Sunday, November 14, 2010

Run Like a Mother

November 13, 2010 - 4:45 a.m. and heading to Richmond for the race!
I guess you could say I dabble in running. I started about 10 months ago - training first for a 10k in Richmond, followed by the 10 miler, and then a break for summer. In August, I signed up for my first half marathon and started training again...

Yesterday, I ran the 13.1 miles. My goal was to run it in about 2 hours 2 minutes or so. My official time was 1:57:50 - I ran sub-9 minute miles until the very end, when I sprinted across the finish line. Success!!

While I was training for this half marathon, I was trying to scope out some new running gear. I'd seen some pretty awesome slogans and various gizmos and contraptions on all the "real" runners in previous races, and I was in the market for some new stuff. My favorite slogans and sayings were those about mom runners, and one that really grabbed my attention was "Run like a Mother."

I wondered, do I run like a mother? (Am I certain that's even a compliment?) So I started to ponder it more deeply.....

Mothers are among the strongest people I know.... yeah, runners are pretty tough, too.

Mothers can evoke a certain fierceness about them, i.e. the "mama bear" instinct that comes out when we're guarding our beloved children. Runners are pretty fierce.

Most moms I know are determined, hard-working, goal-oriented. That sums up running quite nicely, too.

Being a mother is empowering. The best example, in my own experience, was giving birth to three amazing human beings. Running is empowering, too, with each mile reached and each goal achieved.

The best moms I know always allot themselves plenty of "Me" time. Running is my "me" time. I heard it described on NPR as "full body meditation," and indeed, that's what running has become to me - a time to reflect, contemplate, ponder, think deeply, and simultaneously rid myself of the stresses, frustrations, sadness, and anger I feel.

When I "hit the wall" that is infamous among runners, I call upon my reserves - those times when I've been a strong mama. I think about those times, visualize them, draw strength from what I have done powerfully and well in the past - all times when I've been a mama.

Moms want their kids to be proud of them. Running is one way I hope to make them proud.

Running is tough. Being a mom is the toughest job I'll ever know.

So..... Do I run like a mother?
You bet I do.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Recognizing the Meal

Given the opportunity to speak and to be heard, children are amazing philosophers and thinkers. Their unique perspective on the world sometimes takes one's breath away with its accuracy, poignancy, and truthfulness. Their ability to see the world through an unclouded lens is refreshing. It is rewarding to hear or to see one of these rare glimpses into the deeper minds of children.

Pax has very few spoken or signed words right now. He says "Mama" and often waves to people. He imitates "Hi!" but only if he's in the mood. He'll sign "more," and that's a cute one - it's usually in the context of "more toys! More playing! More fun!" And he has one other sign that he uses mostly in the morning - "Eat, eat eat!" He gets excited to see his high chair and helps drag it into the kitchen; as I load him into it, he signs to me, Eat! Eat! Eat!

Last Sunday at church as I led our family up for communion, I was holding Pax on my hip while guiding Leo toward the altar with Aidan trailing behind me. All of a sudden, I felt Pax shift in my arms as if to get my attention. When I looked down at him, he was looking right at me and signing, Eat! Eat! Eat!

Pax, merely 13 months old, recognized the meal we were about to receive. He does not take communion, but in his sign, he was saying, "I recognize this! I know what we're doing! We are receiving a meal!" He continued to sign, over and over, eat eat eat until I whispered into his ear, "Yes, Pax. This is a meal. I am going to eat."

In its purest and most basic sense, I was fed and nourished - by the tiniest one at the table.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Halloween was, as usual, such fun. Aidan was a regal wizard, compliments of my mom's excellent seamstress skills. He cast (friendly) hexes on anyone who would stand still long enough to do so, and took his role as Wizard very seriously...

Leo went as Superwhy, from the cartoon on PBS. The best part of his costume, for me at least, was when he declared how much he loooooved wearing the green tights. (The tiny running shorts were a close second, though.... and Aidan had the same reaction to the tights when he wore them with his pumpkin costume 3 years ago!)

And Pax went as a Monster, because only monsters keep you up at night! I had a real moment of panic at about 3:30 on Halloween afternoon - I had put off finishing his costume because I wasn't exactly sure how to make him look monstrously cute. I started panicking, envisioning years of therapy with the claims, "Look at how I suffered as the third child! Look at this ridiculous, half-arsed costume! Oh, how they failed me!!!" But then, as these things usually go, Jeff and I were able to cobble together a pretty terrific looking monster - so terrific, in fact, that Pax seemed to revel in wearing the Monster hat, even though he typically resists having anything adorn his head.... (I have to say, I'm always kind of impressed with how well Jeff and I collaborate on these little projects. We are perfect complements to each other; I like to think that I'm the ying to his yang.)

...even if Pax's costume had turned out a disaster, at least he'll always be able to find comfort in the easy and relaxed parenting styles that comes with being the third. While comfortably strapped into the Radio Flyer red wagon, Pax happened upon a miniature Snickers bar that I felt certain would be impossible for him to unwrap and eat.... until I witnessed him smooshing and sucking every morsel of chocolate/caramel/peanut/nogut out of that tiny wrapper. Never in a million years would a Snickers bar have crossed the lips of 13 month old Aidan... and yet we saw it differently with Pax - he was happy and content to ride in the wagon... and who could blame him, after all? Snickers really satisfies.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Venn Diagram

(<--Leo on Halloween.... He is dressed as Superwhy, a cartoon character who is a Super Reader.)

Oh, my Leo Leo. He is the middle of my Venn Diagram, the one around whom I am always drawing circles. In one sentence, he's a part of the "older boys" - as in, the older boys are building stuff with Jeff in the basement. The next minute, he's a younger boy - as in, the younger boys are having their naps right now. We call him "Middy" - a reference to his birth order position as well as possibly a position he'll play in lacrosse one day.... (after all, he's already got that great lacrosse player hair, not to mention the kick butt attitude that goes with it...)

His determination knows no bounds. (See video of 3 year, 10 month old Leo riding a two wheeler). This is both one of his greatest assets, and one of the most trying facets of his personality.

Recent favorite sayings of Leo:
"Becept." A combination of "because" and "except," and in context, is used as the latter.

"Will'nt" - possibly the best contraction ever developed. Far superior to its proper sister, "Won't..." In Leoease: "I will'nt go upstairs for my nap. I will'nt eat the rest of my apples."

And finally - out of the blue, Leo asked me with utter solemnity and due gravity - "Do you know why Thomas Jefferson is buried?"

Me - "Why?"

Leo - "Because he's DEAD." (a quiet pause, to let the news sink in with me.)

Pedal, Pedal!

Leo - Age 3 Years, 10 Months