Thursday, February 18, 2016


Dear Jules,
Sometimes, God gives us moments of inspiration when we most need them.  Today, for instance, I was watching the CBS Morning News show I like, and this clip came on about this woman who works three jobs, is a single mother, and has run 7 marathons in 7 days across 7 continents.  I think we have a lot in common:  she's short, like me (actually shorter than I, at 5'1"), and her inspiration is her little girl.  Here's the interview:

 Lately, I've been feeling anxious and overwhelmed about all of my responsibilities at work, in the house, etc., but here's a woman who is doing it all gracefully, inspired by her little girl.  It made me remember that you are my inspiration for running, too.  Whenever a race gets difficult, I think about how hard you work at achieving every little thing.  My marathon running is really nothing compared to that day you took your first steps, said your first words, and will say your first sentence.  As your occupational therapist says, you are an incredibly hard worker, and you persevere.

Sometimes, as a parent, I wish it were not this difficult.  I wish you could just start speaking, like, tomorrow (oh, and get potty trained while you're at it).  I wish that this race we were in were a sprint, not a marathon.  But it is a marathon and, like she says in the video, you don't count the miles, you just keep on going and think of it as a "long run."

The thing is, there are advantages to the marathon- to hard work.  I know so many people in the world who have had it easy, only to give up when things got a bit more difficult.  I know many people who don't know what it's like to dig deep down and find that strength that you did not even know you had.  I know many people who have little to no empathy for others who struggle in this long race we call life.  Like a long marathon, a "disability" forces you to do all of these things.  Granted, I choose to run marathons, and you didn't choose to have to work this hard (the distinction is an important one), but still, I think long-distance running applies in many ways to your--and our family's--challenges.

And the thing is, those of us who run marathons wouldn't trade it for the world.  I wouldn't trade our challenges (yes, including the potty training), because that moment when you DO achieve something is one of the most amazing, soul-melting moments any parent can experience.  Your eyes light up, you clap, and the look of pride is just wonderful, because you know how hard you have worked, and you know you deserve it.  You might not get a medal, but I give you all of mine, because you are the one who truly deserves them, and so much more.

Friday, February 12, 2016

A Room of One's Own

Dear Jules,
Well, this past Wednesday was Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent.  As my lenten resolution, I'd like to try and carve out time for some quiet thinking, and since I think best as I write, I will be posting my thoughts here (so if you're reading this and not interested, please feel free to check out).

On Wednesday, the priest at Grace Church, Caleb Lee, talked about his daughter throwing a temper tantrum, literally grabbing onto the door because she didn't want to leave somewhere.  You, too, pulled this stunt when we visited a Catholic school (maybe more on this later), but that's another story for another day.  His point was that, when he daughter gets overwhelmed, she needs a "time out," maybe some time in her room or, in your case, just some time facing the wall to think about what you did or said.  He talked about Lent as a time to retreat to our rooms, not as a form of punishment, but as a socially-sanctioned way to think through things, to meditate, to be instead of always doing.

The author Virginia Woolf argued that a woman must have a "room of one's own" to write fiction, but I think Father Caleb was onto something--even if our "room" is a space in which we can think, even if it's a place in our own minds to which we can retreat when others are talking, we all need this in order to process the many many things that life throws at us.

Today, I was just chatting with a very good friend, another runner, about how we tend to "go go go" from one thing to another, from appointment to appointment, whether social or work-related, and how little time we have to be in our friendships, our marriages, or just our own space.  I'm an extravert like you, but this is incredibly important for all of us: to be reflective, to think through things, to give ourselves the time we need to work through things.  So my friend, this weekend, is taking a "time out": she is allowing herself to rest, at her house, by herself.  She's not running errands or running or even seeing friends, but just resting, and giving her brain and body the time it needs.

I really respect I told her, I'm not "good at" relaxing, taking time for me, but this is a good season for it.  As I watch the rain falling outside on this chilly day, I think about your so-called "slower processing time" and wonder if it will allow you to be more at peace with the events around you.  I hope so, because life can get crazy, and I wish I could throw a temper tantrum half the time.  Instead, it's good to remember to slow down, take some deep breaths, and give yourself a time out: a room of your own.