This morning I ran nine kilometers.
It felt like early May. The sky shone clear, blue and showed off with the most liberating breeze. The sun was gentle and warm; not it's oppressive self, like last week. Even by the midway point, I was thankful I hadn't opted for a running jacket, although I know if I’d been walking I would have wished for one.
It was one of those runs.
I noticed a hundred different shades of green, emeralds and jades, olives and khakis. Lush and healthy from all the rain. And even though I’d woken up feeling tired and failing, I ran my course and remembered that my grass was just as green. The trees seemed to cheer me on, their branches dancing in that gentle wind. It was hard to believe we were deep into July.
It was a hard run.
I took last week off from the gym; I embraced my vacation that way. And the week before that I’d been able only to find enough time to scramble to the cycling classes over my lunch hour. My lungs did not like this sudden wakening, the kind only running seems to induce. But I’ve made peace with this kind of hard in the past and I refused to let it stop me today. Sometimes, like this past week at work, I remind myself that hard is like good strong coffee on a cold dark morning. Necessary.
I let Shaune do all the parenting this week.
And along the way, I collected guilt and a dwindling self-esteem. Each time one of the kids asked me to play or take them to the park, I laid paralyzed on the couch and explained that sometimes Mommies don’t have what it takes to do it all. I leaned on Shaune. I’ve never been happier to have him at home with the kids. A temporary kind of leaning made sweeter by the fact that he's been hired as a fulltime high school teacher, set to start in September.
I explained things to Deaglan. How sometimes work takes all of your energy when you get older. I explained it to him because I knew Naveen wouldn’t understand yet. I tried to buy myself some understanding.
After my run, I ate leftover steak and a handful of strawberries.
I told the kids to get their helmets on and we rode to the park. We played soccer and then they rode circles all over the park’s paths and driveways. I sat on a bench, warmed by that mild sun and watched them make tracks with their wheels from riding through the patches of leftover puddles.
I talked myself into believing that they’d remember only this.