Monday, May 13, 2013

am i the only one who doesn't like mother's day?

I have come to the annoying realization that I will not be able to enjoy Mother's Day until my children are much older. Ironically, this will probably occur at about the time I wish I could return them to the age they are right now. The thing is that I think I've been setting myself up for disappointment for years. I think, "Just this one day, please don't whine, don't ask me 9 times for the same thing, and be nice to each other." If I just went in with low expectations and those things happened (like every other day), then I don't think it would phase me. But when I've set the bar (too) high, their average is like a slap in the face. Also, it kind of blows that Mother's Day occurs right after my FAVORITE DAY of the year.

A week and a half ago was my birthday and it was the PERFECT birthday. That's what I told Joel as I walked up the stairs that night to go to sleep. "This has been the PERFECT birthday." Joel remarked that it would have been perfect if I hadn't gotten sunburned, but I quickly reassured him that even the sunburn was part of the perfect. The sunburn began about 15 miles into our 42-mile bike ride as we began our ascent of Lookout Mountain. This was about a 6-mile ascent that the pros deem a "class 2" climb. That's steep. As we were pedaling, I knew I didn't have on sunscreen, but I also knew that any airflow I could get would be worth the heat later, so I pulled up my sleeves. On the descent, I missed a turn (you're going to see a pattern, in a minute) so our 42-mile ride turned into 47. By the time we finished, we were starving. But it had been a beautiful ride, all the more appreciated since it had snowed a foot on May 1. Two days later, conditions were perfect. Lots of eating steak and pie and popcorn later. I know this will shock anyone who knows me, but no bacon. It was still perfect.

So there was that PERFECT day. I thought I'd start the weekend out right by dragging Joel up the Deer Creek Canyon Loop (which the pros classify as a "class 1" climb with some "HC" parts. or something). It was "only" 33 miles, but the ascent was the first 12 miles. Woof. Then you get to rolling hills. Wait, did I say rolling hills? I mean some straight ups/downs. You couldn't shift down fast enough, and then I'm starting to freak out because if I can't, then I'm going to end up falling. And then I'd have to unclip. And then there's no clipping back in. At one point Joel muttered, "I'm thinking of all the bad words I want to say right now."But we were fine and we got through it and soon we were sailing downhill and after a few miles that's when I realized that despite Joel's cautionary, "Don't we turn here?" I had just kept going. So we had to turn around and go back UP. If I wasn't so ticked at myself, I would have cried. So 33 miles turned into 36. But it was a great morning and I love having that time with Joel, especially the part where he said, "I can't believe you've done this before. This is insane." Why does that make me feel so good?

And then Mother's Day happened. Which, really, is just the epitome of being a mom. I was thinking about that tough bike ride and how it relates to motherhood. How for the first half of their lives (or more), it's just a steady stream of work. Physical work. Mental, emotional and spiritual work, but lots of actual physical work. Sometimes you feel like you want to say bad words, and maybe you do. But you keep going. And then just as you get to what you think is the summit, you breathe, get a snack, enjoy the beauty around you. And then there are curves and steep ups and downs and you think, "Shouldn't this be EASIER by now??" Some of it is scary when you feel like you're going so fast you might lose control. A lot of it is beautiful. And then maybe you're so taken up with looking at beauty and enjoying some coasting, that you miss something and now you're faced with a bunch more uphill. And maybe some more bad words.

It's hard, at times. And wonderful, at times. But here's the truth: I love it. I even love the steep parts. Well, I might not love when I'm ON the steep parts, but I love looking back and saying, "I just did that. And I didn't die."

There are parts to motherhood right now that are a billion times easier than they were several years ago.   (no diapers! everyone can shower themselves!) And there are some parts that, as the tough stuff transitions from being physically demanding to more mentally/emotionally challenging, are harder than I imagined. Teething is a completely different ballgame than, say, ADHD. Both hard. Both exhausting.

One thing I did give thanks for on Mother's Day: Joel. Just like on our bike ride, he's there with me. Sometimes pulling, sometimes drafting. Always encouraging. Often with comic relief. He's my permanent cycling partner on the literal and figurative route we're on. So I can handle the whining and the arguing and all the stuff that goes along with kids being kids. All too soon this time will pass and maybe I'll wish I could revisit this time. By then I'll be really good at this cycling stuff. And maybe I'll have learned to follow a map.


wanda said...

Beautifully written. Someday you will write a book entitled "Life's Lessons Learned from Cycling" because there are so many! I would, but I don't write well.