In which this is saving me right now

I can't seem to say anything here anymore. Stories crouch on the tip of my tongue, and I swallow them down without sharing. Instead, I scribble shorthand in a journal. I run slow and long while words come together fast and clear and fade as quickly. I am forgetting so much, the cute things they said, the lessons I learned, the poignant holy moments. But it's no longer the worst thing in the world to remember only the essence and not the detail.

Because I'm not on auto-pilot. I'm here, blinking it in. I see the way life unfolds in front of me, sometimes ugly, sometimes gorgeous, always a gift, and I don't have to name it to make it real. I'm here, sometimes full of angst and sometimes of wonder, but full. Always full.

I feel like a traitor to myself when I say I'm tired of words, the way they divide, the way they annoy, the way they add up to so little. Me--the once wannabe writer and the current "words of affirmation" junkie--tired of words? Maybe it's just my own words I'm tired of. As it is, I talk too much and listen too little.

Sometimes I'm foolish enough to think that life isn't quite as disappointing for everyone else, that their existence is as sing-songy and hilarious and amazing and exciting and completely devoid of drudgery as their Facebook updates suggest. I start to think I'm the only one who gets so annoyed with my children (so completely annoyed) that I break my own rule about loud voices in the car by screaming (SCREAMING!!!) at them to be "QUIIIIIET!!!".  I start to I think I'm the only one who leaves the stupid Slip-n-Slide outside to dry in my white trash yard and forgets about until it rains a whole stinking week later, and then gets sprayed in the freakin' face as I race to fold it up. Ok, I probably am the only one who does that. But you know what I mean. Life is always harder than it looks on the screen.

I was offered a consulting(ish) job this past week, and while I knew at once the timing wouldn't work, I let myself dream for a moment what it would be like to have a 9-5 break from the children again. Yes, while everyone else is clicking "Like if you will love your children forever!", I am daydreaming about going back to work so I can get away from them.

I want to get lost in the woods, to walk and run and walk and run for hundreds of miles until I have a unibrow and no idea how truly awful I smell. I want to go off the grid, to find that quiet place where the most solid and vulnerable pieces of me can emerge without threat of being smashed to bits.

Sarah Bessey wrote a piece I just loved about what's saving her right now. At her invitation, I started to write a post about that too, and this is what came out. I guess confession is what's saving me right now. Admission. That I'm screwed up and that my dining room table holds 500 pounds worth of medical journals (that are all online but still somehow cannot be thrown away until the one person in the family who has ZERO time can go through them). Admission. That I'm insecure and impatient and that I only clean the house when my nieces come to babysit because they are used to my sister's standard of cleanliness and I'm afraid of being judged by a 14 and 15 year old.

Really, I'm not making this up. Confession is what's saving me. And maybe it will save you too, to know you aren't alone in the mess and the disappointment, to know that we all need saving.


A few things I don't want to forget

Last week, upon starting her daily "besponsibilities", my daughter told me, "Just you wait, Mama, my room is gonna be as clean as a weasel!"
"You mean clean as a whistle?"
"No, as a WEASEL."
Not exactly the standard for cleanliness, but okay then.


Yesterday, the kids were doing that thing again where they unknowingly impersonate Garth and Kat, and my seven year old asked me to take a video of them singing. (He clearly doesn't understand the future implications of putting any such video into the hands of his parents. Thinking ahead to the teenage years, the words blackmail and extortion come to mind.)

Anyway, we were in the car, so I said no to the video. His response was, "Well, then, we're going to keep singing crazy things for hours and hours until you take a video."

"Buddy, are you threatening me?"

"Oh yeah, and we'll do it, too." (Insert maniacal laugh, followed by the breakout hit "I'm Melting Like a Popsicle--and a Snowman...and a Snowman").


Big brother says to little sister, regarding her progress in Spanish: "You're doing okay, but you really need to work on your pro-uh-ni-ation." (He meant pronunciation.) Oh, lo irĂ³nico!


The people who say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery should've clarified exactly what's being imitated and by whom. My son has picked up on his parents' free-flowing use of sarcasm (What? Sarcasm is one of the love languages, right?), and is now throwing it regularly back in my face. He's even got the placement, intonation and timing down when he tosses in "Reeeeally?" and "Seriously..." Yes, this taste of my own medicine is quite delightful, thankyouverymuch.


I've been dragging the kids to the gym this summer a bit too frequently for their liking, and they are officially bored out of their minds in the childcare area. Yesterday, when I dropped them off, the boy asked how many miles I was doing, did a bit of math in his head, and then called as I left, "You better run a PR and get right back here to pick us up!"

Speaking of PRs, my friend Laura ran a pregnant PR on Sunday to win our age group. If you don't have one of those people in your life that pushes you to do whatever it is you do better, then you need to get one. Because nothing makes you want to run faster than getting beat (twice) by a pregnant lady. We've run a few long runs together (since her normal racing teammates are temporarily too fast for her), and I'm learning a ton from her as I try to ride her coat tails to hard-core-ness.

I don't write much here about running (who I am kidding? I don't write much here about anything.), so if you want to follow along with the running stuff, look for me on Daily Mile. It's a fun way to keep track of your progress and to connect with other runners, joggers, or slightly-faster-than-a-crawl-ers, whatever happens to be your happy pace.


My son has been looking for ways to earn money so he can build a theme park in the back yard. He just came up with a brilliant twist on the lemonade stand. He's going to go back to Nana's house, get her to teach him to sew, make like ten dress shirts--all different sizes--and sell them for $60 each. He figures he can get Nana to work for free, (and how much can the fabric and buttons really cost?), and he can pocket about $50 a shirt. That is, if he can keep distribution costs to a minimum with the road-side marketing approach. The wheels are always turning in his crazy brain. Nana, you've been forewarned.

The Entrepreneur and his Chief Production Officer


Nothing is worth more than this day

"Nothing is worth more than this day."  - Goethe

Emily posted this quote on Facebook, and if I hadn't already ruled out the possibility of divine revelation through Facebook, I'd have read it like a message from God.

I used to associate "living in the moment" with a brand of hedonistic irresponsibility. I mean, all you have to do is change one little preposition (living for the moment), and you sound more like Pitbull than Goethe, ascribing to that foolish mantra of "eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die". 

I've flown a responsible holding pattern for most of my life. Save for tomorrow? Yes, faithfully. Plan for what's next? Of course, diligently. Work hard, wait patiently, and step carefully. I equated doing the practical, responsible, feasible thing with doing the right thing.

But I was wrong about what it meant to do the right thing.

Today, the right thing looks very different than it used to.

It looks like traveling 3,000 miles for two short days just to witness her happy tears firsthand.

It looks like driving too far, letting them stay up too late, leaving them in the care of those who reportedly fed them ice cream for lunch.

It looks like taking chances, making introductions, running up hills, dancing like a crazy (sweaty) idiot.
(I was going to post a picture here of me and Sharone halfway through our run, or of me and Alexis obnoxiously hamming it up before the wedding. But then I decided I wanted them to stay friends with me, and they may not agree that posting sweaty and or incriminating photos to the interwebs is the "right thing.")

The right thing looks like forgetting about the weeds and the dust and the disaster zone that is two bedrooms and hallway turned "fort",

like riding bikes instead of cleaning rooms.

It looks like staying up too late to finish a book and getting up too early to start a run.

Nothing is worth more than this day. So I pull out of the responsible holding pattern, lower the landing gear, and touch down into the joy of this day. Who knew it would feel so freeing to do the right thing?

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