit, and active every day of my life until the day I die.  We had our kids relatively young - I want to hike the Long Trail once they're in college (we'll be 48, not that I'm counting).  I want to love the water and enjoy swimming.  I honestly don't care that much if I never complete a 70.3 or if I can never clear a 9:00 minute mile for a 5K.  Much - I said care MUCH.....

Taking the long view is great for training.  It lets me enjoy a snowshoe instead of obsessing my missed long run.  Enjoying some extra cookies (tho really I need to stop.  For the love - I've gained 3 lbs in a week!).  That streak of grey in my hair might to be colored soon, I have wrinkles around my mouth from smiling (yes!), but overall I'm in the best shape of my life.  And I still got carded while buying wine for the party, so....

Happy Birthday to Me and Elf On!!!

1 comment:

Stephanie said...

Happy Belated Birthday!!!! Glad you had a great day.

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