mommyverbs

Engaging Each Day with Action Words

Thank. — Note. And Take Notice.

note

It has been a busy week. A good, but busy week.

It has been “Winning Choices Week.”

The week of the year that I spend traveling with a guest motivational speaker, going from school to school, sharing a positive, ‘make good choices’ message.

It has been a good week. A good, but busy week

I was already keeping a list of folks that I need to write Thank You notes for their help, all the while wondering when in the world I would make this happen.

And then, today, Y surprised me by bringing home a story that she had written at school for her Winning Choices Character Essay entry.

Here it is. A mini-guest blog post from Y:

“My Mom’s friend did a half marathon. They parked in a parking garage. When they came out of the parking garage, there was someone who was stopping buses so people could walk across the road. Nobody said thank you. My Mom’s friend could not find their car after the race. The Police helped them find their car. They found the parking garage they parked in. They asked the guy who was stopping buses if he had seen their car. He said yes. My Mom’s friend was surprised. There was at least 1,000 people there. The guy who was stopping buses said, “You were the only one that said, “Thank you” So I remember you.”  And he let them in to go get their car.”

Isn’t that great? I think she should totally win this character trait essay contest.  I’m her Mom and I think she is all kinds of awesome. And don’t tell her this, but maybe she’s too close to the event organizer, aka Mom,  to actually win. We’ll see.

It is also a very, very good reminder that this girl is a total sponge.

I told this story to Felix last week. I think it must have been while we were making dinner. I’m not even sure I fully connected to the fact that Y was there for the telling of this. Intentionally, too, because I do remember actually trying to keep some of the details from her, since we censored her access to information about this event for our own parental reasons.

But, she still managed to get most of the story right. She missed only a few very important details.

Yes. This is a story about my friend.

But she didn’t run a half marathon.

She ran a full marathon.

And not just any ol’ 26.2 mile marathon.

There were more than 1,000 people at this race.

It was more like 23,000. Because.

My friend was in Boston.

My friend ran in the Boston Marathon this year.  On April 15th, 2013.

It is true that my friend and her husband did park in a parking garage, so early in the morning before the race.

There was an attendant stopping buses to let them cross the street.

My friend and her husband did finish the race a little bit before the bombs exploded.

It is true that my friend and her husband couldn’t find their car and were talking with police to get locations of the local parking garages when they heard one bomb explode. And then a few seconds later, the second bomb explode.

They had no money on them. They had no change of clothes. They didn’t have their cell phones. They had actually hidden the key to the rental car on the actual car in the parking garage that they now couldn’t find.

Then there was pandemonium and chaos. And they just needed to let their families know that they were ok. People offered them money. People offered them a place to take a shower. The nearby hotel let them use the phone to call home. Ultimately, they called a friend to come and pick them up.

The next day, they came back into the city, but everything was shut down for security purposes. They went to the parking garage and asked the attendant if they could go in and look for their rental car.

He said, “Yeah. Totally. Your car is just inside. I remember you.”

My friend shook her head, disbelieving. “No way, there were 23,000 people here yesterday.”

He responded, “No. Really. I remember you. You were the only person, all day long, who stopped to thank me for being here to help yesterday. Your car is just inside to the right.”

He let them in and sure enough. There it was. Just where he said it was.

And he remembered her. Simply because she took the time to say, “Thank you.”

In the middle of a crazy day for him. (Even before the unimaginable evil entered that place and changed lives forever.) Two words. A simple “Thank you” made a huge impact on his day. And he remembered.

We cannot underestimate the power of two words. We have to start to notice more. Notice more and take note of the wonderful. The wonderful and the simple.

How hard is that? How much time does it take? Just to say, “Thank you.”

Just two words.  Thank you.

Now, take the time to write down kindnesses that you have really appreciated over the years, months, days.. or today.

And then, make the time to write them a Thank You note. A good ol’ fashioned, hand-written Thank You note.

These are important stories.

Note. And Take Notice.

Even during the busy weeks. The good, but busy weeks.

Let’s all, Go. Do that.

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Make. — Mexicali Soup for the Tired Working Momma’s Soul.

mexicali bowl

I’m discovering today that….

All I really need to know… about being a Tired Working Momma…

…I could have learned from a favorite childhood book, called Mexicali Soup.

So, I’m thinking about creating a new MommyVerbs series for you:

Mexicali Soup for the Tired Working Momma’s Soul.

Mexicali Soup was my favorite book growing up.

I’m not sure I can tell you exactly why. It might have been the pictures and the story. Or maybe it was because of the way my Momma read it to me. But I seem to recall liking it a lot, too, because it was long, so it stalled bedtime a little more.

Seems I might have been a lot like X and Y in that regard.

I hadn’t thought of this book in years, until my Momma mentioned it after I wrote a post about my X and the rocking chair.

And then. I couldn’t think of anything else. I couldn’t wait to get home and find this book. I knew I had just seen it…but where?

There it was, on the bookshelf, right where I placed it in a special spot, to make sure it was always safe and sound.

It was written by Kathryn Hitte and William D. Hayes,illustrated by Anne Rockwell. Printed n 1970.

mexicali cover

Mine is in three pieces. The front cover. All of the pages fortunately still nicely glued together. And the back cover with a Rosie the Robot sticker that I must have foolishly put on it years ago, before I knew what a treasure it was.

My mom looked it up online and discovered that the only copies available are selling for more than $75.00.

Of course, to me, it is priceless.

And now, speaks to me more than it did when I was a kid.

Because.

It is about a Momma.

It is about a Tired Working Momma.

It is about a Tired Working Momma who wants the best for her family.

It is about a Tired Working Momma who wants the best for her family which includes eating well, with the best, freshest ingredients.

mexicali veggies

It is about a Tired Working Momma who is trying to balance wants and needs.

It is about a Tired Working Momma who wants to help her family fit in.

It is about a Tired Working who also wants her family to understand that is okay to stand out.

It is about a Tired Working Momma who learns that she can’t please everyone all the time.

It is about a Tired Working Momma who teaches her family that if one by one, we leave out the spice of life, we are going to end up with a bowl full of lukewarm water.

Sure. It is easy if we leave everything out.

But it doesn’t taste very good.

And another important lesson …

If Momma stops humming…it usually means trouble.

Mexicali Momma

4 Comments »

Time. — Choosing All the Times.

It is about time.

As I sit here and listen to the clock on the wall, tick, tick, tick… I am reminded that timing is everything.

Being a Tired Working Momma is about time. And the fact that there is just never enough of it.

Everywhere I go, I hear Mommas talking about the fact that they just need more time. If there were more hours in the day, minutes in the year, things would be better. Easier.

So, as Tired Working Mommas, we make choices.

And in time, our choices begin to define us.

We know we need to exercise. So we choose to set the alarm clock for 4:45 a.m. instead of getting the 7 or 8 hours of sleep that we need to function like a normal person. Then we wonder why we are so tired all of the time.

We know we need to eat healthy. But sometimes we choose to skip breakfast or don’t make time to make lunch as we rush everyone out the door to be on time.

We know we need to meet deadlines and get our work accomplished on time. So we choose to ignore the invitation and don’t find time for a cup of coffee with a friend or colleague.

Sometimes there is even so much work to do that we struggle to leave work when we leave work and so we use our time to sit on the couch to do a little more work after the kiddo’s bedtime.

It is about time. It is about choices.

And it may be time for us to make some changes.

There comes a moment in time where we have to start to believe that this is the right time.

We have to trust that this time in our lives is truly fleeting.

We don’t have time.

There will never be enough time, but there will never be another time like this.

And it is time for us to be ok with this. To make peace with this.

To trust that this is a great time.

This time of raising our kiddos is full of so many first times and last times.

Too many to count.

I realized this morning that I may have experienced one of those last times last night.

There is no better bedtime staller than my Y. However, her little brother, X, may be giving her a run for the money. His bedtime routine now consists of about 7 cannonballs, or as he says, ‘candyballs!’ as he jumps onto his bed and bounces around, while I gasp and wince as he almost hits his head 5 of those 7 times. Then there are the required 6 songs with the last one being sung two times in a row. Then there is time for a hug. A hug and a kiss. And then just a kiss. He still kisses those cold spots on the backs of my arms before we launch into a silly speech with all of the final goodnights before it is time to go to sleep:

“Good night. Sweet dreams. I love you. I love you more.” Times a million.

Sometimes this takes forever. And I can feel myself start to think of other things that I need to do after I tuck him in. I still have to tuck Y in. And that can take just as much time. I still want to go downstairs and finish that piece of writing. I still need to look at the lunch menus…ok, let’s be honest here, Felix makes the lunches, so I’ll let him do that. But I do still need to clean up the dishes or put the living room back together so I feel better about my house when I get up in the morning.  I still need to pick out my clothes or look at my calendar and decide what meeting I need to prepare for.

Often times my mind starts to spin like this during the time I am supposed to be ending my day with my amazing X. Sometimes I have to fight to stay in the moment.

So, this time, just as I was this close to being out of his bedroom door for the last time last night, X sat up and looked at me.

“I have one more question.” I know that I sighed. I know that I did. I hate to admit it now, but I know that I did that.

“Do you think it would be weird if you were to rock me in that chair tonight? Do you have time to do that just one time tonight?”

chair

The rocking chair. The rocking chair that I spent so many nights, so much time, rocking both of my babies to sleep, still sits in his room. I can’t remember the last time I even sat in it. It has been forever since I held one of my children in it. We joke about how long their legs are now and about how there was a time that they used to fit in my arms.

I stopped. I wanted time to stop for just a little bit.

And in that moment, I realized how fast this all goes. This time that flies in our face and races past us.

And when I think that they are stalling or wasting my time, because as a Tired Working Momma I have so much work to do. I am so wrong. Even though my time at work focused on teaching 80 people about community building in the classroom, this…this…without a doubt is actually the most important thing that I will do all day long.

So, I cleared off the 17 superheroes that did battle in this chair earlier in the day, and I sat down and held out my arms. He grinned from ear to ear and threw back the superhero covers and jumped out of bed. He awkwardly climbed up into my lap, giggling the whole time. And I tried to make him smaller. I tried to squish up his legs and remember the time that he used to fit here. All of him. Here in my arms.

And we discovered that he still fit. We snuggled up and I rocked him and he giggled. Maybe one part embarrassed, one part in celebration that he was indeed victorious and out of bed again. But I also think there was one part of him that remembered the times that we both sat like this. For hours. Together. Just us and the ticking clock on the wall.

Nowhere else to be. Nothing else to do.

It is these times. Times like this.

That makes it all worthwhile.

Because it is only a matter of time that he literally won’t fit in my lap any more.

And maybe that was even the last time he will ask to be rocked by me in that rocking chair.

Only time will tell.

And I know that tomorrow I will be rushed again to go out the door and do my time at work.

But I will choose. I will choose to try and fail and try, time and time again.

And I will let my choices define me. As a Tired Working Momma.

A Tired Working Momma who will choose to make the time, find the time, take the time to spend more time like this.

12 Comments »

Hold. — Space for your people.

Dear Tired Working Mommas:

Lately, I have heard from many of you who are verging on the unhappy.

Overwhelmed.

Frustrated.

Tired.

I get it. I can be there, too.

I want to share a lesson that I learned recently from my beautiful Y …. that was taught to me again by the four year old from across the street.

Recently, I had an … irritating day. Something happened at work that bothered me.

I thought about it on the way home. I rushed in the door and picked up X and Y and rushed them back out to ball practice.

And I kept thinking about it. The irritation and frustration and annoyance felt all-consuming.

After her practice, we came home, did dinner, did homework, did baths and showers, did tuck-ins. Did the typical evening things.

But it wasn’t until I was saying the last ‘good-nights-I-love-yous’ to the girl-child did I understand how my bringing all that work stuff home really impacted her.

Just as I was about to leave her room, ready to finish the day and wind down for the evening, she said in a small voice from under her covers, “You didn’t really think I did a good job at practice tonight, did you?”

“What?!” As I sat back down on the side of her bed.

“Well, every time I looked over at you, you were standing with your arms crossed, looking all mad at me.”

Sigh. The walking talking mirror that is my daughter strikes again.

She was totally right. I never realized how I was must have looked to everyone else around me, including her.

Standing, arms crossed, outside the fence, probably with a scowl-ish look on my face as I fretted and replayed and held onto the annoying things from work that day.

I had missed it. I missed the beautiful warm autumn afternoon. I missed her smiles from first base. I missed hearing her voice as she talked and laughed with her friends. I missed my time with the Mommas, declining to walk and talk, choosing instead to stand and be only with me and my work thoughts.

I missed the joy from X as he played and rough housed with his ‘little brother’ buddies (the boys that get dragged to their big sister’s ball games and practices so often, but have such fun playing together.)

I missed the whole evening, seeing it as another chore, another task to get done before I could call it a day.

What a waste.

I didn’t hold space for my people.

Instead I let annoying tasks and meaningless deadlines and frustrating work situations, take up the space that is supposed to be for my loved ones, my favorite people in the whole world: My kiddos and my Felix.

I let that other stuff take up my time, space in my mind, and I missed a beautiful evening with my people. My people who love me unconditionally and want me to play with them, want me to sit with them, want me to listen to their stories, sing them songs, read them books.

I let that other stuff become bigger. I carried it home and invited it into my house to have a seat in my living room and pull up a chair at my table.

Dear Tired Working Mommas.

I know it is hard. I know we work hard. I know it is a difficult thing to leave work at work and come home to more work at home. Even when we have wonderful partners or when we don’t, we are still the Mommas and we still have work to do when we come through the door at 5:00 p.m. (or later).

But let’s try. Let’s try to see our homes as our refuge. The place where we enjoy our life, our blessings, our time.

Be thankful for our work and our jobs, but let’s try not to see our family as our second job. Let’s try to see them as respite, where we refuel, where we refresh.

Let’s find ways to leave work when we leave work and BE. HOME. when we come home.

I know it is not easy. I’ve been trying for the past two weeks and I’m sure I have failed more than I have succeeded.

But let’s try. Again.

***************************************************************

The other day Felix captured this picture and sent it to me.

I think it is just a beautiful, innocent, little image that brought me another powerful lesson on life.

wait

The little guy across the street hasn’t started school yet.

And sometimes in the afternoon, he comes outside to wait for the bus. Sometimes for an entire hour. He sits. He waits.

He waits patiently with wondrous anticipation for the big yellow school bus to bring some of his favorite people home. His big sister and his fellow little brother buddy, X. He holds that space for them. Sitting on the hill. Playing in the grass. Watching the bugs. Soaking up the sun. He doesn’t miss a thing.

And when he hears the loud mufflers of that yellow bus come up over the hill and down around the corner, he jumps up and squeals for them and runs to meet and greet them. He can’t wait to hear about their day. He’s been looking forward to their arrival all day.  He has his bike helmet already on, ready to ride and play.

He held this space for them.

This space in his day. This space in his life. This space in his attention and excitement.

I know what you are thinking …. he’s four. It is easier when you are four. Sure, it is.

But let’s try. Let’s try to capture a little bit of this “being four” spirit.

Dear Tired Working Mommas.

Let’s really leave work when we leave work. No matter if we’ve had the best day or the worst day.

Let’s look forward to going home. Let’s find that wondrous anticipation as we drive over the hill and down around the corner to see our house and our kids outside playing. Let’s change our clothes quickly and get covered in kisses and hugs and “how-was-your-days.”

Let’s hold that space for our favorite people.

Let’s try and fail and try again.

To leave work when we leave work.

To BE HOME when we are home.

And hold that space for our most loved.

For the ones that really matter.

25 Comments »

Free. — A Carefree Haiku and Weekly Photo Challenge

Carefree. 

An impromptu trip.

Hurricane-like rains slow down. 

Then the sky cleared up. 

For a few minutes,

Free of trouble and worry

and care on the Isle. 

carefree

How will find a few minutes to be carefree today?

Let’s All, Go. Do that.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/08/16/photo-challenge-carefree/

 

5 Comments »

Change. — What If Something is Different?! Gasp!

first birthday candle

Happy First Birthday, MommyVerbs!

One year ago, I started on a journey. I decided that I would tell a few stories. Spend a few minutes writing about my new found focus on action words and verbs. I jumped into WordPress and figured things out as I went.  I asked for help and learned about widgets and sidebars and SEOs and tagging.

I didn’t know where this year would take us. Over the past year, this blog has become something that I am quite proud of. I have watched it grow up. We have played together. We have been through serious times. We have talked about dreams and made plans. And over the past year, we have become pretty close.

So, it only seemed fitting that on MommyVerb’s first birthday, I would get it a present.

Yes, to celebrate, it was time to get it a new look. Update the theme and make it a little fancier as we begin Year Two together.

But as you can see here, I haven’t been able to do this.

I’m scared.

I want to make a change. I have spent a lot … a LOT … of time looking at themes, picking out fonts and colors. A theme where you can see lots of verbs at once. Words and pictures. Stories and images.

But I can’t. I’m scared.

I’m scared that something will go wrong. Scared that I will lose everything that we have worked so hard to create.

What if I don’t like it?  What if my stats page goes quiet?

What if I can’t get the widgets to work the way they have been? What if my media library is emptied?

What if it is … gasp…different?

But isn’t that what change is about?

Decide.  Believe. Trust. Leap.

Once again,  a great collection of wonderful action words.

Which is what MommyVerbs is all about after all.

So…

Be on the lookout for a new MommyVerbs look…

maybe…

if I’m ever brave enough to make … this kind of a change.

Happy Birthday, MommyVerbs. Thanks for the inspiration to Eat Well. Play More. Choose Happy. 

*****************************************************************

What about you? How do you find the courage to make a change?

11 Comments »

Love. Does. — Love Does What?!

You know that little church in the little town that is doing big things?

Come on, now. I’ve told you about it…

here, here, and here.

Click on the links to get caught up.

So, this summer, the people of the little church in the little town doing big things are exploring the idea of Love Does.

Based on a book by Bob Goff, called Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World.

Yes. Love Does.

Which I love.

For many reasons, … but MommyVerbs is always going to be a fan of a verb that is also a noun.

And I am in love with the idea of using a verb and a helping verb together.

And bonus, because I love to play fast and loose with punctuation and grammar around here…

you know I’m going to love that the helping verb is now the verb, being helped by a verb pretending to be a noun.

MommyVerbs Trifecta!

But I digress, as they say.

So. Love Does. Huh? Love Does What?

Let me show you a little about what I think Love Does….

Love Reaches. Love Helps. Love Lifts. Love Carries. Love Shows. Love Holds. Love Stands. Love Delivers. Love Laughs. Love Cries. Love Hopes. Love Prays. Love Comforts. Love Feeds. Love Listens. Love Watches. Love Hears. Love Learns. Love Saves. Love Connects. Love Cares. Love Shares. Love Teaches. Love Knows. Love Thinks. Love Sings. Love Plays. Love Forgives. Love Restores. Love Includes. Love Invites. Love Opens. Love Offers. Love Attends. Love Friends. Love Cheers. Love Champions. Love Encourages.  Love Lends. Love Nurtures.  Love Rescues.  Love Serves. Love Sponsors. Love Challenges. Love Sustains. Love Works. Love Breathes. Love Lives. Love Calls. Love Displays. Love Discovers. Love Delights. Love Attaches. Love Enjoys. Love Commits. Love Feels. Love Smiles. Love Leans. Love Wishes. Love Gives. Love Loves.

See. It is true. And … Secretly Incredible. 

Love. Does.

4 Comments »

View. — The Big Picture is there…just beyond the willow trees.

All the way home, all eight hours of the drive, I was recounting what a nice vacation we had just enjoyed. Nice place. Quality time with family. Beautiful weather. Time with my ocean and sand between my toes.  As I looked down at the ton of souvenir sand that we were bringing back with us on the floorboards of my car, I wanted to try to make sure that I remembered all of the good times.

The rollercoasters. The crab legs. The fun adventures with friends at the cottage. Kayaking on the river. Catching weird (and creepy to think we were swimming with them!) creatures from the dock. The campfire. The beach. The waves. The sun. The sunrises. The birthdays. The family game nights. The laughs. The memories.

I kept trying to hold on to all of this…because I knew. I knew that as soon as we got home, it was going to get back to normal. Not that normal is bad.  I love my little slice of normal.

But… the rain was falling and I was starting to understand what people were saying about building arks and living in Seattle.  The dog was there and I was going to try to stay to true to my intentions of giving him the one millionth chance to bond and build some sort of relationship.  There was a ton of unpacking to do, even though I had brilliantly done all of the laundry before we left, so all of the clothes were coming home clean.  There were hungry kids with nothing in the refrigerator, requiring either a trip to the grocery store or a wild dose of creativity and resourcefulness. To make matters more frustrating, I had this nagging idea for a story. And even crazier than that, I randomly thought I could sit right down at the computer (which is so….super….slooooooow) and type out a best seller in mere minutes.  Yes, I somehow thought I could write this brilliant tale at the kitchen counter, between the calls for organic mac n’ cheese with a side of quinoa (see, I went with the creative option instead of the store) and milk (which we didn’t have) above the pleas  for multiple games of Connect Four.

And … as predicted and painfully obvious now, I started to feel overwhelmed.  The sound of the ocean waves were quickly fading away, being replaced with dog whines and  kiddo arguments over whose turn it was to watch a show. The scent of the salty air was overpowered by the burnt ‘curly rice’ that bubbled over onto the hot burner on the stove top. The sand between my toes that had been so magical just a few hours ago, was now underneath my feet on my kitchen floor and I realized I was reaching for the broom.

In a last ditch effort to hold onto the last bit of this vacation, I reached for the leash instead and headed outside in the drizzling rain.  As I turned left out of my driveway, the color in the sky caught my eye.  Yep,  a beautiful, vibrant, bright rainbow fell from the sky. Actually, the elusive and   squeal-producing double rainbow!

rainbow small

I took a deep breath and really stopped to take it in. I found myself looking up and over the willow trees that I love at the end of my driveway. My eyes continued along the long arched lines of “ROY. G. BIV” (You know: Red. Orange. Yellow. Green. Blue. Indigo. Violet.) and watched as the lines were … unbroken.

My breath caught just a little and I took a few steps back to see the whole, full, beautiful rainbow. Right over my house.

I wanted my camera to capture it, but was afraid that  if I walked away it might be gone.

So I ran.

Dragging the dog back to the house, I grabbed my phone, which usually doubles as my camera, and ran back outside. Down the driveway, out into the road.  Trying to hold a leash and an umbrella and capture the image forever.

I was getting so frustrated again, because no matter where I stood, no matter how many steps backwards I took, I realized that I could never get the distance from this amazing sight in order to see the whole thing as I wanted.  And in that frustration, I decided to resign myself to the fact that it was too big, too amazing, too monumental to be captured in one frame. It just wasn’t meant to be. Just as I was letting that idea go…

I remembered that panaramic option on my phone.  Multiple frames.  Pieced together. To allow me to see and capture the whole of the rainbow.

Right over my house. Almost spotlighting my little world.

It was probably one of the most amazing images I’ve seen in a while.  I’m sure it means something. I just haven’t had a chance to completely comprehend what that something is.

But I know this. It made me stop. I took a deep breath.

And recognized once again… that perspective is everything.

Sometimes we have to change our vantage points. We have to step outside. Stop trying to force things to happen when the timing is off.  Trust that the right time will come. Get away from our frustrations and negative places.

To see the big picture.

Take a step back.

And look at it again.

rainbow

4 Comments »

Trail. — Yellow Cars+Bike Rides=A Pain in the Neck.

Happy Father’s Day!

Ever since we started the Eat Well. Play More. Choose Happy. initiative, we have stopped giving gifts on special occasions and have started giving … adventures.

Last year, we rented a boat and spent an afternoon out on the lake, swimming and tubing and soaking up some much needed Vitamin D.

This year, not to be outdone, the kiddos and I planned a trip to celebrate Fix It Felix/Zen Daddy on his special day.

Since X and Y cannot keep a secret to save their lives, I knew once I told them the plan that they would spill the beans in a heartbeat.  So, as a preemptive strike, I also told them the backup story to tell Felix instead.  Of course, that didn’t work either, so I let Felix in on the bicycle trip. That also put him in charge of making sure tires were full of air and he could get the bikes loaded in the truck, etc. So. I call that a Win. Win.

We piled into the pickup, with four bikes and four helmets in the back, and headed about 2 hours south. On the way, we played a game called, Skittles.  I owe this little gem to a work colleague of mine. Sometimes I want to thank him because we have so much fun; other times I want to curse him because it causes such a ruckus in my car. The gist is this: Every time you see a yellow car, you yell out, “SKITTLES!” I don’t know why…you just do and when you do…you get a point. (Side note: It is absolutely amazing just how many people buy a yellow car! Seriously?!)

Alas, you continue to collect points until someone sees a police car and calls out, “BUSTED!” At that point, this same person collects all of the points from everyone else and the game continues.  Then you have a “Obi Wan Kenobe, You’re my Only Hope” moment…because the only thing that can help you know is to be the next one to yell, “Busted!”

I know it probably sounds lame to all of you folks who live exciting lives of theater and movies and travel and fun, fun social lives…don’t judge, we like our cheap car entertainment. It amuses us. But some of us take it extremely serious! There are rules. There are five year olds who try to make up their own rules. There are exceptions and judges and a little bit of healthy trash talking…to the point that I had to get a pen and paper to keep score.

All in all, all had fun, especially me, when I saw a “Busted” and collected all 18 points. Champion Dance, right here.

All of this to lead us to a little town whose big business is bike rentals and shuttle vans to the top of a mountain. We brought our own bikes, but caught a van for a 35 minute ride up a curvy mountain road.  Felix and the girl child have carsick prone tummies, so they sat up front, while X and I, with our abs of steel, aka, we don’t get carsick, sat in the back.  Aren’t genetics absolutely fascinating?!

family

Once at the top, we unloaded our bikes and immediately set off down the gravel path.  It is mostly a downhill trek with some flat road pedaling. The kiddos were flying down the path and the Momma in me was yelling to … “slow down!” “watch out for big rocks”, and “the loose gravel can be tricky” and other Momma-like warnings like that! I remember reading that it would take an average of 2 hours to ride down the 17 mile trail. I thought, “at this pace, we will be down in an hour.” I also had a few immediate regrets…I forgot how shaded this place is,  as Felix and I haven’t done this in over 12 years and I wished I had worn a long sleeve shirt. And while I packed water and some granola bars, watching X fly down the path on his Avengers bike, his feet pedaling as fast as they could go, I regretted not packing some band aids.

What an amazing ride.  I loved every minute of it. The scenery is beautiful and once we got out of the tree cover, we would hit patches of sunlight that were glorious and warm. As we rode lower in elevation, the air temperature increased to early summer pleasant. We took turns riding together, enjoying some conversation down the path. Felix and I had a few moments to chat. X and I discussed our plans for the week. Y and I shared a sweet Mother-Daughter moment together.

I had told the kiddos that there was an ice cream shop about halfway down the mountain and that we would stop for a treat. But once we were past the 6 mile mark, I started to question my memory. Needless to say, after a while…so did they. They started asking me when would we get to the ice cream shop; how much longer; I’m so hungry, … etc. Finally…we saw a multi-colored sign up ahead. Even the five year old, who cannot read yet, intuitively knew that this was it! This was the ice cream stop. As we got closer, I realized we were in big trouble.

It was closed. Yes. Closed. As in … out of business.

Oh my. That was more than the boy child could handle. His little legs had already pedaled more than he has ever pedaled in his life and he was promised ice cream. And now his dream was over. Over! Needless to say, he had a tiny little meltdown that was part exhaustion and part disappointment. And I have to say, completely justified.

Fortunately, this was short-lived and we were able to put him back together with some water and some peanuts and a promise, that no matter what, there would be some ice cream…somewhere!

Off we went, only stopping for a few trips under bridges, down to the stream for a little old fashioned lesson in skipping rocks. I call this magic…making memories.

skipping x   skipping y

A few more miles and we did stumble upon another cafe where we stopped for some lunch… and of course, some ice cream. Just in time to replenish the energy of a couple of kiddos.

Down the path a bit more, we talked and rode and let others pass us and looked around and enjoyed each other and laughed and kidded and lovingly teased and played and challenged and just… were. Us. A family. Together.

It was the perfect way to celebrate a man in our lives who is the most intentional, the most calm, the most playful and fun Dad I have ever known. We are so fortunate to have him in our lives. He is the best Dad and Partner E.V.E.R.!

Happy Father’s Day, Felix! We love you!

After a fun day and ride like this, there may or may not have been a second trip for ice cream, before we hit the road for the trek back. On that ride, there was a challenge issued about who could pretend to fall asleep the best…

sleepy x and y

This happened.

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Try. Or Tri. As in…I did it! Part Three. A Triathlon Trilogy.

Or.

Finishing Strong Even When You Are Being Passed By a 12 Year Old.

By mile 4, I was really rocking that bike, both literally and figuratively. I was feeling strong, confident and just a little competitive. As I came up on the first bike ahead of me, I called out ‘on your left’ because I thought that was the polite cycling thing to do. I’m not sure that is actually the protocol in a triathlon, since that gentleman just looked at me a little annoyed. Once I passed him, I felt pressure to get a little distance between us. You know when that car passes you in the fast lane only to move over into the left lane and slows down? That’s what I was trying to avoid. I didn’t want to be THAT person!

So, I pushed hard and soon saw my chance to pass a few other folks.  I don’t think these were the same people that passed me in the pool, though. I think those folks were long gone. But maybe not. We were all wearing different disguises on each leg of this race, so it was hard to tell.

One of my fears before this race was that I would get so far behind the pack of folks and the course wouldn’t be well marked and I would miss a turn and actually get lost, never to find my way back. I know. I know. I looked at the course map before we started, but I didn’t have it memorized. These are not streets that I drive often, if ever, so I didn’t know really where I was around town. But, I am happy to say that I didn’t get lost. Many thanks to the fabulous volunteers in purple shirts who were at every intersection. Not only did they point the way, but they rang cowbells and held up signs and yelled out words of encouragement. I’d also like to make a shout-out to law enforcement who came out to help during the race. They, too, did an excellent job of stopping and controlling traffic for us in those tricky places. A few officers were cheering us on as well.

During the last two miles of the ride, I passed a father who was riding along with his 12 year old daughter. I know she was 12 because we were all wearing our ages, written in large black permanent sharpie markers (that would actually last all. week. long!) on the back of our legs. First, I was super impressed that this young lady was competing like this. Then I thought it was such a wonderful bonding experience for her to do this with her Dad. Before I realized that this little kid must have kicked my rear end in the pool which was why she was in front of me, so I allowed myself to feel just a little smugness as I passed them by with an “on your left.”

We turned the corner and climbed a steep hill, I could see the end of the ride and I for the first time, started thinking about what comes next. Dismount the bike at the line. Walk it back to my spot. Park the bike. Take off my helmet. And then…yeah, start running. 3.1 miles.

The thoughts of running a 5K next, distracted me from the fact that the little 12 year old that I was just so proud of, came up behind me, obliterating any bit of smug that I might have been feeling and passed me in the last few feet of that ride. I think her Dad put her up to it. She can brag at school on Monday about finishing ahead of a 40 year old. But she probably won’t. I’m pretty sure that won’t impress her 6th grade friends. 🙂

In a blur, I dismounted, parked the bike, took of my helmet…and then stood there for a second. The only thing left to do was now run.

I turned to start on this last leg (Ha! See what I did there?!) and tried to move these new blocks of cement that were attached to my hips. It was the strangest feeling. My legs felt like jello that had been mixed with concrete and stirred together to create a new type of gelatin. A gelatin that I was supposed to now run on. I just kept picking one up and putting one down and thought, this isn’t so bad. I just have to run three miles and then I’m done. A triathlete I will be!

Following the directions of the purple shirts, I headed toward the end of a street, where a woman told me that I would see her again on my 2nd lap. Wait. What? There is a 2nd lap to this course? I turned and was trying to figure out exactly where I would be running, when I spotted him.

Up ahead, already wearing his blue medal around his neck, was my Felix, who had come back for me. (I think he was really just relieved to see that I had made it out of the pool, too!)

He asked if he could run with me, knowing that I’m usually a loner-type runner, but this time we had so much to catch up on. We ran and swapped some, ahem, war stories, of our triadventure together, yet apart.  It was fun to hear about his swim, ride and run. We congratulated and encouraged each other. I realized that this was such an amazing thing to be able to do this (kind of ) together.

I did indeed, see that purple shirt lady again as I made the turn for the 2nd lap.

Felix, who had just ran an extra mile or more with me, stopped and said, “You go ahead and have your finish line.”

How awesome is he, I ask you?

So, I did. I kept running. I felt good. I was proud of myself. As I came down the final stretch, the announcer called my number and name! I threw my hands up in a nonchalant celebratory way as if, ‘Yeah. That’s me. I do this. This triathlon thing.’ I might have even ‘WhooHooed’ a little bit.

I crossed that finish line.

They crowned me with my first triathlon medal. My first swim, bike, run bling.

I did it. I completed a 300 meter UGLY swim, a 10 mile bike ride (lost to a 12 year old in the last seconds), and then a 5K run on concrete jello legs with my Felix.

And I accomplished all three of my goals.

1) I did not drown. Check.

2) I finished in less than 2 hours. Check.

3) I did not come in last place. Check. (Oh, and I did check to make sure there were still lots of folks behind me!)

I am.

A triathlete.

(Later, as we were packing up and nibbling on some oranges, Felix very casually asked me if I would like to do another triathlon. I very casually answered, “Yes. Yes I do.” …

But I really need to take some swimming lessons first!”)

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