Saturday, March 8, 2014

I waited until about 1pm on Wednesday.
One of my "me" days.  
When ALL three kids are in school at the same time
and it's just ME, by myself, 
The first of three days in the week when Charlie is at preschool.
I waited as long as I could for the temps to at LEAST get CLOSE to double digits and the wind to die down so I could ski.
(I skied my second race ever a few weekends ago and now that's all I can think about.)
Well, that and cheeseburgers.
A new passion/hobby teetering dangerously on the border of addiction.
I can think of worse things to be addicted to.
But I've decided to start training for the 2018 Olympics in South Korea. 
35-years-old isn't too late to start, right?
Hey.  Listen.  "High aspirations, low expectations,"
my husband always says.
Words to live by. 
But this skiing thing.  My newest love, only a year old.
A freshly groomed skate track on a mild Minnesota winter morning,
not another human within site,
makes me giddy with glee.  
Both have been hard to come by this winter.
The mere SIGHT of it makes me want to BURST with joy.
I love discovering things that make me feel alive
and happy to be.
Back to my Wednesday.
I bundle myself up, the only skin showing the tops of my cheeks and the tip of my brow.
I swipe cheap wax down the length of my ski's and hit the trail.
Any signs of morning grooming washed away with the high winds that have been blowing since 9am.
Whatever.  I don't care.
This is my love.  And now that I know what I'm capable of, 
(from my last race, leaving the starting line at 2 degrees and 20 mph winds, so scared almost turning back a few times,)  
8 degrees and whipping winds is no big thing.
I need nature and freedom and quiet.
THIS is my therapy.
Frantic to move and maybe run away a little bit, I take off sprinting.
And my phone rings 57 seconds in to my stride.
"Hello, Mrs. Westerhaus?  This is blankety-blank school.
We have Grace in the nurse's office?
She just vomited everywhere."
Oh for the love of Christ.
Mother Effer.
I cursed in to the wind as I held my phone at my hip, 
so sweet nurse lady wouldn't hear the raging.
"I'll be there in twenty minutes."
I replied more calmly.
But for the love of Pete,
there's always something, isn't there?
Being a mother has taught me day in and day out
to abandon all expectations and keep the bar low.
I clicked off my ski's with an angry force and tossed my poles forcefully into the back of my minivan.
SOME days I handle change and stress and and chaos as beautifully as I imagine the Dalai Lama himself would.
Not today.
Today I'm angry, pissy mom who just wants to get a ski in for the love of God.
ANOTHER freezing ass cold day.
ANOTHER kid sick at home. 
Another day I have to set aside my plans for someone else's.
This is motherhood.
Although this Midwestern weather can be breathtaking 
if you're dressed appropriately,
it's right about now in the season, 
where it all just starts to feel heavy.
Like you'll never be able to shovel yourself out from all the snow and ice that's fallen in the past few months.
Winter and cold and subzero temps, albeit beautiful when combined in a nice little package of snow flurries and temperatures in the teens,
those days have been sparse.
And then you're back to frozen fingertips,
black ice and bone chilling temperatures that take your breath away.
But I have to try to find the silver lining in every situation, 
or I'll collapse in a heap of self pity and victim-y behavior.
A trait I find to be most distasteful in others.
So I see it as (another) day of practicing setting my own desires and needs and unearned brooding aside, 
to spend one on one time with my daughter.
Browsing the toy aisles and book shelves and home decor department of Target, 
all from which we need absolutely nothing.
But there's nothing else to do (and this is what negligent stay-at-home mom's do when they're kids are sick and unable to go to school?  But not too sick to stay home all day. 
Spreading the poopy love.)
The woman at the checkout hands me my receipt along with the 1400 coupons you acquire when you spend WELL over what you had planned.
I grabbed the stack.
"Oh, hun, here's one more.  I don't know.  Do you need this one?" she said with an awkward smile, as she gazed at my fully grown 7-year-old.
A coupon for $1 off diapers.
Mother Effer, again.
"Ah, yeah sure.  I'll take it."
For the first time in well, ever, I was starting to surrender myself to the fact that this may be it.
That we just might be done "procreating" and instead, FULLY enjoying our family of five and this next phase that is upon us.
It's been a really hard place for me to arrive to.
It's required an unbelievable amount of patience and praying and presence in what is and not knowing or trusting what's right.
And I was feeling okay.
Not certain, but okay.  Ready to embark on my Olympic training schedule and being a better mother to the three I already have.
Until the coupon.
Curse you, Target lady, Peg.
I'm not quite sure when I became such an angry woman.
Maybe last Sunday when I saw the forecast for umpteen days of below zero temps.
Maybe hormones.
Maybe another kid at home sick on my "me" day.
Or maybe it's early March.
And we've been pummeled with snow and cold and sick kids
and more days off of school and ice and snow and. . .
Maybe the trick is to do the opposite of everything I've been doing? 
Instead of being annoyed and frustrated and down right pissed off, 
I do a cheer!
Jump up and down!  
"Oh love!  I'm sorry you're not feeling well, but YAY!  We get to have ANOTHER day at home together!!!  Isn't that so great?!"
Maybe that's it.
Because, as you'll find out,
it's never about the other person.
The crappy life circumstance.
The unexpected serious inconvenience. 
The fear.
It's HOW. YOU. REACT. to all of it.
How you CHOOSE to see it all.
So there's a lot of good.  No matter where you're currently sitting.
My husband is wining and dining his employees at fancy restaurants with even fancier cocktails and delicious food.
Sleeping in a quiet hotel room in the heart of the city.
Getting up before the sun to work out and then shower in peace and take his time getting ready and not rushing to get somewhere.  
While I fight the evening whines of my team at home.
I ignore the wails above me, siblings fighting over a spot on the bathroom stool, pounding through the hallway above my head, 

as I stand at the kitchen counter in my winter coat because I'm perpetually freezing,
scooping up slabs of peanut butter from the jar with chunks of chocolate.
Much like I used to watch my dad do.
Although he never used chocolate.  He used a spoon like a respectable human being.

And contemplating getting in the car and driving somewhere to get a burger.
They're old enough to get themselves in to bed now, right?
They won't even know I'm gone.
But I decide against it.  My husband would kill me if the house burnt down with our children in it, 
while I was sitting in the Culver's drive through line.
It's all about HOW. WE. REACT.
How we CHOOSE to see it all.
I know deep down, if it weren't for my husband and these late nights, 
and early mornings, 
I wouldn't get to be here.
Spending my days doing the things I love most.
The things that FUEL me and make me feel so alive and fulfilled.
Being able to see dreams to the end and start new ones.
Sometimes it's just me.
And sometimes it's us.
Which is my favorite and an unbelievable blessing, 
one I often feel SO undeserving of.
My one who is up for anything, (if it means we can go out to lunch after.)
But enjoying any bit of freedom, no matter how big or small.


Anonymous said...

"High aspirations, low expectations." Love it. Read it yesterday and am still giggling about it. Great post. Hope all is well :) Kristine O.

Post a Comment