Tuesday, November 17, 2009

rest within the race

Two boys are busy. Now, it is all relative. My friends with 3 or more roll their eyes enduringly at me. They smile and nod with a knowing smile that says, in the nicest way possible, that I have NO idea.

But really, I think I have an idea….maybe just one, but I’ll put it out there.
When I started training for a ½ marathon, I had no idea how long 13 miles is. Really, I didn’t, or I wouldn’t have followed through probably, heh. I stuck to my training schedule and each time the mileage increased I’d start to get a bit anxious. Wow, 5 miles? That’s far. How will I make it? What if I have to walk? Do you think I should take some gel? Like I said, I had no idea. Each time I would come home from a run I’d tell Randy I wasn’t sure if I had another mile in me.
But I always did.

Parenting is a really, really, really long training schedule. Each child adds a different dimension. There are some “runs” that make us want to quit and throw it in. After others we feel like we “just don’t have another mile in us.” There is no throwing the towel in or returning a child, there is an acceptance of the training, and a moment in which finally, an answer, never the answer, is clear.
One child, two children, red children blue children, it doesn’t matter – there are challenges in this race, this race in which to raise creative, kind, confident kids with a heart for others. It is hard, and sometimes it takes moments of selfishness to really do the trick.

For my mother, it was walks around the house. When she couldn’t stand our bickering and complaining we would find her walking around the house. She would pause at the flowers, pull weeds, or just walk. Over and over, she’d walk. For me, it is running. When the boys become too much, when I’d rather put them to bed at 9 am than start the day, I know it is time for a run. My grandmother sewed, my husband fishes, and my friends read, go for coffee, scrapbook, and watch movies. There are times built into the training called rest days. Those are the days where 44 hours of wii is ok. Those are the days where one more movie isn’t going to hurt. Those are the days where ice cream for dinner is just about perfection. Those days, those rest days, are important. They allow us to build back, center again, and remember the goal at the end.

This Saturday was a running day. Randy and Drew went to the hockey game and Owen and I went swimming. This weekend poor Owen’s binky “broke” and they just don’t make any more. He was sad, couldn’t sleep very well, and was, frankly, mad at the world. It was time for binky to go, and it was time for me to man up and run the run. Somewhere in this week will be a rest day. A day to release all the tension and unrest from the weekend, but in the meantime I keep reminding myself that: A. My miles and someone else’s miles are different and certainly we are training for different races. B. that I can run another mile. And C. I love the process. I love the training. I love the challenges.

Enjoy the race.
Enjoy the rest.


Hip Mom's Guide said...

I love this analogy! That's just right: as parents we are in training for a tremendously long run and some days...some are fantastic and some make me want to pull my hair out. Maybe I should go for a run!

Tim said...

You gals keep setting the bar higher and higher. Please don't throw things at me after my posts next week!

Heather said...

This is really lovely Julie. I have to agree that 2 kids is just as challenging as more. It's just where each person is in his/her journey. When I had only 2 kids I thought it was exceedingly hard. Actually, in some ways three is easier!

Yay for recharging parenting batteries too!

Pattie said...

Can a non-parent comment here? Anyway, I am. Great writing and it makes total sense.