Happy UnBirthday

Another year, another birthday has passed. My birthday has never been a favorite day for me. I feel a sense of urgency to hurry up and make my life better. Lose the weight, be more present, get more sleep, declutter the house, etc. and do it all right now. Time is passing by and what in the hell do I have to show for it? What would my children and friends say about me and my life if I died today?

My grandpa also died on my birthday when I was 20 years old. We didn’t have a close relationship but my grandma (GG) and I are extremely close. She was so sad that he had died and at the same time pissed at him for dying on my birthday. GG didn’t want me to always have that memory.

Growing up, my birthday felt more like a burden than a blessing. Almost like some unexpected home repair that my parents had no interest in repairing or no means to do so. Actually, there were 2 birthdays that I truly believe my parents forget. I was turning 9 and then when I turned 14. No acknowledgment that I was born what so ever. I did, however, have one birthday party that I remember. I was turning 5 yrs old and it was a Burger King birthday party. This is the first time ( and only time) I remember waking up and being so excited that it was my birthday! I invited my entire kindergarten class and was so happy that kids showed up.

We had just moved back from North Carolina. My mom decided to move back and leave my dad in the middle of the night. My dad came looking for us and they worked things out. They have now been severely unhappily married for almost 39 years. This was the first ” I am leaving your Dad” memory that I can recall of several talks of separation, divorce and moving. Sorry, I digress…

Anyways, I am guessing ( now that I am a parent) that the famous Burger King birthday party was a way to distract me from the shit show that was/is my parents marriage. A nice distraction for the short blonde girl who had a southern twain that knew no one and was obsessed with Rainbow Bright.

Birthdays feel like New Years Ever to me. So much pressure to have a good time. Somehow a life changing event that occurs within 24 hrs. Usually it just feels like a shitty Monday to me but with extra pressure to fill the birthday void of the previous 30 some years. Questions of ” What did you do? What did you get?” give me anxiety. Its just another day to me but sometimes someone gets me a cake.

And I guess a shitty Monday is better with cake anyways.

I hate the age 2-4 years old.

I am writing this during my almost 3 yr old darling boys “nap”. It’s 2:19pm and I am just praying that he will sleep for like 43 minutes so he is not a total______ by 5:03pm.  We are also in the mist of potty training. ” MOMMMMMMMAAAAAAA. MOMMMMAAAAAAAAAA. I got to poop again (his little head up close screaming in the camera) !!!!!” This is the 3rd “poop” cry for help. I have no clue if he is actually pooping because he closes the door for “pri-a-ceeee ( privacy) and flushes the toilet before I can see what is going on. Which is hysterical since I have not went to the bathroom by myself in like 22 months ( Ok- I take that back… I did pee very very quickly during the Chicago marathon at mile 17 in a porta potty. Oh heaven!) I have also been in his room to fill the request of water, one more hug and room being too hot. This guy is a master manipulator with his blonde hair, blue eyes and eyelash for days.

I fear we are in the almost phase of no more naps. I can’t imagine how I will function with out this 1-3hr respite that I so very desperately need. DD napped until kindergarten and even then, she would sometimes come home and take a little 45 minute siesta ( she was half day kindergarten). I will be super excited for no nap in the summer when we are at the beach, park or waterpark. Its still March in Cleveland. Its 28 degrees today with rain expected for the next 13 days. Momma needs her time. Bad. My brain can’t play anymore trains, hockey or hoops.

2 weeks ago we got rid of the crib. He is now in half of my husbands bunk bed with is new Rogue One Star War sheets. I cried a little at the sight of him in his “Big Boy Bed”. G will be 3 in June. Preschool papers are in. He is registered to start the Tuesday after Labor Day. G will be going to the same place that M went. As I met the director to give my enrollment form and the downpayment, she was shocked that he was already preschool age. I also cried then. I will probably also cry when I no longer need to buy diapers ( maybe not now that I am thinking about that).

Why did I cry?  Is it because G is our last? Is it because I think I should have been more active with him- taking G to the zoo, park, beach more. Could I have been more patient- read one more book, given that 60th hug?  Maybe its because the ages of baby to preschool scare me. I feel like I have no control somedays ( most all days). Is it because this is solid factual truth that I am getting older? Am I where I should be at age 29 ( ok 37.)?  37 doesn’t seem too old but geez…I guess 40 is knocking on the door.

Every day I wish I could be more. More patient. More healthy. More of a fun mom. More of a better runner. More of a better friend, wife, daughter  ( insert the list that could keep going here_______).  I was just mediating before I started writing to attempt to distract me from G not napping. As I was setting up to type, something happened to let me know that I am enough.  ( This is my favorite saying from one of my favorite humans Glennon Melton Doyle). My daughters teacher ( whom I am OBSESSED with!) sent me an email today to let me know that they were talking about the meaning of the word brave. Each student had to give an example of this word. M said ” My Mom”. She went on to explain that I was brave because sometimes her brother ( G$) was mean but I still gave him hugs and played trains with him even after a timeout. She also mentioned that I was brave because I ran marathons.

Wow. I needed to read those words at that time. Thank you M, the universe and God. I needed the reminder that God ( or whomever you believe in) made me a mother to M and G for a reason.

Age  “almost 3 ” is not my favorite age but neither was mile 21 at the Chicago Marathon.  I finished that damn thing with a huge smile on my face and no doubt being transformed into a stronger person. This stage for me will be tackled how I plan to tackle the next marathon. Stay in the mile (minute) that I am in, rely on support to get me through  ( husband, family and friends) and lots of beer at the end ( same.)!

 

Ruminating

Another year has passed by so ever swiftly. I  make a conscience effort of  not living in the past but I do feel it is important to look back on the good, the bad and the ugly. This, for me, develops a stepping stone on areas of needed growth as well as holding some joy for the breathtaking moments that I will be sure to conjure up all my remaining living days.

Here is what I have learned in 2016.

-I need time by myself.  Neglecting this results in a pissed off mom, resentful wife and a not engaged friend. Furthermore, I need this daily. Gs nap time is such a precious piece of my day. This is my time to reboot and do whatever it is that I need to do. Nap. Read. Declutter. Watch a pointless TV show. Bake. Mediate. Sit outside in the quiet. I am well aware that the nap will be making an exit soon but knowing just how important this is to my being, I just know an alternative will be found. Waking up early in the morning to have some “me” time is also critical. I have to start my day before the kiddos rise. Christmas break was a wonderful respite and we did sleep in every single day. Now that school is back in session, my goal is to be up at least 1 hr ahead of everyone else. This ensures I get to have a hot cup of coffee, mediate and make my to do list.

-Running is part of who I am and denying this piece of me leads to toxic behavior. Truth be told, I still get giddy, nervous butterflies everytime I lace up. Sometimes more than others. I think this is because of the anticipation of what the run will bring for me. Sometimes it is a struggle with every single step. Others runs, it feels like I am an Olympian that could run an ultra without even trying. Every run is different and teaches a new lesson. After running the Chicago Marathon, I took a 3 month break from running ( well, everything). I ran maybe 4 times. These 4 times were social events just to see some of my dear running friends. Luck was on my side and I did get in the 2017 Chicago Marathon. To be honest, I did take a few weeks to contemplate if I wanted to do another marathon. Marathon training is intense. Other areas of my life go away. Resting, eating proper foods and following a strict training schedule dominates who I am for 10 months. Dear hubby is the lead duck on the weekends ( especially when the long runs hit the 15, 16,1 7, etc mile marker). After much consideration and even some daily praying, I want to run Chicago again. Running another marathon is good for me- body, mind and soul.

-I think I had a social media addiction. Facebook would be the first thing I did when I woke up and the last thing I did before bed. I would feel left out of the loop if I did not stay logged in and aware of what all my 200+ “friends” were doing. Kiddos and hubby would not get the full me because I was distracted by some other persons life other than being engaged in my own. The hours wasted on this makes me want to throw up. Guilt is still present. For lent a few years ago, I gave up Facebook and I remember reading so many books with the free time that I had.  While most of 2016 I was logged in, I am proud to say that the last few months I have definitely cut back on my social media time significantly. Enforcing a time limit has helped and some days I deem as no Facebook days.This makes me feel less cluttered and more engaged at home. I am now also excited to actually see friends and family because I have not seen every facet of the past 3 months documented on a timeline. The only reason why I do not think I will give up Facebook completely is because of my irun4buddy, Jacob. This is how we communicate and I post for him my runs with pictures, jokes, etc.

-The election brought up some hidden demons that have been a part of me for 30 years. I do not and will not get political now but I have to admit, I was shocked at what surfaced. It also provoked conversations, internal and external, on how to raise a daughter vs a son. I am still working through all of this and I think I will be for a while. Self reflection is a good thing.

-Following a vegan diet is best for MY body. I have dabbled in being vegan on and off for a few years now. When I am 100% on the “V train”, I feel my best. I get better sleep. My skin looks freaking amazing. I actually cut about 30-45 seconds off of my overall pace. My clothes fit. I have a sex drive. All and all, vegan is best for me. I am not a preachy vegan. I truly believe that everybody needs to find what works best for their body. My one friend swears by Paleo. Her results are the same as when I am vegan.  For the last 5 months, I have kinda eaten anything that I have wanted too. The results are not pretty. I hit the resist button a few days ago and I already feel amazing. This is a work in progress for me but knowing what makes me feel the best is such a huge step.

-Cancer truly does suck. Seeing one of best friends get up everyday and help her daughter fight is heartbreaking and sometimes even takes the breath from my lungs. To continue to see just how brave, resilient and strong P is, is inspirational. This also keeps her parents going ( at least on most days) and fighting the good fight. Some days the diagnosis seems unreal. The desire to skip all of this and to get back to “normal” is an overwhelming feeling. P is here to teach us all. The lesson is not yet revealed but I know it will be. Maybe it is to be more grateful, more loving, more resilient. Maybe its all of that. Or none. To be a witness to so much strength will forever be life changing.

2017 brings with it a much clear perspective on goals that I want to accomplish. Instead of running on the hamster wheel or having most days feel like groundhog day, I feel clarity, focused and determination.

Cheers to the New Year! Hoping 2107 brings to you whatever is needed in order for your life to be amazing!

 

 

Sing it, Johnny!

Don’t you want to enjoy whatever Christmas means to you?

You guys. Don’t tell my husband but… I am listening to Christmas music. I know. I know. Its early. Thanksgiving is 2.5 weeks away. I am usually “allowed” to start breaking out my Frank Sinatra Christmas CD the evening that we are decorating the Christmas tree.  Now, I am a sucker for some traditions, so ole blue eyes will remain in the dusty CD storage until the Coleman Christmas tree enters. For now, I am using Pandora ( which still blows my mind that you can get free amazing music).

Before you know it, I will be losing my ever loving mind trying to clean and get ready for us to have Thanksgiving.  We took on this tradition a few years ago and I do love it! Husband is a bad ass cook and I love to bake ( and drink wine!).  Usually I head downtown to do the 5 mile Turkey Trot but this year I may just run with some of my favorite running buddies local.  This is also the time that GG ( my grandma but the kids call her GG for Great Grandma) comes up and then stays with us during the winter months! We also started a family tradition of playing Apples to Apples were one of my BFFs ( S) comes over after her family dinner to have just ” a little bit” of wine and some laughs! Its usually a long fun night ending in more wine by the fireplace.

What I don’t love is what happens the day after. Now, I am not referrering to Black Friday where people much braver and motived than me ( and maybe a tad crazier) go stand in line for hours upon hours to get a pair of pajama pants for $5.  What I am taking about is the text, phone calls and emails from the family asking what my darling little angels would like this year for Christmas. I am forced to copy and paste some bullshit that I find on toyrus. com just to make the texts and emails stop. As I am giving them these ideas, my mind is focused on the fact that this is just more stuff. More mind numbing toys that my kids will like for maybe 5 minutes and then they will be off doing what they love most- asking me for snacks and refining the definition of fight club for our home with  the “hockey stick” addition sprinked in with “hula hoops can also be used as a weapon”.

Here’s the thing… I LOVE the family ( welp. most of them.) and they are all so very generous when it comes to Christmas and the kids but we do not need more stuff. In fact, I am in a scurry just to try to declutter the house now before GG arrives and before the holidays. This includes all toys, clothes, books, etc.

What I want my kids to have our memories and experiences. Come and take Madeline out to a play and lunch. Grant is obsessed with trains. Take him somewhere we would never take him to have an adventure. Don’t want to spend 1-1 time… then gift cards to movies, the aquarium, Disney on Ice ( shoot me, now) , an Indians game next spring, or a day pass to go tobogganing. Money towards monthly gymnastics fees or swim lessons. Let’s think outside the box, here. Teach my children something I can’t.  Can you sew?  Great. Teach my daughter. Master Lego builder?  Awesome. I will drop Grant off for 2 hours with snacks.  In fact, I want to do the “4 things for Christmas” for the kids ( want, need, wear and read) along with a few fun stocking stuffers.

And while I am at- I am done this year. Done. Done with doing brunches and dinners and breakfasts just so we can cross it ( as well as so you can cross us) off the “Holiday To Do” lists. Everyone can feel how forced, awkward and awful it is. No one wants to be there. Everyone is counting down the minutes until its over. Why?  Why are we doing this year after year after year?  I want to spend this time with my darling friends. I want to have a Christmas Holiday pajama party with hot cocoa, yummy food and fun holiday movies with my kiddos and some friends. I want to use this time to reconnect with friends that I have lost touch with over marathon training and “momming”. I want to sit by the Christmas tree with husband drinking an amazing red while Frank belts out all of my favorite songs. I want to bake cookies with my MIL, SIL and daughter.

Its time to Coleman this Christmas.  I encourage you to do the same.  Hate mailing out Christmas cards? Stop. Got to travel all day long for Christmas just to be in the car more than someones house? Stop. Buying pointless gifts for someone just because that is how it is always been done? Stop.

What if this is your last Christmas?  Your last holiday season with those that you love. Don’t you want to enjoy whatever Christmas means to you?

rest in peace, sweet boy.

On Saturday, we had the awful task of putting our dog down. Hudson was 14 years old.  He was a beagle.  The last 3 years, he was a diabetic that we had to give insulin twice a day.  Hudson was also taking an arthritis medication.  Hudson, or he often went by Puppa, was my first child. Hubby and I could not wait to get a dog when we moved in together. In fact, we moved in to the house we were renting on a Friday and we got Hudson on Saturday.

I will never ever forget seeing Hudson for the first time.  He was the chubbiest little one of the litter.  His ears were so long that as he ran he would trip over them. Hudson pushed his brothers and sisters out of the way to get to the food bowl.  We got Puppa when he was 8 weeks old.

Hudson was a little bit of a mommas boy.  He would wait up for me and only go to bed when I told him ” Night lights Puppa”.  Hudson would follow me down the stairs in the morning regardless of the time.  The last few months when I was getting up at 4:30am for runs, he would be right by myself and until I left.  After I left, he would return to bed until he was ready to eat around 7am. During my horrendous morning sickness with both kids, Hudson would follow me in the bathroom and then back to bed again. He was relentless with making sure I gave him his walks. Puppa would go to the door and howl until I took him.

This dog hopped through the biggest snow drifts and loved to take sun naps. We once dressed him up like a clown for Halloween and when he was a puppy, he owned his own winter sweater that he was very possessive over. My husband nicknamed him his “RD”       ( roll dog) because he would take Hudson everywhere with him. Sneaking him in hotel rooms with us started at a young age.  Most hotels allow small dogs but Hudson was always a little ” big boned”.

Our honeymoon was spent talking about Hudson and wondering what he was doing while we were in Mexico for a week. I did research when I was pregnant with M of how to best introduce the baby to a dog.  We were hoping that the two would get along and they did. M would dress up Puppa with bows, headbands and boas.  G often tried to ride him like a pony.  Hudson tolerated a lot up until his final days. He would often sneak into Ms room and take a snooze in his “nap shack”.

4 years ago, this dog managed to tear both of his ACLS 6 weeks apart.  This was around Thanksgiving and Christmas.  The two surgeries along with rehab, was the same amount of money as my first year of college. We had a vet payment for 2 solid years.

The staff at our animal clinic referred to him as “Hudson the Beagle:” He loved to go to the animal clinic. On Saturday when we put him down, the techs and front desk clerks knew he was coming in for one last final time. The vet that we had was very compassionate and gave us all the time we needed.

We know it was the right decision. Hudson was having seizures and not eating. Walking was difficult as well.

The house seems empty and off.  Mornings and nights are strange when I do not see him by my side. Hudson slept with us in our bed and would sleep as close as he possibly could to me. I go to let him inside from the back door and he is not there.  His bowl and toys have been taken away.  Vacuuming the house yesterday was the first time that I actually did not want to remove the dog hair. My heart feels heavy.  My mind is distant. My body is numb but full of anxiety.

Just as I will celebrate his life in the loads of memories that Hudson has blessed us with, I will also be gentle with my soul.

If you have a dog, take him for another walk today in honor of Hudson.  Bonus points if he chases a cat, squirrel or rabbit.

RIP Hudson.  We loved you deeply. puppa

 

 

 

Finding the flowers amongst the weeds.

To say that the last two months the Universe has been testing me is an understatement. Now, I am aware that many other humans are suffering and going through shit storms that do not even compare to what I feel has been a trying time. Please note, that my perspective and disposition is typically Positive Polly although I do (sometimes) show my old  “waiting for the bottom to fall out” circa embryo to about 5 years ago.

I will not go through the entire list that keeps circulating in my head when I think back to the beginning of May to the present.  That will only make this time stay with me longer. Reliving and giving these events more energy is just like feeding a Gremlin after midnight.

Earlier this week, I met my yoga teacher/gal pal E for a short 3 mile run, dinner and drinks. E is my safe zone. I am my authentic self. Sometimes 100% crazy oversharing me. Sometimes the positive polly. Sometimes negative nancy. Sometimes quiet. One of the several traits that I admire about E is that she “gets on my level”. She listens with no judging when needed and sometimes judging when I ask her too. E and I were talking about how much we love “Hands Free Mama”. After we read this blog, while wiping the tears from our eyes and snot from our nose, this blogger gives us the motivation to become a little bit more. More patient. More loving. More real.  E sent me the link to one of her favorite “Hands Free Mama”posts.  It came at a perfect time. My new mantra after reading this is to find the flowers amongst the weeds.

 

Weed: My Uncle Gary took his final breath May 9th. He was 59 years old.

Flower: Besides no more suffering ( severe depression, CHF, COPD, diabetes), my cousin has returned to our hometown to live  in order to handle the path of destruction that my Uncle left behind. J, cousin that returned, was not doing so hot. Drinking to numbness became a daily (not nightly) occurrence.  J recognized this and took himself to AA. The strength to do this is admirable. I am not sure J would have came home without his passing. J would have stayed in his current situation and the spiral would have continued.

Weed: My Grandmother took her final breath June 4th. She was 89 years old.

Flower: Again, beside no more suffering ( Alzheimers, renal failure) and living in a nursing home that she despised, this side of my family has re-united after not much contact for the past 5-30 years ( depending on which family members/ different relationships). We all look older but the same personalities still shine through. Personalities and dispositions are timeless. Sharing what life has been like ( marriage, kids, divorce, marriage again, more kids, troubles with the law, getting clean from meth, retiring, moving, grandchildren) were just some of the lives that we have lived that none of us knew about. My hope is that this death has now brought life to our family again.

Weed: Earlier mornings. Later nights. Less “fun” ( I am being very picky with who I spend my time with and the events I attend).

Flower: I am training for my first marathon.( Eek. Gulp.OMG.) 4:30am is my alarm for tomorrow. Yes it is a Saturday and the Cavs are playing. I am finishing this post ( and my beer) and hitting the hay. Training for this marathon will keep me disciplined and I am only choose events that I truly want to go too. My BRFs are telling me that this training will be life altering. I can see this already. If it was not for running right now, I think I would be a hotter mess. Thank you to my body for holding me up when all I want to do is lay down.

Some more weeds have occurred in my flower bed but from now on, I am only admiring the growing, prospering and beautiful blooms.

 

 

Written in Ink

I am not running away from you, I am running towards the next page.

The picture posted is my daughter, M (6), running last week at a local reservation we love to go too.  It was 60 degrees in Ohio in February. The day sounded and felt like Spring. This reservation has something called Storybook Trail.  Our library puts a children’s book one page at a time along a path on a wooden covered post to encourage reading while being active.  The book is usually 15 pages long.  M and I look forward to this very much. The books are changed out the first of the month.  (Have I mentioned how grateful I am for our community and library?  They are always coming up with new ideas to keep the kiddos engaged in reading.)

M was running ahead and I said to her ” Hey you!!!  Why are you running away from me!??!” M’s response ” I am not running away from you, I am running towards the next page”.  Wow.  That simple phrase made me stop, take out my phone to capture this moment.  That’s it.  Right there.  What M said.  Running towards the next page.

Being a runner, I love to run TO something. I often run to the lake. The treadmill feels like someone is locking me up in a small room with no windows.  To be running and going nowhere is an awful feeling for me.  I will brave almost all elements just to avoid the dreadmill.  I know this about myself so why do I continue to ” lock myself in a small room with no windows” about things in my past that I need to move on from?  Why can’t I just run towards the next page? I have already read that page ( time and time and time again).  The words never change.  The image is imprinted. Its part of my story.

I am living “running and going nowhere” when I obsessively dwell on events that occurred years ago. No matter how many times I hash it out- think it through- make up different or happier endings, the page will not change. It is set in ink.

And it’s just as it should be.  My story is being written with times of sorrow, depression, anger, hate, and innocence.  Just as well, my story includes joy, humor, love, happiness and hope.

I will run to the next page with the same excitement, adventure and enthusiasm as M did last Wednesday. Now… if I could just find a pair on pink glittery cowgirl boots in my size….

mads