Thursday, December 23, 2010

Where was I?

I'm not really sure what I'm going to type here, but I am totally certain that the 5 entries I managed this year is completely lame. I was a little busy, to be fair. Did I mention I did two triathlons and a handful of 5ks? And didn't die? I also shepherded procurement for the Choral Arts auction while singing in the season, held down my new church job, trained like a maniac, and chased an increasingly mobile toddler around the house. Incidentally, I started drinking coffee again. That might be related.

Maybe much of what kept me away from here for so long was that this is very much associated with my mom for me, and there was a lot of grief deposited here for many months. I didn't really want to go revisit that. Plus, it's so much easier to be witty and avoid my feelings in small 140-character-or-less snippets on The Facebook.

But a lot has changed for me since March. Physically, I feel stronger and more confident than I ever have before in my life. I went from screaming silently underwater at my own bubbles in waist-deep water to completing several open water swims this summer, complete with weeds in the swimsuit, fish flitting underneath me, and boat wake in the middle of Lake Washington. I ran an entire 5k in about 37 minutes, and will be running my first 10k at the start of the new year. I saw my dad and my brother tear up when I crossed the finish line at the Skoggins Valley Tri on my birthday in September, and convinced them to do the Olympic distance with me as a team next year.

Emotionally, I'm better. Probably typically, I didn't really realize what bad shape I was in until I looked back at how I was feeling in the months after Mom died. I found myself this fall completely dreading the winter in a way I never have before, and when I really thought about why, I realized how severely depressed I had been last year at that time, and how I was dreading the increasing dark. As a side note, I got my vitamin D checked and it was severely low. It's amazing, though, what some vitamin therapy will do!

I find myself now being constantly reminded of her, but not in the ponderous, over-reaching ways of this time last year. I spend a lot of time thinking about and noticing things that would have made her laugh, things I would have called and told her about randomly throughout the day. And I still tell her, and I still talk to her about them.

Anyway, I don't want this to just be about my mom, although I don't want it to NOT be, either. I've taken on a new challenge for the new year: training for a half-marathon. If you had asked me two years ago if it was even possible for me to think about, I would have snorted with laughter, and then hid just in case you were serious. Now, running has become my sanity. When I have a good run, I am zoned, fluid, steady, almost drooling with relaxation. Every part of my body works together in perfect balance. I told Mark, it's like I turn into some sort of running zombie. Miiiiiiiiiles.....miiiiiiiiiiles......

We'll see what the new year brings.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Me This Morning, or The Sad State of A Mother Suffering from Sleep Deprivation and the Aftereffects of T-box.

Well, crap. I need to get up to go swimming. But darn it, my eyes won't open. Ok, ok, I'm up. Wait a second....why do we have a ladder instead of stairs? Hold this a dream? (opens eyes) Yep, there's my pillow. That was a dream. Ok, I'm really going to get up now. Feet on the floor, I'm walking, walking, going up the stairs....hold the phone! These stairs, they don't stop! I'm in our inaccessible attic! How the hell did that happen? Wait a second, I think I know what's happening here. Yep, there's my pillow again. Still a dream. Ok, FOR REAL I'm going to get up now. Yes, yes, I can feel my body getting out of bed, boy am I stiff. Going up the stairs, here's the kitchen...wait a minute, I didn't know Laural was coming over! And why did she put all my feminine hygine products in the sink? Ok, now I'm pissed. I REALLY thought I was awake that time.

This happened, kid you not, about ten times before I actually got up. And I was seriously mad about it.

I eventually made it to the pool.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Random thoughts from the blur

Random thoughts to sum up the past few weeks...

1. When your husband is a lawyer, life sort of sucks when he has a trial.

2. It is entirely possible that Caroline has a "Cry" button on the bottom of her right foot.

3. One cup of caffinated coffee after a 5 year break sure packs a punch!

4. Target is not just a store....It's a destination. Now, if they only had a play area adjacent to a bar from which t-box juice flowed freely, I'd be all set.

5. When your three-year-old says loudly in Target, "Mom! Wouldn't it be awesome if we could just stay here forever? We could eat PEOPLE!" and then starts laughing maniacally, you may get some strange looks.

6. When you smell poop in the Target parking lot, it's best to not investigate. Seriously, just don't.

7. A lot of these are about Target.

8. There is, at this moment, a T-box sitting in my nearest cupboard, open and ready to go. "Come," it says. "Drink me....."

9. Concert week + race day + Mark's trial = tired me. See, I can do math!

10. Met goals on the race (run first half, finish in under 45). Not so awesome? Getting passed by the 80 year old with the prosthesis.

11. That list of spring cleaning items that Martha provided sure is neat, sitting there on my kitchen counter.

12. Snacks help everything.

13. So does alcohol.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Monday, February 8, 2010

Caroline turns one

So typical for the second child. Here it is, two days after her birthday, and I'm finally getting around to posting about it! I am at the moment typing while Sam is engrossed in his Geotrax movie (poor guy has a cold and a fever), and Caroline happily entertaines herself on the floor with a Nerf ball. She's regularly standing up on her own now and we've glimpsed a step or two, but nothing dramatic. She's a very careful little girl - so unlike her brother - and always tests, watches, observes, thinks about...and then she finally tries it. I'm convinced that one day she'll just up and walk across the room.

On the day of her birthday, I woke up early to go for a swim and had some time to reflect while driving in the cold to the pool. I had a lot to digest regarding Caroline's first year.

I was thinking about how gentle Caroline's entry into the world was, how unobtrusive. It was hesitant, too, waiting for just the right moment. She faked me out regularly for about two weeks before she finally decided to come, and even then she took a little break to let me watch Grey's Anatomy the evening I was in labor. Just like her...careful, observant, even thoughtful in a way one wouldn't normally think a baby could be.

I thought about how her infancy will always be tied to losing my mom. Her birth was the very last time my mom would come up to Seattle to visit, although I didn't know it at the time. When she was 5 months, she was a model car passenger and guest on a last family trip to Sunriver. I love looking at the picture our friend Pam took of me laughing with Mom while nursing Caroline. She was so remarkably flexible during our trips up and down I-5 during the fall, and a solid anchor for me to my family when Mom died in October. What is truly amazing, though, is that she has managed to both keep me human and sane during a time in childrens' lives that most parents report feeling exactly the opposite. How this happened, how I was sent the perfect baby for the perfect moment, is nothing short of a miracle to me.

So, Caroline, while I drove to swim and turned all of this over in my head, I saw that the sunrise was coming over the horizon and tinting the scant clouds pink, and the cherry blossoms were just beginning to peek out from their places on the trees. And I realized that every year on your birthday I will remember how no matter how dark and long the winter, spring is coming. There may be a few more cold snaps and surprises, but it's coming just as sure as those blossoms will eventually become flowers. Babies always grow, things always change, trees always bloom, hearts always heal. You have helped me realize that this year. I don't know what I would have done without you.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Sledding day

I've been writing a bit lately about how difficult it has been to mom Sam right now. The tantrums, the testing of boundaries...part of it his intense personality, and part of it is just that he's three (this too shall pass...this too shall pass...). There are times, though, when the urge to sell him on Ebay is not quite so overwhelming.

A few weeks ago, we decided to make the drive up to Snoqualmie and attempt to get a pass for sledding. Since I have the most snow gear, we decided that I'd go with Sam, and Mark would stay with Caroline in the warm lodge. So, Sam and I bundled up and hiked in our boots across the snowy field to pick out our tube and get in line. Snoqualmie has a very well groomed tubing area with about 10 lanes. There's a steep drop and then a long, flat length in each lane. The whole things is about a football field's length.

The first time, we attempted to go together. These tubes are a step up from the ones I used when I was a kid. They have these canvas jacket thingies that zip over them with leather handles, and if you're small enough you can sit right inside the hole in the tube. Suffice to say, I am not small enough. So after one terrifying backwards rocket down the hill with me perched on top of the tube and Sam on my lap, I asked him if he'd like his own tube so he could go by himself. He enthusiastically said yes. So, after I walked by him while he rode up the hill on the rope tow, I helped him pick out his own tube.

One more long wait in line, and we were ready to go. After some pretty specific instructions about hanging on, staying in the tube, etc, I gave him a little push, and off he went. Then, I jumped tummy-down on my tube and rocketed after him head- first.

About halfway down the hill, it became apparent what a little push Sam had gotten compared to my leap onto my tube. I was gaining on As he came to a halt at the bottom, I was frantically trying to steer by dragging my feet and yelling, "SAM! STAY IN THE TUBE! STAY IN THE TUBE!" But there was nothing I could do. Bam! I bounced into Sam's tube hard, then spun around, bounced off my tube, and totally wiped out. I frantically turned around to assess the damage...and Sam was laughing. So, I started laughing, too.

"Are you guys ok?" asked the concerned teenager who came down behind us.

"Oh, yeah, we're great!" I laughed.

Back we went to get in line for the tow. At this pace, I thought, we were only going to get one or two more runs in before our time was up. It would be so much faster to just walk up the hill and pull Sam behind me...

It was about 3/4 of the way up that I knew I was in trouble. There was no way my rainboots had the traction for the last incline while pulling 30 lbs of Sam. Rather then see him careen down the hill while toddlers scattered like bowling pins, I asked him if he could get out and walk.

"Mmm-hmm!" He said cheerfully, popping out. So I turned and walked...until I heard a commotion behind me.

I turned around to see Sam sitting on top of a complete stranger in his tube on the rope tow, both of them laughing. He had slid down the hill and right into the 20-something's lap. Both of them thought it was hilarious, and Sam happily rode up the rest of the way, thanking him at the end for the ride.

I don't have much experience with other three year olds, but I know enough to realize that that day could have been a disaster. Another child would have gotten scared about getting hit by another tube, or would have freaked out about suddenly sitting on a stranger's lap. Either event could have been a disaster. A cold, wet, far-from-the-lodge disaster. Instead, Sam has a remarkable gift for taking risks, and for managing to charm his way around sticky situations. He has those qualities in common with some of the most successful adults I know. I only hope that I can remember that, and help him shape and nurture those gifts. Otherwise, keep your eye on Ebay.