Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Disney Princess Half-Marathon: Coming Full Circle

I started running to get away from an unhappy life. It was my escape--literally--out of "that house" and gave me an excuse to be by myself, to do something for me. I had never been athletic. I was one of those kids who got straight A's in every subject but begged the PE coach to "give me a D and just let me sit out." It wasn't that I couldn't do the things they wanted me to do; it was the discomfort I felt being watched while I had to do them. (I will not even get into the horror I felt whenever I'd come out to phys ed and see the Shuttle Run set up.)

But running was easy...not so much physically, since I literally couldn't go longer than 2 minutes at first without feeling like I was going to die...but emotionally. All I needed was a pair of sneakers and my headphones, and to just go: put one foot in front of the other. The results came quick and were easy to measure: At first, I just went around the block, running the corners and walking the straight-aways. Within a few days, I could run the straights and just walk the corners. Before I knew it, I was running 10 minutes straight. And then...my first 5k. Up until that moment, when I crossed my first-ever finish line, I had never ever been so proud of myself. A year or so later, I started toying with the idea of a half marathon. When I mentioned it to my nears and dears at the time, most of them scoffed, pointed, and ridiculed outright. "13 miles? You? There's no way."

Another year (and one divorce later), I crossed the finish line at the 2001 Walt Disney Half-Marathon.

Although there was no longer a need to escape my life, I kept running...although my distances rarely went over 3 miles.

Then in 2004, after nearly 2 years of trying to get pregnant and 13 weeks of a joyous pregnancy, Hubby and I had a miscarriage.


After a few weeks, I knew I wasn't getting "passed" it. Rock bottom was starting to feel pretty damn close, and I realized that if I didn't "do" something, I was going to drown.

So out of nowhere, I decided to go back for another Disney Half with the goal of improving my previous finishing time. Over the next 4 months I focused completely on this race, my training, and my fitness. It gave me something to do. It gave me an outlet for my stress, my thoughts, my emptiness.

At the expo held the day prior to the race, one of the vendor booths was set up for little kids to make signs to hold up during the race. I stood by and watched little girls and boys making banners with puffy paint and sticky letters and markers: "Go Mommy!" "You can do it, Daddy!" "We love you!" Surprisingly, I didn't break down then. I turned to Hubby and said, "One day, I'm gonna come back to do this race, and my kids are going to make signs for me."

The next day, I ran a good race and did beat my previous time, in spite of having a very upset stomach and a lot of nausea the whole way. When we ran through the Magic Kingdom and passed the Dumbo ride, the tears finally came. I mourned, right there on mile 9, for the loss of this little spirit, this baby that wasn't to be, this dream that had been shattered.

I came home and found out a week later that I was pregnant. Ben Kincaid was born on September 16, 2005.

A couple of years after having him, we decided to try again, hesitant and fearful that we'd have to go through another difficult time.

We got pregnant with Aidan Kai on the first try. He was born August 8, 2008.

* * *

Now, I'm going back.

I registered for the Walt Disney Princess Half Marathon, February 2011. A decade after my first big race, and 7 years after crying at mile 9, I will be running for my kids and for myself. We'll go back to the expo and watch Ben and Aidan make "Go Mama!" signs. And when I cross that finish line, this time by myself, I'll run into the arms of My 3 Men: the one who has run along beside me literally and figuratively, and the 2 little ones who came to join us, the ones who made me Mama.

Friday, November 19, 2010

There's no place like home

Usually messy, toys strewn like landmines
Disorganized closets, laundry baskets, dirty dishes
Still, my soft place to land
My sofa...head in Hubby's lap
Their rooms...bedtime rituals, whispered goodnights
Our bed...snuggling undercovers, peaceful bliss

What is HOME to you? Join Six Word Fridays at Making Things Up.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Waiting for the other shoe to drop

I can have anxiety.

It's not there, all the time. It used to be much worse. You might have even referred to me, once upon a time, as a bit of a hypochondriac (I hate that word). Every symptom paralyzed me with fear and every non-symptom prompted me to imagine one. After years of learning that most of the time, it was "nothing," or, in the rare cases when it was "something," I was able to deal with it and move on, the anxieties eased. Somewhere along the line, over the last few years, I stopped being so afraid.

But recently, I've noticed it lurking...the old familiar fear, seeping back into me, stalking. It's subtle, and definitely more manageable than it used to be. But I sense it.

Thankfully, I've grown enough (and spent a few good years in therapy) to recognize it now, even before it takes hold of me. And so I've spent some time contemplating: why? Why now? Why, after all this time, are some of my old ways coming back, messing with my head, my days, my life? And then, it hit me: It's all good.

Life, I mean.

It's good.

Things are calm. Happy. Easier.

I've been pretty busy the last few years...having babies, buying houses, becoming a real grown-up (albeit begrudgingly at times). Life's been frenetic: sleep-training, potty-training, weight-training...and then, trying to keep my job, my marriage, my social life, and my sense of self all in working order. But lately, things seem to have settled. Hubby and I don't have to fight for quiet time (as much). We aren't waking up in the middle of the night (as much). We're planning exciting adventures again. I find that we are no longer "in survival mode"...we have made it through the infant years, we have settled in, gotten comfortable with parenting, found our groove, and have continued on with our plans for This Grand Life. And so...

There it is.

The anxiety.

The fear: When will the other shoe drop?

It can't be this good. I can't be this lucky. It can't be this easy.

* * *

It reminds me of one of my favorite scenes from the Sex and the City movie (yes, I am going to refer to SATC in the middle of a pretty serious blog post...and to those of you who know me: Why are you surprised?) when Charlotte admits to Carrie that she's scared because she has everything she has ever wanted:

Carrie: What makes you think that something bad is gonna happen?
Charlotte: Because! Nobody gets everything they want! Look at you, look at Miranda. You're good people and you two both got shafted. I'm so happy and...something bad is going to happen.

That is exactly how I feel. I have everything I could possibly want: a husband I am so in love with I can hardly believe he's mine; two healthy, smart, sweet little boys who grin and squeal "Mama" when I walk in the door; a home I never thought I could buy; amazing family; and my list can go on and on. Nothing "bad" is happening. Every one is "good." I am blissfully happy.

And terrified it's too good to be true.

The worst part of it is that the older I get, the more I know of people and their stories...their sadnesses, their losses...and like Charlotte thought: Why not me? Why not us?

It's a terrible way to think. I hate it. I detest it. It is not even easy to write about, to put "out there," because then I almost feel like perhaps I'm making it more real, more me. And I absolutely do not want That to be a part of Me ever again. I refuse.

The crazy thing, the contradiction, is that I don't actually believe in any of this. I believe in surrendering to the universe. I believe in God. I believe in karma. Energy. Trusting. Letting go. I believe in optimism, the strength of spirit. All of it. But sometimes, it's hard for me to apply, to live. And I well know that living in fear, in worry, only has a negative power on my psyche, my day to day, and my health. I get frustrated when loved ones (who I've obviously been influenced by) expect the worst. I want to hit them over the head, yell and scream: Expect the best! Only the best! Let go! Trust! Believe! And most of all, Live! Live life and drink it in...all its joys and blessings and good. Perhaps, it is myself I am really trying to remind.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Living in the In Betweens

is full
if you're lucky
of celebrations
momentous occasions
they mark our lives
our days
they give us
to cling to
when Life
when it sucks our energy
and drains our passion
in between
those moments
in between
the celebrations
it is in
the in betweens
where we miss out
where Life really happens
the real cause
for celebrating
the nothings and the everythings
of our everydays
in the in betweens
a Monday night
the good stereo
and a candle
or two
and a rekindling
there it is
in the in between

Friday, November 5, 2010

Change: Six Word Friday

Somewhere along the line I became
the girl I wanted to be.

What does the word "change" mean to you? Join Six Word Fridays!