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What I Want for Mother’s Day

10 May

Mother’s Day is coming. I know this because I get a dozen emails a day about sending mom flowers, buying mom the perfect gift or taking mom to dinner. I also get asked by the husband what I want for Mother’s Day at least once a day. My answer is simple, even if it might not be what most moms wish for on Mother’s Day.

I want to spend the day with my friends and family. I want to have a bbq. I want to cook for them. I want to open good wine. I want to turn on some classic rock. I want to sit outside in the sunshine. I want to laugh. I want to be with the people I love. I want them to feel loved. I want them to feel cherished.

Because it really does take a village. I have not done this alone. First and foremost, I have an AMAZING partner. I can’t even begin to explain the amount of daily tasks Mike takes on around the house…I am blessed beyond belief. From bath-time, to packed lunches, to parks, to homework and dinner. The man is truly a partner in all things, especially parenting. He is hands-on. He is involved. And 99% of the time I don’t have to ask for help. I am lucky to have him. And sometimes I can’t help but hear this lyric in the back of my mind, “I have been blessed. With so much more than I deserve…”

And then there’s my family saving the day with sleepovers and play dates. Seriously…I have had to leave Ava with a babysitter once in 5 1/2 years. Do you know how much peace I get in the fact that she’s with people who truly love her? I’m so grateful for that. I am grateful for the advice, perspective and experience that each set of parents bring to the table. I am grateful to have a family that is supportive without being overbearing. I’m grateful that I can pick up the phone and say, “What did you do when _____ happened?” and always have an answer. I’m lucky, but more importantly Ava is lucky to be so loved.

Then there’s my girlfriends. Always ready and willing to help regardless of when or why. I’ve dropped Ava at their houses at 7am on Saturdays so I can get my long training run in. They have picked her up from school when I got stuck in traffic. They offer to bring soup when I’m sick and bring dinner when Mike is out of town. They are always there to offer advice and to help when I need it. But mostly they are there to listen when I’m trying to juggle it all. And sometimes, when all else fails and I drop all the balls, they show up with a bottle of wine and a big, fat hug.

So yes, what I want for Mother’s day is time with the people who help me on the journey…because I haven’t done this alone. I want a good playlist, phenomenal food, great friends, my family, sunshine and a good bottle of red. I want to say thanks.

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It’s Not You. It’s Me.

6 Aug

Dear Blog,

I love you. I really do. These next few weeks may be a little tough and you may feel a little neglected, so I just want to explain myself. You see, we bought this house…

It’s our first home and it has a yard. Yes…a yard. I know…no more concrete living for us…

And it has all of these wonderful rooms. These wonderful rooms need to be cleaned and painted…

Baseboards need to be removed and replaced. Counters need to be scrubbed…

Ava’s Room needs to be fit for a true princess…

We need a room prepared especially for guests. A room that will also house the place where I write to you and tell you all my thoughts and remind you you are loved…

Carpets must be replaced to create a playroom to send Ava off to while I’m trying to write those thoughts…

And then when that’s all done, I must create and decorate the space where I will lay my head at night…

So you see, I’m busy making my dreams come true. Making my family’s dreams come true. So if I take a few days off from you and neglect you, just think of the stories I’ll have to tell and the pictures I’ll have to show. Think about the parties I’ll host and memories I’ll make. You understand, don’t you?

I Know a Vineman. Do you?

2 Aug

This weekend Mike and I took a drive up to Sonoma, CA to support our close friend JP in the Vineman Race. What’s that, right? Well, it’s the same thing as an Ironman race, just a different name. What does that mean?

It means:

2.4 Mile Swim

116 Mile Bike

26.2 Mile Run

IN. ONE. DAY. WITHOUT STOPPING!!!!

I am really going to try to find the right words to accurately explain the magnitude of this event, what it meant to me to be part of it, but I’ve found it’s kind of like trying to explain what childbirth is like…it’s not easy to put that much emotion into words.

The day started at 4:30 am. We get up, get ready and drop JP at Johnson’s Beach for the swim. The energy at the beach is amazing. Most races start in waves, meaning people enter the water based on age group and sex. So here it is, now 6:30 am, it’s cold and dreary and you get these waves of people in the water and slowly one of them will start cheering to get amped up. Before you know it, the whole group is cheering and screaming. It’s a sight…it’s one of those moments that just makes you smile. The camaraderie is awesome.

We see JP get out of the water and into transition where he changes into his bike gear and heads up. This portion is 116 miles divided into two 56 mile loops. Basically this means we won’t see him for three hours. He’s riding on streets, through wine country, that are still open to the public…meaning cars can drive on them which scares the shit out of me…they are windy roads and the speed limit is 45 mph. I was nervous. Based on his calculation we wouldn’t see him for 3 hours as he ended his first loop and began the second. So we waited. The whole time, I was a ball of nerves…I can’t imagine what Heather felt like. You just want to know he’s okay. That his race is going okay.

We finally see him coming down the street…what a relief. After that we went and grabbed lunch and then went to go volunteer on the run part of the course. The run course was set up in 3 loops approximately 8 miles each. We were at about mile 2, which on the 2nd loop would be mile 10 and third loop mile 18…I’m just approximating here. I have to tell you guys…this really helped me feel like I was *part* of this event. I became so emotionally involved at this point. At first I was there for JP and now, even though he was still most important to me, I was there for every person on that course.

So here we are, handing out water, gatorade and fuel to these people who are so freaking exhausted that it’s beyond comprehension. You seem them coming around on their second loop run and they are just trucking along, refusing to give up. And the most amazing part is almost every single runner thanked us for being out there volunteering. That is cool. When you have someone who is working their butt off and they take the time to say thanks…it’s so humbling. If you ever need an idea of how hard one of these races are, I had a guy come around his second loop. He hits the aid station…I see his steps start faltering and I’m like “Oh shit…he’s gonna go down.” I ask him if he’s okay. He leans forward and says, “No.” I sit him down, get him some water and he’s so disoriented. He keeps telling me he doesn’t understand…he’s been staying hydrated…he’s done this before. He sits for a bit and gets up and KEEPS GOING!

Now we’re here…and JP has run by us twice, which means he will pass us again towards the end of his second loop. Only we’ve been calculating his time, anticipating his arrival and he’s not here yet. Heather starts getting worried. I’m worried. Mike’s worried. And then we see him. He’s walking and Heather joins him. Mike and I hang back and continue volunteering. JP and Heather have about a 3 mile walk before they will begin the third (final) loop and get back to us. On the way back Heather calls and says, “Hey…you wanna walk with us for a bit?” Mike and I enthusiastically respond, “HELL YES!”

When we finally see them coming we join them and start walking at a pretty good clip. At a certain point, we decide if he wants us to be at the finish, we need to turn back. Mike was carrying a backpack and he stops, takes the backpack off his back, hands it to me and says, “I’m going to keep going with JP.” This was the first time I cried at the race. I wanted to marry him all over again. Heather and I turn around and head back to the finish line. Being at that finish line, it will make grown men cry like babies. The emotion that overcomes some racers as they finish, it is contagious and all-consuming.

This one woman came across the finish line smiling and she just stopped, buried her face in her hands and just started bawling. That one made me lose it. To watch someone finish something that they have physically worked so hard for…it’s childbirth…I can’t explain it. Finally we get a call from Mike, “HERE HE COMES!” I yell to Heather and we are so amped up that I’m surprised we didn’t explode. We can’t see him coming down the chute…I’m looking but can’t see him and then I spot him. I started crying right then. I know how hard he’s worked. I know how much this means. I am prouder than I’ve been of almost anyone. He crosses the finish line.

If you ever have the opportunity to volunteer at an event of this magnitude, I highly recommend it. It’s humbling. It’s inspiring. It will make you want to be a better person. I’m incredibly proud of him…I believe there were 700 entrants in the full Vineman event. He finished in just over 13 hours. So the next time you’re complaining about your 30 minute workout, just think of him. Think of an athlete who worked his ass off for 13 hours straight to achieve he a dream he had.

I’ve since signed up for my first triathalon.

Dream Big

30 Jul

It’s funny seeing the world through a three-year-old’s eyes. I watch her watch the world with marvel and wonderment. I’m awed by her innocent views and the confidence she carries everywhere. I love that she notices the clouds and that she puts flowers in my purse when I’m not looking. I love the kisses on the cheek that she gives without being asked…the affection she shows freely and often. Mostly I love the conversations we have. Her view on life is amusing and inspiring.

We were in the car the other day and we had to stop by the house to hang curtains up. On our way there, we had the following conversation:

Me: We have to stop by the new house and hang up curtains.

Ava: Can I help you?

Me: I’m sure you can.

Ava: Oh yes I can. Mom, these hands can do anything!

And she was serious. She believes that. She believes that her hands are capable of anything. And it got me thinking about how we all believed at one point. As children we believed we could do anything…we were encouraged to believe that. As we get older, we come in contact with people who change that. They tell you tell you things that make you doubt you’re adequate or capable. The big dreams we had are replaced with self-doubt and negativity.  

My hope for Ava is that she never stops believing that she can do anything. That she continues to believe those three-year-old hands are capable of whatever she desires to put them to use for. I know that she will have to deal with many different personalities in her lifetime but I really hope that she continues to dream big and not be tainted by anyone who has doubts about what she’s capable of accomplishing.