Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Falling (and Getting Back Up)

So, fall is going really well (other than the fact that Julia thinks 3rd grade is "really boring"). We've had the most spectacular weather--it's been warm and sunny every day, and though we're in the midst of a severe drought and I know I should be upset that it hasn't rained in many weeks, every day that it's sunny, warm, and dry--read: sort of like summer still, only with colored leaves vivid enough to take your breath away--I feel like the luckiest person on earth.

All this warm wonderful weather has meant that I've been running my beloved trails often--soaking up the beautiful scenery of woods and prairie, the sunshine, the brilliant skies, like I'm storing it up for the many long months I'll be snowed out of my countryside trails. (A friend of mine, an avowed road runner who has just recently discovered the joys of the nature preserve where I run, said to me the other day, "I can totally understand why you get depressed every winter! Not only do you no longer have the pool to go to every day, but you can't run on those trails anymore!" Um, yes.)

Ah, but it's autumn. So it's time for this!

cutest candy dish ever

Moving on.

Do you remember how I fell on that trail run a few weeks back? (Side note: I still have bruises! It's been four weeks!) Well, when I resumed running after several days of recovery, I was understandably rather nervous. I kept thinking I was going to trip and fall again--especially as the leaves started to fall and the trails became more covered in debris that can hide the many rocks and roots. So I started running with little baby steps rather than my usual longer stride. I was too scared to do anything but slowly and delicately pick my way down the trail, so I took tiny short steps on purpose.

But a funny thing happened. From the first time I did this, my hip/glute/IT injury calmed right down. I had my first pain-free run in weeks. And ever since, as I've purposely continued to run with a short little stride--slow, yes, but who cares?!--I've been injury-free. What the...? As this has occurred, I have realized that if taking a hard fall on a rocky trail led to the resolution of my hip problem, I am glad I fell. Crazy, right? But true.

As I mused on this strangeness over the past few weeks, it reminded me of something else. Last May, when Genevieve graduated from kindergarten--which meant the end of my time with ANY children home with me during most of the day--I was devastated. I mean, I was proud of and excited for her, but I was SO SAD, too. For the two remaining days of school after her graduation and before summer began (after which I had numerous other distractions, most notably BOTH children at home with me all day, every day!), I cried. A lot. My heart was broken. I even ran with tears in my eyes.

But now, a month into school, I'm realizing that stay-at-home motherhood to two children in school may be the best period of life I've ever had. I seriously love it. And it makes perfect sense: my two favorite activities besides mothering are cooking/baking and running. And now I have TIME TO DO BOTH during the day, in between the early-morning and late-afternoon/evening parenting duties (and when I'm not doing everything else, of course). Plus, my kids LOVE that I don't have to run in the evenings anymore. I'm home every night, and their favorite thing is to join me on "the big bed" in my bedroom every evening between bath and bed, where we all pile up together with pillows and blankets and read. They adore this ritual, and so do I.

You might think all that suffering I did last spring was unnecessary and for naught. I've considered that at times. It certainly seems ironic that the very thing my heart ached over is allowing me to hit my stay-at-home mom stride so nicely. But honestly, I believe that pain--like the physical pain of crashing to the ground on a rocky trail--was necessary to get to where I am now: ready for, accepting of, and thrilled with the very existence I thought would be sad and lonely. Just like my fall on the trail led to the resolution of my hip problems.

Believe me, no one is more surprised than I. But sometimes life has a funny way of working out PERFECTLY, like that.

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