The big C

I thought we would beat the odds. I had no clue when we were at the playground just over a month ago I would eat my words. ” You know. We are so blessed to have healthy kids.  They may drive us crazy from time to time but we are very lucky”.  This was said to one of my best friends, K.  Now, not even 4 weeks later her world was rocked with what very well may be the worst news she will ever receive.  Ks daughter P ( 5) has Ewings sarcoma.  It is a very, very, very rare form of bone cancer. P has already started chemotherapy. P will be not be going to kindergarten that starts tomorrow. P is no longer doing gymnastics. Just overnight, their world has been flipped upside down. Playdates have now turned into doctors appointments. Sleeping and eating is not happening very often. Tears, screaming and more tears have taken the place of joking and making plans of getting the band back together (that is what we call getting all of us out for a date night).

Of course we have other friends and acquaintances that we see but in the “band” there is 6 of us. Each has claimed their role in the friendship and  we all play our part very well. The 6 of us is made up of me, K and S and then our husbands. Our kids is everyones kids.  You see my kid acting a fool.. feel free to correct their behavior.  Husband working late or going  out of town… come over for dinner. Sad, Angry, Happy, Blah, Sick, Tired- whatever… lets get together to talk about it.  The band is not just friends- The band is my family. My core. My support.

P’s diagnosis has stopped us all in our tracks. Of course we are doing everything we possibly can to help but we can not take this away from them. This nightmare that keeps reoccurring daily. Waking up knowing the truth and the long road that lies ahead. Praying, talking, crying, yelling and praying some more.

Why is it that in life it takes something like this. Truly life changing to make you dig in and dig deep. Things that used to over take life ( laundry, mowing the lawn, and dusting) is now replaced by ice cream for dinner, board games at night and that one extra story during bedtime.  Getting up to run at 4am is now seen as a privilege not a chore.  I now thank my body after every run. Thank you for holding me up and propelling me forward.Thank you for making me feel alive. Thank you for my heart beating out of my chest. Thank you for my legs pushing and pounding the pavement away. Thank you lungs for helping me breath hard and deep. Thank you God for another day that I am alive and healthy.

When its quiet, I cry and lose faith and then pray to get it back. When I am having a good time with my kids, my heart aches for K who is in the hospital with P. This never leaves me. Its always in the background. The fear of what will be and the mourning of what was.

P is not my child but she is. K is not my biological sister but she is.

I keep reminding myself that God has a reason for this. A silver lining. Something that we can all look back at have a ” Ahhh. Thats why”. I am not there yet. I am trying to believe and to not question. But I am not anywhere near here. I am trying and I will keep trying. Praying. Mediating. Crying. Yelling. Repeat…

But for now- I give myself permission to cry, scream, to be angry and to still pray for hope and understanding and guidance. Life can be ugly and beautiful. Life can be filled with joy and sorrow. Adulting fucking sucks. Being a parent is harder than hard. My heart can not even imagine having a sick child. How this is now your new life that you never planned on having. Never would wish on your worst enemy. Why God?  Why children? Why P?  Why them?

I will walk every step of this nightmare with my best friends. I will show up everytime even if it is hard and emotional. I will say inappropriate things to get laughs. I will cry with you. I will have one too many glasses of anything with you. I will rally the troops when needed . I will guard you and your family like a momma bear. I will keep asking you daily what I can do for you or your family. I will worry deeply about you when I am supposed to be sleeping. I will dedicate my runs and mediation to you. This is my role in the band.

And I will play harder and better and more amazing for all of you and all of us.

cancer sucks

 

21 days

How many parents are marking off the days until school starts? 21 days until M starts 1st grade. 21 days for me to have her home and not in school all day for the first time. The other day, M and G were fighting all.day. long.  The fights were over everything.  M counted how many pretzels I gave G and then counted how many I gave her.  I failed. I gave G two more pretzel twists.  In that moment, I thought ” I can not wait until you go back to school. One child will be so much easier for me to deal with”.

Now-I am going to be real. I have thought this before during other incidents and accidents ( and I am human and will think these thoughts again)  Wishing away the child who was causing me the extra stress. Just needing to have a break from the constant ” Momma. MoMMMMMMM”, the screaming and fighting.

During todays early morning run, I was very blessed to run with 5 other ladies ( all moms). Boston Nancy has a daughter who will be a sophomore at college. As we were talking about returning to school, Boston Nancy became sad just thinking about her daughter leaving. 2 of the other moms have junior high aged children and then the rest, grade school and toddlers.

This run almost did not happen for me. I got up at 3am and posted on the group page that I was out and would run 4 miles later.  Sleep seemed to be my focus. As I lay in bed tossing and turning, I prayed and asked God what to do. After 15 minutes, I got up and got ready for the run. Driving to the run, I was regretting my decision. A few more hours of sleep was my focus. Once we started the run and we were all talking about our children and being moms, I had a lightbulb moment.  I little insight, forgiveness and grace.

Its ok that I do not love every moment being a mom. Its ok that I go to the upstairs bathroom  or go to check the mail for the 4th time in a day just to give myself a mom pep talk and to get my GAMEFACE back on. Its ok that I use the back up sitter once a week for a few hours just to have some 1-1 time with M to do things that we can’t do with G (2). Its ok to text my friend when I feel like I can not take one more minute of anything. Its ok that I serve cereal for dinner and have ice cream dates for lunch. Its ok that I nap with G naps. Its ok that I have not bought my single item on the back to school list or filled out any school paperwork.  Its ok if I choose not to join the PTA and get side eyes from all the other “better” moms. It ok that sometimes bedtime is at 7pm or 10pm. Its ok if pjs are worn all day long or I ask them to get dressed as soon as they get up.

I know it will be all ok.  God choose me- ME- out of all the other millions of women to be M and Gs mom. He trusted ME to carry them for 9 months. He trusted me to guide and to love them through this world.  God did not expect me to do this all on my own. He gave me an amazing husband, family ( my mother in law is an angel on earth.), friends, running, yoga and mediation.  God also has given me faith, hope, patience, and love. God also has given me strong coffee, wine and date nights out with my husband. All of these things make me a better mom and human.

21 days ( or the rest of my life) left to start being me- the mom I am supposed to be. Not the mom that looks good in pictures, Pinterest and in Parent magazines.  Me. Not the summer checklist mom (you know the one- the one who does “things”  just so we can say we done things this summer). Me. The mom that God made because he knew what M and G needed.

As Boston Nancy and I finished the run, I realized that before I know it, I will soon be counting down the days until my gremlins come home from school. I will now just start counting down the seconds until the “not so glorious” moments are over.

Today, I encourage you all to give yourself love and grace. We are all in this together.

8 ( because it is my favorite number) things that I did not expect when I first started running with a group

1. I talk about everything and I mean everything with my running partners. Who knew you would be sharing deep dark dirt with gals that you merely have only met a year or two ago  (sometimes less than that). We have covered some pretty hefty topics in 5 , 10, or  14 miles that I have just grazed with dear hubby of almost 15 years.

2. You become obsessed with them reaching their goals almost more so than your own. Recently, I went away on a girls weekend with two of my non-running friends ( I am shocked they still wanna hang with me as running is my hot topic and all conversations lead back to me talking about running somehow…) and some of my dear running group friends were running a half marathon. I could not stop logging in to FB to see how they were doing. I also signed up to get text updates for a few of them.  Their victories are mine along with their losses. To be able to feel so ecstatic or so sad shows the depth of the relationship that has developed over the miles.

3. I am shocked at my ability to get up at 4:30am to meet these ladies for a run. If I try getting up at this time to go for a run by myself, it doesn’t happen. I have tried it. Even today. Set the alarm for 5am. Snoozed multiple times.  Because of this, I have already  lined up  3 “early bird” runs for this week with my alarm set for 4:15am. Not only do I get to catch up with some of my BRFs, I get my run in before the sun and kiddos are up.

4. You fall in to peer pressure… but the good kind. Plank challenge for 30 days straight. Sure! Can you run this half marathon with me? Ok! Lets do that 5k that is setting up after we just ran 8 miles and its hot has horse balls out. No problem! This actually just happened this past Saturday with my BRF Leslie. We were super tired and hot but we heard the 5k fee was for youth summer camp ( and we also paper, rocked, scissored- which in my opinion- is the best way to decide anything.).  They actually postponed the race for us so we could sign up and pay. SO much fun.  I even came in 3rd in my age division. Ok- so there were only like 15 people and I really wasn’t going that fast but I will take my 3rd place yellow ribbon proudly and mail it off to my whoirun4 buddy, Jacob. In fact, I thought the time said 24:38 and that we were going to break 25 minutes ( which is a summer goal I have for myself). Nope. The sweat got in my eyes and I could not see.  The time was actually 28: something. This just makes this spur of the moment 5k an even better memory.

5. You recruit other people to become a part of your running group because it is simply the best running group ever with the most supportive woman you will ever find.  I also belong to another running group and it is nationally known but to be honest, I am not a huge fan. They are very competitive (not my gig) and kinda bitches ( in my honest opinion). I am sure that they feel the same about their running group as I do mine.

6. You have this need to want to try to merge your running friends with your non running friends but you need them both for different reasons. Separate but equal. I love you both the same but in different ways.

7. The support goes beyond running. You are getting a divorce- how can I help? Need a new job- let me pass along your resume. Looking for a sitter- my teenage daughter is available. Where should we go on vacation? Belize for sure. I think my two year old is turning into a bully. Mine as well. Can I borrow your fancy black dress for this wedding I don’t want to go to? Of course!  The network is strong and build on a solid trusting foundation.

8. You can swear and bitch about your husband (not you of course sweetie), kids, jobs, in laws ( but not mine as they are truly the best), the rude stranger at the store, why in the hell is milk $5, lack of motivation, fell of the nutrition wagon ( again for the the third time this week), etc and after you are done, you feel better. Lighter. Less angry. More human.

Running is cheaper than therapy (except when you go to your favorite local running store to just buy new shoes and walk away with a new hat, socks, visor, nutrition, and whatever inspirational book they are promoting).

What do you love most about your running crew? group running

1:56:49

It has been well over a month since my first half marathon of the season.  Glass City (Toledo, OH) was the half that I selected to conquer my goal of a sub2. The running group that I am so happy to be a part of (FTR… which means finish the race OR depending on how awful in is, F*ck this Race!) sets goals every January for the upcoming year.  For me the goals were 1) sub2 2) run a half for fun without considering goal time or pace 3) run a half at a steady pace the entire time  and 4) run a marathon .  It brings me joy to report goals 1 and 2 are complete!  Glass City was amazing.  1:56:49 was my time.  A friend from FTR, I call her Boston Nancy, paced me.  Nancy is a rockstar.  She knew just what to say and when to say it.  She talked me off the ledge miles 9.5-11. I am not sure what happens, but every single time I near 10 miles, even on a training run, my mind starts wigging out and then my body follows. Once I get past 11, I am gravy for the next 2. In fact, I have a tendency to speed up the last 2 miles.

Goal #2 was the Cleveland half.  I signed up for this with my gal pal/yoga teacher Erica 1 week before the race.  We wanted to do the CLE half  because we both love the little neighborhoods that CLE tucks away.  CLE half was my very first half marathon May 2012. It has a super cozy spot on my heart. Also, it is usually down right HOTTTTTT to the point that many people have passed out or have ended up in the medic tent due to dehydration. Not this year.  This year it was 30 degrees and  I am not kidding when I tell you, we witnessed all possible weather conditions in 13 miles.  On the way to downtown, we saw 8 cars in the ditch due to freezing rain/hail/ice.  Did I mention, that I also had strep throat?  Did I also mention that my uncle had died 4 days prior?!?!?!?  I was a hot cold mess.  Despite all of the above, we just took our sweet ole time.  We stopped at every water stop. We assisted a fellow runner who was pushing a girl with Rhetts syndrome.  We were literally removing hail and snow from this poor girls face while trying to wrap her up in dry trash bags.  E is in the type of person who just radiates calmness and good vibes.  If I do not see my friend weekly, I feel off. She balances me and makes me,me ( if that makes sense.). Our finish time was somewhere in 2:32ishhh range.  By far the slowest BUT the most rememberable race to date.

Goal #3- I have a half marathon in mind for this in the Fall.

Goal #4- Chicago marathon training started this morning.  7 miles at 8am.  Holy Shitballs batman.  It was ROUGH. Like- consider “why in the hell am I even a runner ” rough. I am so very thankful I had my sole sister Leslie with me. We were both on the struggle bus today.  Legs felt sloppy. Humidity was insane. Stomach was uneasy. Yesterday, M (6) and I did a lady tutu 5k but we did a run/walk combo so I don’t think that was it.  We did also take a bike ride and I mowed the lawn as well as helped lay some mulch. I didn’t feel sore. I felt outside of  myself. Like my body was foreign to me. So weird. Hoping to never experience this again.

The last few months I have been sick. I have had allergies, strep throat, and bronchitis with croup ( all diagnosed by the doc and treated with different meds). Because of this, my running, eating, sleeping, and hydration has been off. Todays run proved to me just how serious I need to get.  A marathon is a major event and proper training needs to take a priority in my life. Giving 100% is all I can do. I want to stand at the starting line knowing I gave it my all. Speaking of.. I better get off here and go drink some water.

Attacking the Attachment

Allow myself some grace for the less than stellar moments. I am ( and will remain) perfectly imperfect.

For lent, I declared with my dearest friend, C, to give up booze and sugar.  I added mediation and gratitude. We are 14 days in. Let me be honest from the get go.  I have consumed booze and I have had sugar.  I have also meditated and made my grateful list.  3 times I have had some sort of alcohol and I think it is about 4 times that I have had some sort of sugar treat.  Prior to lent, I was partaking in sugar daily and booze at least 4 times a week.

Some may look at this and declare a fail. Some may also look at this and think perhaps I have a problem with booze.  Some may understand 100%.

I am not Catholic but I wanted to support my friend.  The times that I have “given in” the guilt is present and very real. Setting goals and meeting them are motivation for me.  I think that is why running is always my “go to”.  Training schedule indicates to run 3 miles.  Check. Done. Next.

Lent has taught me that I have attachments to above mentioned items as well as others. I am a complete asshole if I do not get to run and do yoga.  My body NEEDS these things for me to feel complete.  Coffee also makes the list.  Mediation is now on the list too.  Every morning, I make myself take 5 minutes to sit with my thoughts.

Are these attachments such bad thing?  If push comes to shove, could I give up living with no attachments?  If they are ok then why the guilt?

Let us also not forget my old blue Nike sweatshirt ( its has multiple stains- including bleach).  For whatever reason, I remember THE exact day I bought this sweatshirt in college.  It provides security for me.  I can not get rid of it and I do not want too.

I will continue to do my very best with lent.  I do feel much better and have more energy for my runs. I have also been straight vegan for 24 days. All I can do ( or all that we can do) is show up and do the best that we can given what the day brings .

Lent is also teaching me to be gentle with myself.  Allow myself some grace for the less than stellar moments.  I am ( and will remain) perfectly imperfect.

Lets talk about Gin

How Gin made me realize the changes that are occurring.

I am hands down a vodka girl.  Love it many of ways but prefer vodka “chilled. up. little bit dirty with 3 blue cheese stuffed olives, please”.  Any of my friends that have been with me when I order this lovely “just a little but dirty” martini looks at me quizzical. I know what I like when it comes to drinks, chocolate, and friendships.  My standards are high and if the night is a good one, all the above happen together.

Last night, I was honored to host book club.  We read “Girl on the Train” and one of my best gal pals (K) recommended having Gin and Tonics as the main character drinks a shit ton of these on a train, out of a can ( god love the British). With this being my first time hosting book club, I wanted to make a good first impression.  I went to my local grocery store at 10am and hit up the liquor store.  Along with the gin and tonic, I also purchased 3 bottles of wine, milk and goldfish crackers. The mid-sixities check out lady was a little taken aback but I think the goldfish crackers made her feel a bit at ease.

This is the first time I have ever had gin.  I like it.  I like it a lot.  The lime+gin combo is pretty impressive.  In fact, I am sipping on one at this very moment.  Gin for me is another drink option but it also made me realize that other tastes in my life have changed as well.  This coming from the girl who never had salsa until college ( I know, right!?!!).  Sushi scared the crap out of me until I tried it in Mexico on our honeymoon ( Again. I know, right!  Sushi and Mexico?  Wat. )  Now I crave it.  My husband is obsessed with hot sauce, hot peppers and anything spicy. After being with him for almost 15 years, I now have developed a taste for the hot sauce.  Franks used to be too hot for me.  Sriracha now keeps appearing on more and more of my foods

Now that I am mid-thirties, my tastes have changed when it comes to what I need from my relationships as well as what I need from myself. I have been beyond blessed with a handful or less amazing friends. Before, I wanted numbers.  I wanted to feel popular and well liked. Pretty. And smart.  I needed a lot of people around me to fill in the holes of my insecurities.  A few of these gals (K and S) have been only in my life for the past 3-4 years but honestly, it feels like we have been friends beyond this lifetime.  These gals are my mommy friends. I met them through a random picked playgroup when M was 2.5.  Thank god for that playgroup.  They have seen me at the highest and the very lowest points of my life, to date.  My other BFF (C) was given to me in college.  We met through a mutual friend of ours, a total hussy, leaving us at the bar to go home with randoms.  C wasn’t going to leave me by myself.  We bonded over said hussies never ending crisis filled life. C lives on the East Side and I only get to see her every other month or so but we connect every. single. day.  In fact, C just got back from a family trip and I about lost my mind.  Not to have communication with her was tough.  C is rock solid.  And bluntly honest. I love both and need both of these qualities in my ROD (ride or die) chicks. C,K,and S can look at me or hear the tone of my voice (or text) and call bullshit if I am pulling ” I am fine” while the tears are pouring down my cheeks or the rage is exploding out of my ears.  They get ME.  Let me be ME.  They call me out of my hippy side but love it at the same time.  They know when I am uncomfortable at another mommy event and stick by my side.  They text me to remind me to get my run in, eat healthy or take sometime for myself.  They listened to me complain for 9 lonnnnggggg months straight as this last pregnancy was my nemesis.   We text/ email with good news, bad news, shitty news, happy news or even no news.  We send each other funny articles off of scary mommy or huff post.  They are sometimes the silver lining on what seems like the rain cloud that will not go the eff away.  Without them, I would be lost.  I would feel empty.  I would be incomplete.

What I now need from myself is ever changing but this is also new for me.  I used to be very uncomfortable to the limbo position. Being a Libra, my daily goal is to feel balanced.  I am a very black/white girl.  I am either 100% into being healthy ( running, yoga, vegan, water, mediate, sleep, read, sex) or- not. What I need from myself ( at this moment) is embracing the imbalance. Being in the moment with G as he wants me to play choo-choo instead of putting him off for one last flip of the laundry or loading the dishwasher.  Its reading that one more story to M at night.  What I need now from myself is playing scrabble with GG or listening to her favorite teenage story just one more time.  Its staying awake to see my husband after work just to check in with him and see in his eyes if he is really doing “Ok”. What I need is to say yes to the things that make me feel excited and no to the events that I am just ehh about.  What I need is to give myself grace.  patience.  kindness-if the day spirals out of control.   What I need is to love myself.  Fully.  Deeply and unquestionable.

And if this doesn’t pan out, I still have gin and C, K and S.