The word “No” is an immediate reminder to all parents why not to rush your children to talk. We anticipate that moment something fierce, don’t we? The first time I heard my sweet little girls talk it brought tears to my eyes. Just recalling those moments sends them rushing back to fill up my eyes again. Followed swiftly by the memory of, “No.” Or, as I just experienced…
“NO-I-AM-NOT-TAKING-A-NAP-I-AM-NOT-TIRED….NOOOOO,” as my littlest spiked a DVD on the kitchen floor…touchdown style.
My years so far as a parent have found me repeatedly anticipating, in a very rushed state, what my children will be able to do next. Sleep…eat…roll over…crawl…talk (which both of mine started to do without ceasing)…run (both skipped walking all together)…go to pre-school…start ballet class…take swim lessons…begin playing soccer…safety town…kindergarden….read…and on and on and on. With each milestone comes another set of “No’s.”
“Don’t touch the stove!”
“Eat your dinner.”
“Don’t run into the street-don’t talk to strangers…”
“Do your homework…”
Just when they master one thing it’s right on to the next, and all of the sudden my first baby is about to lose her third tooth and I’m quite certain is already better at math than her momma.. And now…I want her to stop doing new things for a little while. Take a break. Slow down. Stop growing up so fast. I want to say,
Now, as my daughters start to grow up faster than I’ll ever be able to catch up with, the word “yes” is starting to parallel the word “no.”
“Can I sleepover my friends house? Have a playdate today…tomorrow…and every free minute I’m not in school? Have iced cream for dinner? Do my homework later? Watch TV? Play on the i Pad?” my daughters will beg….
I can no longer shut them down with a quick and simple, “no” anymore. Not all of the time. They aren’t toddlers anymore….and the letting go that began as I cheered them on to all of those “firsts” is starting to catch up with me. That ball isn’t going to stop rolling anytime soon, and every time I say “No,” there is a “Yes” on the other end. Immediately.
“But I said no,” I’ll remind.
“But MOM!!! YES! PLEASE?!?!?YES?”
Now the first’s are way scarier than first steps and muffled words. And the conversations and questions are way more than I would have ever even thought about when I was elementary aged. As a mom, I want to be tuned in and there for them instead of just shutting them down. I want to have a good relationship with my daughters, so they know they can always trust in me and confide in me. I can already see how that can be a tricky thing to navigate when they are older.
My grandma used to say, “Do what you fear.”
No..literally…that’s what I do. As my feet hit the ground one after another I work out all kinds of stuff in prayer with God…and am occasionally overcome by the competitive urge to blast by another runner….but it’s mostly a very therapeutic way to sort things out…especially when it comes to being a mom. Even though at times I’ve been in significant pain as I’ve battled mysterious severe back pain over the last seven years, I’ve almost always been able to post my morning lake pic.
In every kind of weather they are stunning…they are beautiful…they are refreshing to body, soul, and spirit. I post them not to boast that by the time I’m cheerily waving good morning to you at pre-school and elementary drop off I’ve most days already ran 2 miles, taken my picture at the lakeshore, and then gotten the whole family ready for school. In fact, in writing this I stumbled on an old bookmark with a picture of the clouds forming an angel in the sky and a Bible verse underneath. Seems the scenery I encounter on my daily runs has always meant as much or more than the running itself.
But, as my daughter started kindergarten last fall and I began my short stint as head cross country coach, my back pain became unbearable. My support system, my parents, suddenly decided to move permanently from just down the street to Florida a week before Christmas last year…and shortly after that I was diagnosed with Anklosing Spondlytis, an incurable disease that can cause the spine to fuse. In fact, tests showed that part of it already had.
I dropped out of everything. To think what I would have missed had I continued to sprint for the finish.
“Mom, can I run with you in the morning?” my daughter asked me the following summer.
After watching me for years, she finally found it in herself to wake up at the crack of dawn and run with me a few times…ending at the lake …just like momma.
Chatting with my whole time, she told me on one of our summer runs…
“I sure am lucky to have my mom as my coach.”
Having giving up my post as head cross country coach without being welcomed back to help assist at all, I was feeling pretty sorry for myself. Isn’t that just God to turn my head and say, “Look…right here.”
I’ve since become a walking miracle. My most recent x-ray showed that, NO, it is indeed NOT fused. I have a crooked spine, but it is not incurable nor unfixable. It does not appear, at this time, that I have an incurable auto immune disease of the spine.
Brianne kept running when school started. After school, we’d push her little sis in the stroller and head out for a run. We “trained” for The Color Run, and it was a blast. She ran her first 5K, and her little sister started running right with her…finishing half the race herself…and outsprinting both of us when she saw the unicorn waiting at the finish line.
Who would have ever thought that “No” would be such an important little word? Maybe our toddlers are onto something?…
Slowly, my daily lake shots will return as I am able to handle putting more miles on my healing spine. Out for my first run in weeks, feeling very slow but grateful beyond words to be out there…looking at the turning leaves of fall…enjoying a warm snap in the weather and my kids being off at school so I could take my time… No sooner did I hear my dreadfully slow mile split than I spot another runner out on the path a bit ahead of me. My competitive streak overcame me, and before I knew it I was blasting by her. No lie…I ran one more block…and my left ankle rolled right out from underneath me. It hurt so bad I couldn’t even step on it! All I could do is look up and laugh and say, “Sorry!!!!!” I eventually ran back home and gave it a week’s rest, and then gave it the old college tape job and logged some more miles. I’ve got my half marathon training plan ready to go…so I’ll probably be injured 7 more times before the spring. I don’t care. It may slow me down…but I probably need it sometimes..but I’ll never give up.
Never stop praying, and never stop being thankful to God for your blessings.
I’ve always considered myself a product of prayer. So many people have been praying for me all of my life, but especially as of late.
My life is testimony that God hears and answers those prayers.
I am living proof that He will work miracles in your life.
“Be joyful always.” 1Thes 5:16
“Don’t be impatient for the Lord to act! Travel steadily along his path. He will honor you…” Psalm 37:34