It’s Just That Simple

Not flesh of my flesh,
Nor bone of my bone,
But still miraculously my own.
Never forget for a single minute~
You grew not under my heart,
but in it.

A good friend gave us a framed version of this poem shortly after our daughter was born. It hangs on the wall of her bedroom and we read it together from time to time. I hope it helps her understand her birth story and how much I love her.

Six years ago we first met our daughter, sitting in the nursery of the labor and delivery unit. Our beautiful girl swaddled in the hospital issued receiving blanket, a white cap on her head hiding her wisps of red hair.


I was instantly in love with her. My breasts ached, just like they had when I first held our son four and a half years before. The only difference this time, I didn’t have the opportunity to create her myself. I didn’t have the opportunity to get to know her during her nine month gestation.

Before I met her I wondered if I would feel a difference between how it felt to first hold our son, who I’d carried in my womb, and our daughter who I had not.

The instant she was placed in my arms I knew the answer. I love her, forever and for always.

There is no difference. They are my children. It’s just that simple.

Show Your Power

Our ten year old son, Theo, had his Tae Kwon Do belt test Saturday morning. I knew he was nervous. Even though his Tae Kwon Do Master doesn’t test the students until they’re ready, his nerves always threaten to get the better of him.

Saturday mornings are tough for Theo. He and the Husband stay up late on Friday nights to play Xbox. It’s their guy time. A reward for their hard work over the week. Normal Saturday mornings start slowly, Theo choosing to ease his way into the weekend over a couple of hours. On belt test days he has less than two hours between rolling out of bed and the start of the test.

Red Belt TestOn Saturday, before he stepped on the mats to warm up, I reminded him “Do your best, show us your power. You got this!”

He did it. He showed his power and he earned his red belt. When he shows his power he can accomplish anything he puts his mind to.

I look forward to the day when I no longer have to remind him. Because that’s the day I’ll know he’s learned the lesson and applies it to his daily life.

The Seahawks 12k is less than a month away and my training continues. It is difficult to fit it in between work, kids and continuing to work on Making of a Mom, my memoir. But this race is important to me and I’m looking forward to it.

Since I started training I’ve felt better, stronger and more capable.

On Saturday I figured out that the calibration on my treadmill was off and I’d been running faster and farther than I thought I was. That’s when I figured out my six mile run was actually a seven and a half mile run. The upside, I’m a lot more prepared for the race than I planned to be at this point.

I’ve pushed myself through some tough training runs. Knowing that if I pushed through and didn’t give up, I would be rewarded with a feeling of accomplishment. Every run I push through, I show my power. And I’m living out an important lesson I want my kids to learn.

Becoming Someone’s Best Person

Last week kicked my butt. Usually a huge fan of daylight savings time and the additional hour of light it brings with it, this year all it seemed to bring was one less hour of sleep.

By Friday morning I was dragging and chose to sleep in an hour later than normal. When I hit the road, traffic was heavier than usual and there was an accident on my route to work. Sitting in stop and go, bumper to bumper traffic, I turned on my running playlist, and cranked the volume.

I decided not to care about how the thumping bass might annoy the drivers in front and behind me or how silly I looked dancing behind the wheel. I needed the distraction and improved mood the music was likely to deliver.

It worked. I was distracted, happy and felt inspired. I thought about everything I accomplished throughout the week and what I hoped to do over the weekend. I thought about my silly kids and the stories I had to share with my mom the next time we talked.

I smiled as I thought about my mom and it made me miss her. She lives four and a half hours away and I don’t call her often enough.

As I composed this blogpost in my head, I thought about how what I’m about to share is likely to embarrass her. She’s quiet, humble and shy. She’s silly, creative and smart. She’s kind, loyal and wise. She’s the best person I’ve ever known.

For more reasons than anyone has time to read about, my mom is my “best person” and I hope someday I’ll be what my mom is for me; I hope to be my kids “best person.”

My Love Hate Relationship with Running

A couple months ago I signed up for one of my favorite races, the Seattle Seahawk 12k. The first time I did this race four years ago I was training six days a week for my second half marathon. I considered it an important part of my preparations. I had a blast.

Last year I was once again signed up and missed the run because two weeks before the race I got sick and couldn’t recover in time to participate. I was bummed. In the weeks leading up to the race I’d once again been running six days a week and felt pretty strong.

The thing is I’m a terrible runner. I’m slow and look awkward when I run. At my fastest a little less than four years ago I ran at a ten minute mile pace, with the occasional 9:30 mile mixed in.

Oh and another thing, I hate running. It is mentally and often physically painful. I have never once felt the “runner’s high” so many of my runner friends talk about.

You might wonder why in the world I do it. I do it to prove to myself that I can. I can make time for myself. I can do something that makes me feel stronger. I can ignore the voice in my head telling me to stop.

I also do it to show my kids physical activity is important. I do it to show them how to set and work on achieving goals. I want my kids to see me sweat. I want them to see me push myself. I want them to know that when life gets tough it’s okay to give yourself a pep talk as you struggle through.

This week as I did speed work, hill repeats and ran my first four mile run in over a year I was once again reminded how much I hate running. I remembered how much hard work it takes and how much easier it is to sit on the couch and read a book.

But when I logged my workouts into dailymile and saw my lifetime stats I smiled (1,000 miles logged to date in 301 workouts). And when my son rode his bike as I ran my four miles yesterday I loved spending time with him. These are just two examples of why I love running.

 Just think, if I hadn’t had four miles to run yesterday, I probably wouldn’t have spent 45 minutes with my son. And that time is precious and just doesn’t happen often enough.

Remembering to be thankful

So there’s part of our recent trip to Canada I’ve thought a lot about since returning home. I’ve shared the story with family, friends and coworkers. The more I think about it the more it frustrates and angers me.

Unbeknownst to me the story has its roots in events that took place a year ago when my identity was stolen. Thieves stole it, along with several hundred others, from a database and used them to file fraudulent federal tax returns. After realizing I was a victim, I contacted all proper authorities at the instruction of the IRS. After that, I pretty much forgot about the situation. There wasn’t anything more I could do about it and as the police officer who took my report told me, it was unlikely the criminals would ever be caught.

Well, come to find out, there was a little more I needed to know. Turned out, I needed a password to verify my identity for the border agent. The thing is, nobody bothered to tell me that because of the identity theft complaint a password was created and associated with my passport. So imagine my surprise when the feisty border agent rudely responded “I don’t know who you are!” when I asked why we were being told to go to secondary screening. When I tried to explain why I was asking, he responded with “Do I need to pull you from the vehicle?!”

I’ll spare you the remaining details and just say the agent’s aggressive tone and body language, he put his hand on his side arm and lunged toward me while I sat in the driver’s seat of my vehicle, were completely unnecessary. I had two tired and crabby kids in the backseat who were wondering why it was taking so long. On top of that I was managing my own confusion and surprise at the unexpected turn of events. I was simply trying to understand what was going on, what the problem was and to calm my kid’s growing impatience.

Here’s my bottom-line:
1) We’ve taught our kids if they are ever lost, see something suspicious or dangerous to tell a trusted adult. A trusted adult includes a person in uniform. Hard for my kids to trust a person in uniform if they see someone treating their mother the way the agent treated me.
2) It was hard to explain to our 10 year old why he should respect the person in uniform who just treated his mom so disrespectfully. My son saw a bully, not a man of authority.
3) I feel lucky to be white. I don’t want to live in a world where I’m lucky because of my skin color because that means someone is unlucky because of theirs. I find myself thinking about how things might have been different if I was a person of color. I hate that the color of a person’s skin makes a difference, but I know it does.

I continue to work hard for what I have. I paid my way through college and spent time and energy developing my career in more than one male dominated field. I make daily trade-offs to find balance between work and family.

More now than ever, I realize my road to success, while at times bumpy, has always been a paved road. And those bumps, well, they were more like small potholes. There are plenty of people for whom that isn’t the case and I hope I never forget that.