The Stick

It’s that time of year…when that 48 inch piece of PVC pipe candy-striped with colored electrical tape holds the answer to the question that’s plagued my daughters all winter long.

“Am I tall enough?”

Every day since it closed last fall, my two-year old has asked me,

“Mom…is Snoopy’s House opened today?”

Every day since it closed last fall, my five-year old has asked me,

“Mom…how many more days until SUMMER???!!!”

It’s fun, to remember the ache for summer to come in the dead of winter.  The anxiety of knowing it’s closer when spring arrives.  When Cedar Point finally opens for the season, my kids lose their minds.  And I pick up something to hang over their heads every day until it closes.

“Better behave…or we’re not going to Cedar Point, today.”

Ha. Ha. Ha.

My kids are privileged, because they live the next town over from “Snoopy’s House.”  It’s literally possible for them to go there every day…so the fact that we sometimes don’t just kills them.  It’s sounds spoiled and ridiculous, I realize.  Not so long ago, I, myself, remember packing my bag on Friday to high-tail it up here from Brecksville as fast as possible to our family boat at Cedar Point Marina.  I would step out of that van and smell the lake…the funnel cakes…I even remember the smell of the dock after it rained…or in the morning when it was covered with dew and spider webs.  That was just my life on the weekends.  Imagine my kids getting to go up there every day if they want to.

I’ve questioned my parenting abilities lately, wondering why my kids seem to have lost missing good behaviors that used to be lodged into their little brains.  When, really, it’s summer’s fault.  How could I have forgotten how exciting it is?!

The beach, the lake, boats, Cedar Point rides…and we don’t have to drive from suburbia to get here.  We live here!

Just writing that down is like a deep breath of therapy for me.  I gotta admit.

What turned the switch on?  What rescued me from that land where, at the end of a bad week, I just want to sit down and pull my hair out strand by strand?

The stick.

That 48 inch tall piece of pvc pipe…candy striped in colored electrical tape.

The look on my kids face when they come nose to nose with that stick.  Oh, man.  Priceless.

In the moment I watched them measured for the first time this summer, hoping beyond all hope that they are good photo(184)enough…tall enough… I remember all the disappointed kids I had to turn away during my time as a Dragon Lady on Iron Dragon.  But also, all the elated ones.  All the first time riders that  were so relieved not to have another year of “eat your vegetables so you’re tall enough to ride” for another year.  You can almost hear the relief.

Both my kids get to ride new rides this year.  Watching them light up as they experience a new thrill is amazing.  As a parent, I never get tired of watching ‘firsts.’  Especially first rides on the Troika Troika Troika. Totally awesome.  Dad is relieved, because that’s one more adult sized ride, and one less slightly cramped kiddie ride.  We’re getting closer.

It’s sometimes hard for me not to rush things.  After all, I am a runner.  Faster is better.  Perhaps my most recent bout of injury, resulting in a frustrating week off of running, is God sending me a message.  In the midst of being so mad at why this can’t just happen to lazy people who don’t give a crap about running everyday while the sun comes up…walking through Cedar Point trying to pull my Radio Flyer full of cuteness with the opposite hand of the side that I’m injured on…analyzing every step to see how painful it is and if the IB profen is kicking in or it really just feels OK today…in the midst of all my mental belly aching…

Little Lo saw Woodstock.

“Woodstock!!!!!!!!!!!” She yelled, and ran faster than her little legs have ever gone before over to that big yellow bird for a hug.  The look on her sweet little face as she held onto that birds wings and danced with it refocused my own brain.

I want to hold on to the toddler years.  They are good years.  Terribly frustrating, insane, crazy, and part of the reason I’m constantly injured…but totally awesome.  Any day that makes me appreciate my glass of wine after little person bedtime like it’s the holy grail is a good day, full of life….full of hilarious stories…way to many to have the time to write down here.  As I looked in the mirror after putting them down for naps after another fun trip to “Snoopy’s House,” I had to remind myself how old I am.

It’s been a good run, so far.  Who cares if I miss a week, or a month, or even a year of running?  I might accumulate a slight spare tire from eating desert twice a day, and enjoying a beer or two on my front porch listening to the lake or laughing with family and friends.  Maybe, in the grand scheme of things, I need to drop the stick.  Just like my kids can only control so much of how fast they grow…I can only control so much of how my injury heals.  In the meantime, there’s a lot of life to enjoy.

Happy Measuring…

Megs

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