Day 115: Now is the Time to Thrive

This morning I looked out the kitchen and was pleasantly surprised to find new growth in my very dead-looking strawberry pots. They have sat out all fall and winter with no protection and I was sure they would all be completely un-salvageable. But look at this little guy, beating all the odds, and growing anyway…

I was dreading the run today. It was ten miles but due to the rain, rain, and more rain… we were doing it in a humid gym… staring at the wall from the treadmill or running small circles (14 of them makes a mile so you can do the math on the ten mile mark!) was less than appealing… but ready or not here I go!

I broke it up into two mile increments hoping that would trick my brain. Two miles on the track, two miles on the treadmill, one mile walking, two miles on the treadmill, two miles on the track, one mile walking. Roughly two hours later, I finished…

People ask me frequently, “How do you do it?” The honest answer is “one foot at a time.” But as I ran today, I thought about my little sprig of strawberry plant at home. How it has defied all odds to survive and now thrive again. And I imagined that this is my season too, my season to run, my season of strong, my season to thrive

Day 114: Kindness if Free, and Courage Can Change Your Stars

Today I ran five miles and then headed to dinner with little love. We were meeting a friend of Adalie’s who moved to Mississippi around Christmas. It’s her birthday and all she wanted was to see her friends and go watch the new live-action Cinderella.

I sat watching he movie as enthralled as the little girls. The story line was true to the original version but the twists were truly beautiful. The focus on kindness and courage was like a refreshing drink to this soul today. My life feels unsettled which often makes me grumpy and less courageous. I know it was just a movie but the principles rang true in my heart. When we choose kindness and courage, life has a way of working out, maybe even a little magically. I hold this thought like a treasure and a shield right now.

My other favorite truth that sang out from the movie was toward the very end. Cinderella was about to introduce herself to the prince as a servant girl and not the mysterious princess. She stood at the mirror and said something along the lines of “the most courageous thing we can do is stand in front of the person we love and allow them to truly see us.”

I felt my cheeks dampen with tears and my heart swelled with gratefulness for the Love I have who sees me in all ways and has chosen to love all of me. I will never get over that miracle…

I highly recommend this movie to little girls and little-girl-hearts alike. After all, who doesn’t need a reminder that kindness is always free and courage can change your stars…

A smiling, blonde girl wearing a costume crown and holding a Cinderella doll.

Day 113: Pat Yourself on the Back

I dropped something on my foot yesterday and today it looks terrible. The whole top of my foot is bruised, swollen, and generally extremely painful-looking. But in actuality, it doesn’t really hurt. I rested today just to be sure there were no major injuries but I am fairly certain its bark is far worse than its bite.

I am feeling unsettled about plans and future and security. The logistics of change are much scarier to me than change its self. And I’m trying to remember that just as with my grotesque looking foot that it easy to look at something and it seem a much bigger deal than it is.

I have had a lot of change in my adult life and I have survived it all. It was always scary in the in-between but it has always worked itself out and usually to my advantage.

So here’s to bruised lives… colorful, sensitive and reflective of the active, risk taker that always chooses life. And here’s to discomfort without prolonged pain because it teaches us we are stronger than we know.

And finally, here’s to us, gentle reader, for trying at all…

A very swollen and bruised foot.

Day 112: Feeling at Home in a Fleeting Moment

After another day of cross training while my little love was at play practice, we came home to BBQ chicken and sweet potato fries. It was a beautiful day… the first truly spring-like day this year. While eating outside at our little table on the porch, I thought of all the meals we have eaten out there in spring and summer the last couple of years. Some with a glass of wine, some with little bit pretending to be a horse, some with the company of friends, but always with contentment in my heart. That feeling of “this is right, this is home.”

Then little love asks to go for a walk so she can ride her scooter. So off we go and again, I reflect on this time last year and how she could barely operate the scooter last summer.

But some things do change with time. As I watched her charge down the road, half a block ahead of me the whole time, I thought about the saying regarding motherhood that the day’s seem to stand still but the years fly by. Here we are… another year… another spring… another moment to love.

Blonde girl with pink shirt and black pants riding her scooter off into the distance.

Day #111: At Some Point, Growth Happens

Today I cross-trained… I took on Jillian Michaels in one of her 30 days to awesomeness. Honestly, I thought I would kill the 20 minute workout. I mean, I had run for two hours just a few days ago… surely I could hang in there for 20 minutes… I was wrong… so wrong–and three days later (yes, I’m behind on my writing… don’t judge me!) I’m still sore!

So I’m still not ready for the Iron Man I guess… but baby steps, right?

Today I also watched a client of mine put together a learning game. He did it mostly by himself… identifying the numbers, counting the objects, and matching them. He told me what all the pictures were and ordered the numbers from smallest to biggest. It was inspirational to watch because not even a year ago he was barely talking. And some where between the months and months of parents advocating, speech therapist talking, occupational therapist teaching, and play therapist (that’s me) engaging… he has taken a million baby steps to blossom into this bright, curious, affectionate little boy.

I rarely get to see the results of the work I do with these kids so clearly and I most assuredly cannot take much of the credit for his beautiful growth but as I sat alone with him in a small room listening to him chatter away about the pictures and the numbers I could not stop the tears from spilling over.

Every little step leads somewhere, my sweet friends, where are you headed?

Day #110: Cupcakes and Handshakes Change the World

Today I ran alone… it was weird… like running without my left foot… and although it was only 3.75 miles it seemed to take forever without my Love beside me…

He was there at the gym but his foot tendon was sore and he forgot his running shoes so he didn’t want to chance it…

I watched him shake hands with my uncle who also happened to be there. I imagined their conversation… him explaining why he wasn’t running… my uncle sharing a similar experience… and it made me think how we work so hard to be connected…

I had a mother in my office today practically begging me to hear her story. I met with a teenage boy who shuts down every time his story gets told on him.

We witness it all the time… in person… on Facebook… people desperate to connect to someone, anyone. And while that leads to a lot of dysfunction, the overall purpose is important. To really thrive, we need community, connections, nurture, love…

How many times in the rush of the day, in the haste of our agenda do we miss the most basic of our human connections… a steadying hand for an elder, a sincere compliment to a cashier, or surprising our spouse with their favorite “treat.” For my Love, it is a cupcake so– we neutralized the Monday blues with salted caramel heaven.

It makes me wonder, gentle reader, how many small kind things I could do if I just weren’t so into myself all the time? Maybe enough to change the world?

Or my world at the very least…

A vanilla cupcake with white frosting piled high, drizzled in caramel and rock sugar.

Day #108: Running is Teaching Me to Be a Better Me

We ran 10 miles today… and I didn’t even feel like I was going to die…

It was the first time I could picture me making it to the finish line at the half-marathon with my mom and little-love waiting there to cheer me on, I felt the pride of accomplishment, the joy of relief, and could see the big, cheesy grin on my face. It felt good to visualize it, to anticipate it. It made the training, the money spent, the hours invested–worth it.

We are half way through the training and it feels good to look at myself and see strength. Running is very therapeutic for me in that it forces me to come face to face with myself on almost a daily basis. I spend a lot time in my head while I run and I have been amazed at the amount of self-doubt and irrational thinking I have found there. Every single run I have to clean house so to speak. The whining, the “I cants”, and worse, the “I don’t wanna.” The critics and the doubters like to reside up there too. Not to mention, the physical pains and difficulty breathing.

At some point in every run, no matter if three miles or ten, I want to sit down kick my feet and pound the ground with my fists, I want to cry or yell or throw something, or I just want to lay down and simply refuse to get up ever again. No lie. Every. Single. Run.

What I found in my running is I am not always a very likeable person… or particularly brave or enduring… but I find myself in those runs. I see me. It is teaching me to be mindful of my thoughts, my breathing, my bodily form. Running is teaching me to be a better me.

That’s a good enough reason for me.

Day #107: The Time You Enjoy Wasting, Is Not Wasted Time

Friday… that is such an amazing word… it always fills my heart with the joy of freedom and the hope of sleeping in!

And after an intense few days of caring for the mostly-better little love, it was a slight relief to drop her at her father’s house. They had extra-special things planned this weekend so I knew she would be happy and exhausted come Sunday when she came home.

My Love and I went to the gym and ran our five miles, we took a dip in the therapy pool (warm temps feel amazing on sore muscles), we went to dinner with his parents, we came home and snuggled and read and just relaxed. It was nothing and it was amazing all rolled into one…

As we were talking to his parents about future plans… at one point his mom quietly stated, “Don’t wait till retirement to do what you love.” And I realized, while there are, of course, goals and experiences we long for, these lazy nights are perfect. Holding hands, his scent in my nose, good conversations, tangled up as we read… no matter where life takes us… us is enough… and that is both rare and amazing.

Day #106: Don’t Blink, the Present is Becoming the Past

I was abruptly woken up at 5am by a little love complaining about her tummy hurting. Initially, I was very disappointed about being awake so early on a snow day but the next thing I knew we were running for the bathroom. And that pretty well summed up the rest of my day…

Finally about 4:00pm, after medicine and a nap, her stomach seemed to stop waging war with her. For some reason as she began to feel better, she got in her head she wanted to look at pictures. So we got out the baby books (yes, plural, she is the first!). As we looked and talked and laughed and sat side by side, I felt such nostalgia but such pride too.

What once was so little now is so strong… so helpless–now screams with independence… she has developed such intelligence, creativity, and personality… she is becoming right now… learning who she is and deciding what she likes and dislikes… she is beautiful in so many vibrant ways.

But I mourn too… the squishy and the toothless grins… being able to snuggle and dress her without her opinion about either… I miss watching her learn to walk and talk… I miss the mispronounced words and the squeaky voice… I miss the littlest versions of her.

I stayed up after she was asleep and looked through hundreds of digital pictures… remembering… reliving… re-loving that girl that I have always seemed to grow, first physically and now emotionally and intellectually…

Don’t blink, gentle readers, or the present most certainly becomes the past…

A girl sleeping in a colorful bed.