Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Just Like Heaven (You Know, The Cure!)

Whoa, is that Fingers&Paws on my Google Reader / FB News Feed /(fill in blog reader here)? Why, yes.

I had a flash of brilliance on the treadmill today. You are about to read it, and you'll leave breathless, amazed, and exhausted, like you just read a novel.

Maybe not. But I had the opportunity last weekend to fly off to Sanibel Island, FL, with several girl friends (I am a girl.) It happens that I am married with children. Those hangers-on were not with me. It was five days of just worrying about myself. No nap-time, no snack time, no meal time, no breaking up sibling fights or picking crushed blueberries off the tile floor. Just me. I got a chance to LOOK UP. Otherwise known as


Other Moms know how it is. The daily drudgery, 12-plus solid hours of child-rearing, day after day.

Here's how I imagine it is, to run a marathon. Not that I've actually run a marathon. I have, in fact, run two Half-Marathons and I doubt I have to do the math for you. There are 25,000 people around you, you are all standing and waiting in line for an eternity in your corral. The gun goes off, the fun begins. You feel great, life is good! Your body is a fine-tuned machine, and the sky is clear and blue. Feet turn into miles, everyone is happy and smiling.

This is what it's like, right?! You had the baby shower. You are SO PSYCHED to have a baby, you cannot believe it. And then you got through the agonizing last three weeks where you listened to the clock tick off every minute of every hour, because sleep wasn't happening.

Around mile 5-6 your body starts to remind you that there's hard pavement underneath. It's hard. Your body begins to feel soft.

Then you decide--this kid needs a SIBLING! So, on we go to having #2. You've read the baby books, you had the shower so your family and friends ain't throwing another one of those. You're on your own.

Mile 7-8-9, and your shoulders start to droop a bit. Your body is trying to conserve energy as best it can, but it's dying for some water and--face it, some walking. You focus on not shuffling your feet, try to imagine picking them up a bit more off the ground. Your breath is coming harder now.

You make it through that impossible first six months where Older Brother (or Sister) just wants to TOUCH the baby, and HOLD the baby, and ROCK the baby, and FEED the baby a raisin or other suitable choking hazard. Or, my favorite, PUSH the baby down some steps in the stroller. Ok, let's all try to survive this until baby is at least able to crawl away.

You can feel your head hanging a bit lower now, your breath is decidedly uncomfortable. When did breathing get this uncomfortable? Short puffs. Focus on the feet. Try to lift up those shoulders. Keep running!

The baby can finally stand up, turn around, and walk.. and then RUN away from Big Sibling. Doesn't change or alter the Sibling Rivalry, in any way. Big Brother still knows how to get a hold of each and every mound of Play-Doh, Lego, block-o, name-it-o. Mommy attends a Sibling Rivalry parenting forum.

Man, around mile 13.1 (I know this from experience), your Body, your Brain, and your Soul scream out, "THIS SUCKS!! WHY DID I DO THIS?" and Oh my Good Gosh, I have so much further to go.

Well, here's what I THINK happens from here:

You are tired. Really tired. C'mon, you've just run a Half Marathon for Pete's Sake. Your body is crushed, spirits are down. But you want to keep on, and plus.. there are all those people cheering for you! Look at them, waving flags, jumping up and down, ringing bells and donging things. They know you can succeed! Do it for them!

There are days you grit your teeth. Frantically call a babysitter for a chance to go to the bathroom. You educate, entertain, educate, pacify, take care of. Take them to a park, to an indoor gym, to an outdoor theater. Take them on a trip, or two. Notice it gets easier (hey! Now we can hand them things, and drive during the day!) You help out watching others', and they help you out back. You are even able to look up, take a sip of your Starbucks, and wonder at the Mom you've grown into. A loving, caring, albeit tired, but really great Mom. You get tears in your eyes typing a blog post. You go home to relieve said babysitter or Mom friend. Older Brother pushes Younger Brother, the young Jedi fights back. All-out War begins.

You don't want to admit it, but you COULDN'T CARE LESS how many people are up against the ropes, cheering for you and all these other Schmucks running with you. They aren't running 20+ miles. You are. How did "marathon" get its name again? Some dude ran 26.2 miles and then.. your thoughts wander off. Thoughts are too hard now, like the ground. All you want to do is lie down on the cold hard ground and take a rest, and have nobody speak to you for about a year (these are the teenager years.) You take a turn too hard and turn an ankle but.. MY GOLLY, keep on truckin'. Running hurt is the perfect metaphor for this metaphor.

Things do get easier, as kids grow.. and get taller and less likely to drown in the 3-FT end of the pool. Eat more things and play with other children more nicely, and learn things and then do things all on their own. They grow and grow until they are the little people they always were deep down in there, just bursting to come out. And then they start to drive you around, picking up your Starbucks and texting you to let you know they are fine. And college is great.

And all of a sudden, it hits you. You were waiting for it, maybe for miles now. The last water station didn't do it, the thousands of cheering fans on the sidelines didn't do it. Your body did it. You hit the runner's high. You feel like a million bucks, because you are a million bucks. You could literally do anything right now. You have run 25.5 miles and you OWN this whole TOWN. The steps come easier, and easier, and you run a bit faster. You almost don't want the finish line to appear because it's gotten so easy.

I'm telling you what. I know there must an Afterlife, because one lifetime is not going to be enough with these children of mine. These boys, they are Heaven.

copyright 2011 Colleen D. Bucher




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