Winter has this spectacular way of garnering our affection with visions of bright sunshine on fluffy white snow, snow days, sledding, snowmen and angels, hot cocoa and fires.
It also has it’s own unique way of driving us nuts with shoveling, rescuing our car, pondering what to do about the ice dams ruining the gutters, and most recently, fervent cabin fever. (Though to be honest I don’t mind the shoveling).
Cabin fever hit me hard.
Days ago in the mail, I received a catalog full of women built like thoroughbred racehorses. And, like racing horses, these women are spectacular examples of what devoted training and athletic commitment do to one’s appearance. Flipping through the pages was stunning, but more than that, they reminded me that they are active because they *enjoy* it. I am less active because it hurts, and seems futile with kids crawling on me. It planted a seed.
The next day, we ended up at REI for fun to let the kids climb on “the rock”. REI supplies “the rock” for those considering a shoe purchase and want to know how the shoe will feel while actually on a real rock. Perfect for a munchkin.
There is more fun to be had though with small children at REI. What better than a 30′ long hanging rack of bicycle tires to go spelunking in with your matchbox car? (Yes, the associates were right there. No, the kids were not destroying things 😉 ).
This is how I found myself supervising children amidst kayaks and canoes mounted along walls, jogging strollers, bicycles, running, climbing, and hiking equipment. The longer we spent, the more I felt closed in on. Every week in my previous life in Alaska was spent biking or hiking with my dogs, snowshoeing in the mountains, kayaking across the lake…going and doing! Even with one child back in MI, I would toss him in the Ergo on my back and we’d go explore the park. But with two littles, in the winter (read: nano-attention spans for any focused activity outdoors), I don’t go at my pace anymore, I go at theirs. I love going at theirs. This is what gives my life value.
I found myself craving to go at mine again.
Feeling sorry for myself, I wallowed in self-pity convinced that all my friends who want to work out or go do stuff un-kid-related just make plans with their spouse and do it, and I can’t because my wonderful husband is 2000 miles away working his butt off to create a life for us. Boo-freakin’-hoo (insert dripping sarcasm). I realize this is a gross oversimplification, but when I’m wallowing, logic often takes a back seat to my own misery. I surely felt pathetic and hopeless that night.
The next day I remembered to have my green smoothie and my mindset did a 180, as it usually does. I decided I could choose to feel sorry for myself, or do something….but I didn’t know what….I still had two kids and still have always disliked running. Seeing that the product of the two choices ended up with me essentially still out of shape, bitter at becoming the human jungle gym any time a workout tape was thought about, and eating chocolate for comfort at night again, or I could buck up, do something scary like attempt to contact a real runner as though I could actually become more than a duff in my office, dive into the unknown and see what I came up with.
These are the ladies I found that night…the ones sponsored by the catalog I’d received. (click on sentence to take you there).
Freaking awesome. These are some can-do ladies. These are women with families, with commitments, with visions. They are making things happen though!
I am going to be a can-do lady too.
Thirty minutes of snow shoveling allowed the gates and shed doors to swing open. A bit of grunting drug the bike stroller several hundred feet through a foot of snow. A LOT more grunting, sliding and slipping brought us through the unplowed streets to the park (which had plowed it’s paths!). I was going for a walk come hell or high water.
Feeling the burn was glorious because I was OUTSIDE!!!!! Going as fast or slow as I wanted. It was pure heaven.
There is nothing more encouraging than getting a tiny burst of energy to jog 20 paces and hear your 3yo son yelling, “Weeeeeee! Whoa, Mom! You’re going SO FAST!”, nor so encouraging as hearing, “Mom! Mom! Go fast again!” each time I stop. Oh, pshaw…if you’re enjoying it so, then perhaps…
Getting in and out of the park was no job for ninnies. Tonight we told stories of “boofing” through the snow burms to get into the park. Our attempt to get out of the park required all hands on deck, and out of the buggy, too.
Leaning my shoulder into the stroller to plow through the snow on the streets and pushing my load of sweet, smiling goodness, I couldn’t help but think this was the most fun I’ve ever had trying to run. I still wouldn’t say I’d gone for a run, but I promised Little Boy that if we practice, before long Momma’s muscles will get so strong I’ll be able to go fast the whole way. He liked that.
And somehow in the whole thing, the very source of my initial frustration was transformed into something new and unexpectedly inspiring and pleasant. I guess growing up happens in the doing and the action, not just the thinking and plan-making….I forget that sometimes.
I’ll let you decide what the kids thought of the outing too….no tears here!