what i don't want to forget

"will you lay with me for a little bit.... over here so you don't lay on any stuffies"

addy says.

why i run

"We are different, in essence, from other men. If you want to win something, run 100 meters. If you want to experience something, run a marathon."
- Emil Zatopek, Czech runner, winner of four Olympic gold medals

In high school, I ran track one season (sophomore year)- I actually managed to letter but didn't stay with it.  I convinced myself it wasn't worth my time, the other girls were better than me, etc. etc.  During college, I gained some weight (whose with me!) worked out off and on.  During my final year of college I weighted about 185ish (I'm 5'10) and wasn't really on the whole work out train.  I also struggled with bulimia my senior year of high school and senior year of college. 

The year after graduating was difficult.  I felt lost and out of place.  It was such an adjustment to be working all day every day in a field I hated (customer service thank you very much!).  Our economy had just crashed and it was a pretty bleak place.  I started drinking, a lot.  Thanks to going to a private, Christian college my party years had been delayed (I think it comes for everyone at some point).  So much of life are these difficult adjustments that we have to make.  I went from an environment where everything was handed to you in a bubble - friends- pick from these groups! classes, pick from these, extracurriculars- do what you want! to this wide open field with no close friends near by (at the time) and just day in day out punching a clock.

So anyways, drinking, loved it, was great at it, suck at it now.  I did start to lose a significant amount of my college weight during this time (surprisingly).  Being on a set schedule and set meal times can have that affect.  Anyways, at some point, I get it in my head that I am going to run a half marathon in the spring.  I think I signed up in January, paid the fee and started in blind in my training.  Keep in mind, I am still doing great at drinking.  My Saturdays would look like this:

wake up (slightly hungover)
go for a long run at some point
pound five advil
drink my dinner/party all night.

I lived with my best friend and we also had gym memberships, so during the week, I would hit the gym usually a couple nights a week as well.  Winter in my area is not kind, so the majority of my training was done in about two months.  May rolled around and I went to my first marathon - completely alone.  My best friend had to work, my parents were out of town on vacation and my other friends were busy.  I woke up at 4:45, got ready, drove myself downtown, freaked out because the garage I was going to park in was sectioned off for the race, found street parking and went downtown.  I checked my bags and looked at all the people warming up (which by the way people, running before the marathon, I still think you are crazy- the marathon IS THE RACE people, save it!). 

It wasn't until the start line thought, standing smooshed together in this bubbling mass of people, everyone chattering or listening to music, focusing.  It is one of the few times where I will say one can literally taste the anticipation.  There is a hunger in the air.  Everyone is ready.  My first start was electric.  People ripping off excess clothing and throwing it into the street, onlookers milling about shouting congratulations.  The race starts and collective whoops are moving through the crowd.  We are ready.

It was hard to finish, at about mile seven, I was really worn out and sore, but I pushed through and finished in 2:15:something seconds.  At the end of the race, I remember feeling really lonely.  I walked along for a while, cooling down, ate the banana, fingered my medal.  It was so strange to have something so big accomplished and not have anyone there.  I walked back to my car and drove myself home and promptly fell asleep until my roommate got home and we went out together for some much deserved food.

That race changed me though, mentally, physically.  I became aware of how tough I truly was, and how great I truly could be if I tried.  It was a huge task to accomplish, much less to do it as a borderline drunk.  I knew then that I could try to tell myself otherwise, but I was a runner, I need it in a very definitive and tangible way.

My life has changed significantly since then.  I rarely overindulge (not worth it once you have kids waking you up at the ass crack of dawn), I'm married, I don't work at that job anymore.  Life in unflinching in the onslaught of change that it brings our way.  Running doesn't change though.  Lacing up, tugging on my shorts, adjusting my earphones, grabbing the spare key, breathing the first breathe of air.  It is constant, an unmoving mountain in which to rest while life changes around me.  Running doesn't change, but it changes me.  It fills me with peace, it gives me a spiritual rest that my soul longs for in this world, it connects my feet with the soil and the earth and the woods.  My body leans into nature when I run, drawing strength from the energy beneath my feet.  I never feel more spiritually awakened, more at peace, then when I am out running.

Running has given me the confidence to bloom, right where I am.

Being a mom without having mine

this was a post originally published on the now defunct blog - wifessionals.  I never posted it here so I thought I would share.  Last night, for the first time, Addy asked me about "mommy's mommy" - if she could come visit, where her house was, if we could go see her house, etc.  You guys, it was like a punch to the gut.  The thing about these losses that we suffer, it doesn't really get easier.  The adage "time heals all wounds"?  not true.  we learn to live with them, so that they don't swallow our entire lives, which is good and needed.  because life deserve to be lived.  yet, every once in a while we see the loss for what it is- gut wrenching, soul numbing, blackness.

In case you were wondering how we handled it. I simply said that grandma couldn't visit because she lived too far away.  I know that Addy didn't really know what she was asking and I am certainly not in a position to lay down concrete views of heaven on a two year old.

Happy Friday everyone!  First of all thanks to Kaitlyn for letting me share my story.  It is something that while obviously close to my heart, I have wanted to share as I know other people out there are going through a possibly similar situation and the grief that I experienced in this new phase of life is something that caught me completely off guard.  Okay now that that's out of the way, my name is Bria, I am a stay at home mom of one and a half (the second is baking!) and married to Jim.  I blog infrequently and informally at Wiggle Life and would love it if any of you stopped by and said hello!

My mom passed away when I was eight from breast cancer.  I was an only child due to the hysterectomy and double mastectomy she underwent at the diagnosis of the disease, when I was one.  At the time, one of my most vivid memories is everyone telling me how young I was to lose my mom.  Having only a child's perspective at the time and up until that point having had my entire life with her, I remember thinking "I'm not young, I'm eight! We had lots of time together!"

However, as the years passed, I began to realize how much we were going to miss out on together: school dances, prom, graduation, first night at college, first boyfriend.  These realizations hurt and so I mostly stayed away from or "redid" typical mother-daughter things.  The biggest example that comes to mind would be my wedding, my wedding was planned in 40 days and I got my dress off of Ebay, rather than face shopping without her.  Looking back, I'm not sure if I was really aware that I was avoiding the typical mother-daughter things or just thought I was "forging my own way."  My grief for my mom, while still present, had subsided with time and stayed mostly in the back of my mind and heart.

Then, when I was twenty-five my daughter was born and with it, my grief was reborn.

All of the sudden, I understood the bond my most must have felt for me and how difficult it was for her to be sick.  All of a sudden, I realized the disease from her perspective (as much as I can).  All of a sudden, I realized just what growing up without a mom robs you of, and it hurt like hell. 

I was also grieving in a very fresh way.  I was grieving as a mother.  In my heart, I know only a small fear when I think of leaving my daughter; my mom faced it as a reality.  In my heart, I have years and years with my child; my mom was given months.  In my body, I feel the aches of too little sleep and too much toddler mania; my mom knew a body riddled with cancer while still trying to parent.  I understood as best I can without her here a small fraction of the pain that she must have felt and it broke my heart.

There is other grief, my charming toddler will never get to make her grandma laugh.  I will never have my mom know me as a mother.  We won't have a family picture taken together marked "3 Generations".  However, my biggest sadness is just feeling this hole, day in and day out, in my heart and knowing that on earth, it will never be fully healed.

 Even through my sadness and new understanding though, being a mom has given me the strength to move through my grief in a new way.  Some of my memories of growing up seem a little clearer as I go through similar situations, I was also able to read the journals my mom had written about her illness for the first time.  Knowing the strength my mother had in her life has given me strength to be the best possible mother in mine. 

I am due October 8th with our second child and while I am sad that this will be yet another milestone we will not share, the greatest joy I have is knowing that my mom would be proud of me.  I carry that knowledge and the love I know she had for me around with me every day.  There is not one part of me that doubts the involvement she would have in my children's life if she were here and while we will never experience togetherness again on the earth, I will do my best to honor her as a mother through my journey every day.    

If any of you have ever experienced anything similar to just want to talk, please feel free to email me at bria.m.715@gmail.com