My almost 2-year-old son and I had just started our elusive quest for what he wanted in the bathroom. Whatever I just pointed to wasn’t what he were looking for.
He stuck his little wet hand out as if would magically attract the item he wanted.
I closed the bathroom door. Hanging on a hook, there it was — a soft, green towel. I took it off the hook and wiped my son’s hand.
“All better now?”
He grabbed the towel and held it under his head like he was hugging a stuffed animal. On this day, he needed some comfort. He already had two short naps and was crashing toward another. He wasn’t congested, just hot and not his usual self.
I put him down to get my purple Blackberry which was paused during Podrunner’s “Intensifier” — a 171 beats per minute hour-long podcast that is music designed to help running workouts. I moved into the living room and restarted my workout.
My son wanted to join in. So we danced a little. As he put his head on my shoulder, I knew he wasn’t up to the workout. So I sat on the floor, wrapped the green-towel cocoon around my baby and rocked with him to the music.
He put his head on my chest and just curled up for 20 minutes. It was one of the most tender moments I’ve had with my kids.
Wait, I’ve been a mom for six years. Why are moments like this rare?
The heart of the matter
As I basked in this mommy moment, I realized something — this kid actually trusts me and I trust him.
For me that’s a huge milestone. After being lied to, teased/tormented, etc., by my peers for most of my childhood, I decided at an early age that I couldn’t rely on anyone. “If you want things done right, you have to do them yourself” is my credo. If you looked up uptight in the dictionary, you’d mostly likely see a picture of me with my hair pulled back while I wore one of my “school marm” outfits.
For a long time, the only thing I trusted was that everyone would make my life miserable. It took three kids and a husband to realize that trust was something I needed — not only to love myself but to relate to the world around me.
I tried meditation when I lived in Athens, Ohio. My version of meditation was sitting up straight as a board and trying not to fall sleep.
In effort to find inner peace, I even went to a special two-day workshop at my friend’s home. The instructor said I needed to have a 3-year-old, then I’d see the world differently and relax.
Three kids later, I’m still learning how to relax. But running has helped.
Running is a humbling experience. You can have the best run of your life one day, and the next day can be your worse. I’ve started many runs being mad at the world. Then there’s a point when my body just gets so overwhelmed by the negativity that it needs to let it all out.
Euphoria sets in. Everything is put into its proper perspective. And I just go and let go. It can be a long run by myself or a short one with my youngest in a stroller. Running and exercising in general makes me feel awesome.
Trust in running
After I’ve done my run, I’ve noticed that I’m better at prioritizing needs (clean the house or play with kids who are bored).
I’m re-energized, ready for the marathon of motherhood and life in Appalachia. I’m also ready to smile and renew my trust in myself and those around me.
Oh wow. Wow to the description of that moment with your tot, to what you endured as a child, and to how you’re getting to where you want to be.
Running and mama-dom have been my main routes to healing as well.