Monday, October 19, 2015

A Good Workout

You know you've done an awesome workout when...
1.       It’s fun right up to the point of muscle failure.
2.       Before you’re even done, you already start planning how much you’ll have to move for the rest of the day.
3.       Taking off your compression gear afterward feels darn near impossible.
4.       You absolutely have to take a shower for public health reasons, but you start to wonder if you really need to go to all the trouble of getting dressed again.
5.       At some point in that first hour post-workout, your entire being screams, “I want a pizza now!” (It’s a really good idea to ignore this feeling.)
6.       You line up glasses of water like other people line up shots on a bar—so you won’t have to keep getting up.
7.       Then you tell yourself to get up and move anyway—the longer you wait, the worse it’s gonna hurt.
8.       You wonder if work will consider “jelly legs” or “noodle arms” legitimate excuses to take a day off.
9.       You can’t wait to do it again—in a day or two!
10.   In a day or two, you feel awesome!


I'm a modern parent; it goes without saying that I have a lot going on.

By nature, I like to delve deeply into whatever I do. I like to do one thing intensely, then relax intensely, then do the next thing. I'm discovering that I have too many balls in the air to give myself that luxury.

It started when the kids still took naps. You learn pretty quickly that, when naptime's over, it's over. Whatever you got done is all you get to do until the next day. Then again, the kids and I shared long, lazy days back then. Maybe some days the kids needed me a lot, but we pretty much determined our own schedule.

Now the kids' activities determine the size of my blocks of time. And, in some weird twist of quirkiness, I now have a huge block of time alone each day, from nine to four, but I'm finding I have to deliberately divide it up in order to keep those balls flying. If I leave any project too long, I miss deadlines.

Look at our yard, for example. Well, don't look at it actually. Oh, go ahead.

We've had a long, wet summer here in southwest Florida. Stuff has grown. And grown. And grown. If I tried to do my usual One Long Day of Yardwork, I'd end up spending One Long Week. I can't afford to drop my other balls for that long.

So I'm teaching myself patience. One hour--or so--a day. I do as much as I can in the yard, then go inside and do my editing work. Then I do household management. Then I pick up the kids.

I have to be satisfied--or even a little proud--with incremental progress. A little at a time. One tiny step per day. Life is a journey, not a destination.

Days 1-3: Nearly finished--just needs mulch!
"To do" as of Day 3

Partly done on Day 4

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

These Boots

So, it’s almost too perfect—one of our first mother-and-middle-schooler moments came while buying boots for the first dance.

S. had her first dance a little while back, complete with a scheduling conflict requiring backflips to get her there, a Western theme, and a last minute trip to buy boots. I have absolutely no idea what went down at the dance—she says it was fun—but I loved the dance preparation.

The kids go to the same school now and have the same schedule, so I have more time to work, but less time with each of them individually. Like all growing and changing, it’s a tradeoff. Now that I have a nearly normal work day, I’m trying to keep nights and weekends for family time. That is awesome! But I miss that quiet time and space to hear each of them, to focus fully, to uni-task, if you will.

So it felt great to go to the mall on a school night, compare styles of suede ankle boots, text Dad for an opinion and roll our eyes over his tactful but less than helpful advice, wear the new boots out of the store, and then grab a soft pretzel. Well, technically, I bought the pretzel for her, but I took tax. I always take a little for tax. Really, they need to learn.

And no, I don’t mind that she’s wearing boots just one size smaller than I wear or that, when she tried on a pair with two-inch heels, we were nearly the same height. I love that I can put my arm around her waist and walk with her, just as I have with each of my sisters—both now taller than I am.

After all, her new boots? They’re made for walking. They’re perfect for strutting, for giggling, for striding, for spinning, for exploring, and for walking out into the big wide world.

The amazing thing about the whole process turns out to be what she brings into our home. Yes, she’s taking her first steps on her journey toward independence—on her journey out of our home and away from us. Just as she should! But I never expected to feel so blessed by how much she shares with us as she does.

Just tonight, after A DAY, one of those days that had me counting minutes until bedtime, she said, “Can I play you something I figured out on the piano?”

I said, “Sure.”

She started to play and my heart stood still. She played beautifully, recreating Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” by ear. As many times as I’ve heard that song, her performance opened my heart.

I love her. I love her heart. I love her gift. I love that she takes the things her dad and I give her, expands them, and gives them back to us.

I love that she’s growing up.