Posts Tagged ‘improving’

I distinctly remember recess in elementary school.

The girls would all gather in groups and begin walking the perimeter of the basketball court or the kickball field or huddle around the teachers in case any errands needed to be run. I never hesitated to say goodbye to my girlfriends and head straight for the group of boys gathered to play football. The boys didn’t exactly welcome me with open arms (you know who you are but I have forgiven you your transgressions — mostly). I was always very good at sports — better than many of the boys who would rather I didn’t prove it on a daily basis on the recess football field. They would often huddle up to discuss the next play and then announce, “This is a boys only huddle”, I stood by waiting — I never left the game. It only made me want to practice harder, to improve myself, to come back the next day and show them I was better. I spent countless hours in my back yard with my brother working on the fundamentals… working on enhancing my foundation.

I’ve been thinking about the 5k a lot lately. Thinking it was really an amazing experience… one I trained for, one I promised myself I would follow through on, one I want to repeat. My preparations leading up to the 5k were meticulous. I ate well, I walked often, I timed myself, I bought new super cute clothes — I had it all planned out… I thought. I lapsed the last two weeks before the race — I didn’t eat, I didn’t sleep, I barely exercised… I let life attempt to talk me out of completing this goal that was important to me — and it almost did.

Now that the race is over and I’ve been able to assess the good and the bad about what I did and what I can do better… it occurred to me that I forgot about the importance of a solid foundation — my shoes and my socks. I have good shoes… they were expensive and trustworthy and held together well under the pressures of getting on the treadmill each day. But, they were worn and tired and not quite up to the task of cushioning the blows to my feet and calves and thighs from the pavement below. And my socks… I never knew the importance of a good sock until the end of that race. I used my same old trusty socks that I had put on countless times — they always had been just enough before.

What I discovered early in the race that day, was that my trusted shoes and socks were not a strong enough foundation for the new challenges I was presenting to them — I needed an upgrade. I had worked tirelessly on preparing all the things I thought were going to be important… I prepared my body, I prepared my mind, I prepared my outward appearance — I forgot about preparing the core… the foundation on which everything else relied. The same old socks and shoes couldn’t handle the constant pounding from my stride against the pavement — they weakened my legs and my back and my arms and my thoughts… it was a chain reaction brought on by not paying enough attention to the foundation, not ensuring that it was strong enough for the new challenges.

It makes sense I guess, we think we have all the answers in our repertoire because we’ve experienced these things before and we handled them quite well in the past and we didn’t need to overhaul our foundation… our thinking… ourselves. But now, new challenges and new experiences force us to reevaluate our foundations. We have to look at things differently and seek upgrades in our life — upgrades can make all the difference.

So… since we’re talking about shoes and socks here, of course, my plan is to go out and see about upgrading my foundation — restoring some order to my life. Of course… we’re only talking about shoes and socks, right? So, what about you? Do you need to strengthen your foundation?

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I was doing my yoga practice this morning. And, as has been a common occurence this summer, my youngest daughter had made her way to my bed when she awoke and was watching my TV. It is a bit difficult to concentrate on the yoga video playing on the laptop while hearing Phineas and Ferb scheme in the back ground — but still, it’s a nice time of my daughter asking questions about yoga and me trying to explain a feeling to her. She often joins in, as she did this morning.

She became very curious this morning when I had finished with my practice and was beginning my savasana. She asked if I was ok. Sometimes I find myself crying, only slightly, when I’m doing savasana. I’ve gotten so used to it I wipe my tears and sweat without thinking. But this morning, I had company. So she asked if I was ok. I was, actually. I was very ok, actually. I explained to her what savasana was and asked her if she wanted to try — she did. I positioned her next to me in the corpse pose and then resumed my own. And there we were, lost in our thoughts — together. After a couple of minutes I felt her soft warm hand making its way into mine — and there was my connection. Lying beside me, steadying my thoughts and nurturing my soul — her soft warm hand did all of that… and I wiped a tear from my cheek.

Later in the day, as my older children were off at a swimming party, my youngest and I set out to the movies and dinner together — I can’t imagine a more perfect date. We settled into our seats at the theater and were immediately captivated by the previews. When the movie started, it had some scenes at the beginning that were a bit sad. I reached over and held her soft warm hand in mine once again, there in the dark of the theater during the sad parts. And she smiled at me. And we were connected.

I was talking with a friend recently and told her of how my kids had spent their first night away from me and at their father’s house. She asked, in a very concerned voice, how I was. My reply was quick and sure because I was great. I told her it was nice to be alone with my thoughts and a book and this keyboard. I told her it was refreshing. Her distorted look let me know I had committed a “mommie crime”. So I immediately added that I was sure it would be difficult next time.

Well next time is here and still… I’m good. I’m here, in my room typing away on this keyboard uninterrupted and although I love my children more than words can describe, I am here, in this moment, content and happy and once again surrounded by a lovely silence.

I’ve never claimed to be the best mother, I’ve only claimed to not be the worst. I rarely ever left my kids to go out with friends. I have used a baby-sitter less than 5 times that I can think of — my oldest is 14. I used to think this meant I was better than most. I stayed home, I put off my life to ensure theirs. Now, I question many decisions. I read this post by a wonderful writer, mother, and friend. And I started to question. Questioning leads to improvement… I hope.

So, tonight, on the second night that my children are sleeping over at their dad’s house, I am content. I am profoundly content in my aloneness and in their awayness. I am here, in this moment, and I am resting comfortably.

Tomorrow night, when my kids are back here, I will read them stories and I will talk about boys and girls and video games and I will kiss them goodnight. And I will reach for that soft warm hand that nurtures my soul and I will be connected. But tonight, I will talk to my best friend on the phone, I will turn the TV off, I will read a few favorite blogs, I will eat a bowl of cereal for dinner. I am learning to be a better mother, a better person… a better me. It’s never too late to improve and it’s never too late to get back to basics.

Picture from Kind Over Matter

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