Commitment to Your Cause…..

I have been thinking for a few weeks about this post, trying to decide which way to go with it. Some days I think I have nothing much to say and yet my mind is absolutely running wild with all these ideas, thoughts and considerations. Other days, there is so much to say that it would take me all day to blog! HAH!

I knew from a fairly early age that I wanted to be a mother. There was only a question of how many children I would have and as each one came, the number changed. Funny how that happened….7 babies later it was decided there would be no more from this body. Although being a mother is something I am fairly adequate at, it is not all encompassing for me. For example, I know women who thrive on the daily joys of being a wife and mother and have no desire or drive to do anything other than that.

It just is not that way for me. By the time our youngest daughter was born 7 years ago, there was an inner burn to do SOMETHING more or different. The few memories I have of my nana and grandmother are bittersweet. Not because of the memories themselves, but because as I look back with my adult eyes I realize that those women who were so instrumental in my childhood were just going through the motions. They were doing what they were told they were supposed to do. They went through their lives doing what they thought they were SUPPOSED to do rather than that which they desired to do.

Of course, part and parcel of being an adult means that there are things we do because we are supposed to do them. I ask you though, is that all there is? Are you willing to simply go through the motions of your life until you are dead? I am not! I think that we are here for some reason. To touch another life, to make a difference and bottom line – we are here to LIVE life not just walk through life doing what we are supposed to do. There must be a fire within! There has to be a reason to keep walking this bumpy road we call life.

I admire those women (and now even a handful of men) who feel it is their calling to dedicate their lives to the complete fulfillment of another human being. They rise and grind every single day in an effort to make the lives of their children easy and as close to perfect as possible. I ADMIRE them…….but I don’t wish to emulate them. The women who drive me, who make me want to be more and inspire me to work harder are the women who have a commitment to their own cause. These women are not satisfied with the status quo and have no compunction to sit idly by while life carries on and they remain stagnant.

This is a choice we make, to live our lives rather than walk mindlessly through it like we are robots. It takes a certain kind of commitment to NOT live up to the status quo. Find what drives you and then work for that hobby/mission or cause until either you can no longer do so or until that particular thing no longer drives you – and then find something else that motivates you! That’s my goal. Run it until the wheels fall off! Literally, run until I no longer can physically or mentally. This is my cause right now which means that I have a commitment to doing everything I can to be better.

Sometimes to be better we have to fall down and take some time away. This was what happened to me at Brazos Bend 100 four months ago. I was injured and had to step away from my passion for about 7 WEEKS. It wasn’t that long really but it felt like an eternity to me at the time. Now, I am back to training and you know what?! I LOVE and enjoy it even more than I did before. I relish the moments I can sneak away to the trail, listen to the birds chirping in the trees and smell the strong scent of an imminent rain. I began implementing some strength training again and started doing weekly tire drags. What an experience THAT is!

While I am usually sneaking away from my life, that is not to say that I am running from it. In actuality, the running adds balance to my crazy life and helps soothe the savage soul within me. Running long distances (as in over 20 miles) has taught me to slow down, and how important it is to be patient – even beyond the point where one believes they cannot possibly take anymore aggravation. It has taught me to listen to my body and heed its warning signs. This is part of being committed to a cause. When you are committed you will do whatever it takes.

What is your cause? What is the passion you have always been afraid to pursue? You will not know how good it can be if you never take the chance and begin….Take the chance, step outside of your comfort zone! Put one foot in front of the other and before you know it you will have traveled further than you ever thought possible.

Until next time…

Peace….

Parenting

There is nothing that will make one feel more inept and often guilty than parenting. Guilt can ride your back like an ugly monkey if you let it. Taking from you every ounce of joy parenting can elicit. I have been on my fair share of guilt trips – both self imposed and those thrown at me by those with less than good intentions. Funny enough, I don’t believe that anyone is able to impose on me a greater feeling of guilt about past mistakes than I can impose on myself!

You see, I am quite aware that as a child/mother/wife of 18 years old, I did not set the best examples for my children. I am aware of the fact that I made many mistakes as I was bearing and attempting to raise four boys in my late teens and early twenties. I am also painfully aware that my mistakes cost me to lose so much time with the boys. Time I am unable to get back – nor do I want to.

That’s right! I said I don’t want to take back that painful time. Do I wish I had been a better parent? Absolutely! Do I wish that I had not made the mistakes I made along the way which made the lives of my children harder than they needed to be? Of course! However, those difficult times created resilient young men and helped me be a better parent to my daughters. Those tough times that saw me lose my temper and forget momentarily how precious life is, helped create young men of immense amounts of patience and compassion.

Now, as I look back, after laying next to my youngest sleeping child who had thrown her arm over me and snuggled in for a good nap, I am grateful. Grateful for the knowledge that those mistakes provided. Grateful for the growth that occurred out of the pain. Grateful for the fact that my boys know in their hearts that no matter my mistakes, my love for them is never-ending. There is no reserve amount – no price to be paid. I love them no matter what – even on their worst day.

This is another lesson from parenting you see. I had always heard of the unconditional love of God and my mom always provided me with her manner of unconditional love. I did not truly know the meaning of the term though until the girls came along. You see, there is a different type of relationship (IMHO) between a mother and her sons versus a mother and her daughters. There is no doubt that boys love their mamas without reservation or hesitation – and I them. The love of mother and daughter however, is another animal altogether.

I am not even sure I can put this thought into a cohesive paragraph that makes sense to anyone but myself. With the girls there is an understanding. We communicate on the same plane using the same words that identify emotions. As people of the female persuasion there is a different type of communication that takes place – sometimes it does not even require that words are spoken. We pay attention to the smaller nuances of human behavior and for a great majority of us, this means that we are able to attain a new or different level of understanding.

What I miss about the boys: the sound of raucous laughter and them calling for ‘mama’. The mornings when one of the youngest attempted to make my toast ‘crunchy’ the way I like it, but misinterpreted BURNT for crunchy. They served it to me before I even rose from bed, as though they were serving a queen! I miss sweaty boy hugs and the look of pride on their faces as they successfully accomplished whatever feat they had attempted.

For me, being a parent is quite similar to my ultra running and in fact, the two worlds often intersect in unique and interesting ways. I breathe a sigh of relief as I enter the dirt/mud/cobwebby world of the trail. It is often quite unforgiving, cruel and difficult at the same time it brings me a fantastic sense of PEACE. The trail does not require one to think much beyond putting one foot in front of the other. At the same time, there are an abundance of thoughts that occur within my head simply BECAUSE it does not require a whole lot of conscious thought.

Running, especially as slow as I tend to go, requires some patience and compassion; fortitude and stubbornness….persistence and consistency. Does this not sound very similar to parenting? Ironically I find that many of these characteristics I thought I did not have, I have found on the trail. Not only directed or felt for others….but for myself as well. There is so much we can learn about who we are and in what direction we would like our lives to meander by hitting the open road, sidewalk or nearest rocky trail!

It is my serenity….my peace and the place I go to think. It is where I go to just BE…..me. Not mother, wife, teacher, student, counselor….etc., etc., to just be a body cruising the trail….

I am thankful and blessed to BE back on the trail and that has been another lesson learned. That is a story for another day though.

Until next time, don’t be a stranger…

Peace

~TLT