Marathoning Meb

I wrote this today as an entry to a contest to run in the 2017 NYC Marathon alongside Meb Keflezighi, my favorite runner.  I am not an elite runner by any stretch of the imagination, but Meb inspires me. 

 

Meb is the reason I thought I could run a marathon. Corny, but true. I watched Meb in the 2012 Olympics, after I’d completed my first half marathon. Meb is an everyman. He doesn’t look like the other runners; he doesn’t act like the other runners. Meb is a friend you’re cheering on, not an imposing elite athlete.

I ran the 2012 Marine Corps Marathon with my twin sister. We were both undertrained and nervous. We dedicated each mile to a member of our family or our friend group. Our first mile, though, was to Meb. “To Meb,” my sister said as we ran the past the mile marker. “Who got us started in the first place.”

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My sister, husband, and I at the end of the 2012 Marine Corps Marathon

I haven’t run a marathon since 2013 or a half marathon since 2015. I had a baby, was beset by injuries. But when I told my sister (who had also been plagued with injuries) I thought I might hang up my shoes she was aghast. “You can’t quit!” she said. “What would Meb think?!” So we bought Meb’s book and we’re both back in the proverbial race. She is racing the NYC Half in March; I’m racing the Brooklyn Half in May. We’d both hoped to get into the marathon so we could say we ran with Meb.

I may never meet Meb. But I know him. And he’s changed me.   That’s why I’d be honored to run with him in NYC this fall.

This post is part of the Slice of Life writing challenge hosted by Two Writing Teachers.  You can find out more about the challenge here!

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Dance Party #SOL17

My daughter is silly.  I wish she was snuggly.  I wish she was a kid who wanted to crawl in my lap and sit together, showering each other with kisses and hugs.  But she’s not.  She’s a kid who will kiss every stuffed animal you hand her, but who will run away giggling when her mother or father puckers up.  She is a kid who will pull me into her tent (“Momom.  Tent.”) to hide from Dad, breaking into hysterics as he pretends to look for us.

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My silly girl, laughing with a mouth full of scrambled eggs.

I was a silly kid.  I was a silly adolescent.  I was a silly young adult.  But somewhere between freshman year of high school and freshman year of college I lost a little of that silliness.  It still came out from time to time (a joke, a funny face), but self-consciousness about peers and boys and my body took over.  Then came college and I was serious, a competitor, cool.  And the silliness was almost all gone.

My husband brings out my silliness.  He is a goofball to say the least.  But even though I am silly with him, I am often reserved.  I don’t skip or jump or play games.  I write lists; I make plans; I stand with both feet firmly on the ground.

I come from a silly family.  I have very clear memories of my father playing The Little Mermaid soundtrack on a portable tape player and dancing through the lobby of our apartment building.  He made up voices on our way to school to make us giggle and wake us up (Olly and Dr. Ishkabibble, although he claims he does not remember this).  I know I want to be that silly mom for my daughter; I don’t want her laughs to only come with Dad.

So tonight as I was making her dinner and she colored in her high chair I put on a Disney Spotify playlist.  I found myself dancing as I flipped her scrambled eggs (my girl LOVES scrambled eggs.  Yuck.) when all of a sudden a heard a giggle.  I turned and she was looking at me, marker poised over her paper, giggling.

“What are you laughing at, silly girl?”  I asked.  She reached her hand out for mine.  I walked over to her and she began to swing my hand back and forth, giggling.  She wanted to dance.

So I turned the scrambled eggs off.  They needed to cool anyway.  And I danced.  I jumped and I skipped and I did my best Tina Turner as I sang to Disney classics (and not so classics.  But that’s another story.).  And my girl laughed and laughed.  After dinner we continued our dance party, this time with her joining me in my sweet moves until my husband came home.  As he walked in, we were both giggling uproariously, as we jumped chasing each other around the island in our kitchen.  He joined in and I got to take a deep breath.  My silly stamina isn’t quite where it should be, but I’m getting there.

This post is part of the Slice of Life writing challenge hosted by Two Writing Teachers.  You can find out more about the challenge here!

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Sunday Night #SOL17

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There’s something both sad and hopeful about Sunday night.

On the one hand, the weekend is over and with the end of the weekend comes the  beginning of responsibility again.

On the other hand, the week stretches out before me like a blank piece of paper.  All of the mistakes and the missteps of the week before can be avoided this week.  I can get up early, I can be productive, I can stop procrastinating.  I can be kinder, eat better, run more.

This Sunday night found baby McK in bed early, my husband and I eating leftovers, a favorite movie on TV.  I don’t imagine that we’ll last later than 10:30 tonight.  It was a good weekend but a long one.  Baseball season has begun and with it my husband’s calendar fills up.  We’ve got at least two if not three late nights this week.  We’ll need our rest.

Still, I’m choosing to look at the glass half full this week; to see the possibilities instead of mourning the end of the weekend.  Here’s hoping that will set the tone!

This post is part of the Slice of Life writing challenge hosted by Two Writing Teachers.  You can find out more about the challenge here!

 

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Libraries #SOL17

There’s something magical about libraries, isn’t there? 

The possibility of all of those unread books.  All of the things to learn, the stories to read, the lives to live.  

Baby McK and I went to the library today to celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday.  The program started at 10 this morning.  Foolishly, we arrived at 10.  When the library opened.  We couldn’t have possibly known that people had begun getting there at 9:30 to get a good spot.  (Well, to be fair, a responsible Mom might have known.  I did not.). 

So the program was packed (and probably skewed a little old for our 17 month old anyway) so we went into the children’s room where we had the run of the place.  She took book after book off the shelf and lef them in her wake.  The staff had signs everywhere reminding parents that little hands would take things off the shelf and that that was fine, they would tidy at the end of the day.  She sat and read.  And read.  And read.  Mommy’s baby, for sure.


I had a magical idea that, when we were done, she would indulge me and let me peruse the adult new arrivals.  But as we walked towards the circulation desk to check out her books (her first library books!), she caught sight of the balloons and gift bags given to all of the little attendees today.  Needless to say, mom did not get her novel on.

Still, I have so many fond memories of taking book after book off the shelf in my own library, the Flatlands branch of the Brooklyn Public Library.  It was nice to see my girl do the same today.

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Alone #SOL17

I am not often alone.  You might this lack of solitude stems from my role as mother to a precocious toddler who often accompanies “momom” to the bathroom.  Or my role as ELA Supervisor, where I am surrounded by students and teachers.  Or the fact that I am happily married to a man who is my best friend whom I love to be around.  All of these things are true.  But my togetherness started a long time ago.

See, I am an identical twin.  And as an identical twin growing up in New York City, I was glued to my sister’s side for most of my adolescence.  We were allowed to go places–take trains and buses and walk–if we were together.  So my sister and I stuck together.  In fact, I can distinctly remember the first time, as a college freshman, I went to the Barnes and Noble by myself.  There was no one to rush me through the fiction section to get to boring History, no one to nag me not to spend too much money.  It was a surreal feeling.

But I relish my alone time.  I don’t get it very often, but when I do get it I savor it.  Tonight, after a long day at work and buying my mom a birthday gift and what seemed like endless traffic I came home to relieve my mother in law.  My husband had baseball tryouts today (anyone else always want to call tryouts auditions?  Just me?) and then he was going out to dinner with a friend.  So it was just me and my girl and then it would just be me.  I had an evening of running and reading planned for once she went to sleep.

Fate, or the stomach bug she had yesterday, intervened.  I was giving my girl her nighttime bottle, her first milk of the day since we thought she was still recovering from yesterday’s bout of stomach stuff, when she looked at me with sweet eyes and said, “All done.”  Then she promptly vomited all over me.  And the couch.  And the rug.

Fortunately, none of it got on her.  And after her initial fright all she wanted was more Elmo and CooMon (the Cookie Monster doll she sleeps with).  So I cleaned up.  And I poured a big glass of wine and made pasta for one and wrote about it.  Now I’ll watch TV my husband doesn’t watch (hello, Bravo!) and enjoy the rest of my evening.  Alone.

This post is part of the Slice of Life writing challenge hosted by Two Writing Teachers.  You can find out more about the challenge here!

 

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Sick #SOL17

My daughter was sick for the first time today.

Actually, let me clarify: at nearly 18 months this was not technically the first time she was sick.  There have been coughs, an ear infection, dreaded coxsackie.  But this was her first stomach . . . Thing.  And this was the first time I couldn’t stay with her.

I’ve never had any delusions that I wanted to be a stay at home mother.  I admire women who are (and men who stay at home for that matter!), but that’s not who I am.  I loved my position as a classroom teacher and when my maternity leave was over (long by American standards, short by standards of the world but that’s another story for another day), I happily went back to the classroom, knowing my daughter was in good hands with my in laws.

Now I’m out of the classroom and while I’m learning to love my job I’m not at the same level of adoration I was before the position change.  Meanwhile, as my daughter gets older and smarter and sassier and funnier I love her more and more.  So when she was sick this morning, once in my arms, I assured my mother in law, who comes mercifully to our house to watch her while my husband and I shape other people’s children, that I could take off.  I had a packed day of meetings and observations and planning, but I could rearrange things for my girl.

She smiled at me, kindly.  She told me that there would be times my girl would be sick and need her mommy.  That this was not one of them.  That she’d be fine.  That I’d be fine.  That she’d give me constant updates as the day progressed.

And she was fine.  In some of the pictures my mother in law shared, she doesn’t even look sick.  She looks like a girl who’s watching Elmo, glad to get to stay in her pajamas all day.

Look at that smile! You’d never know she was sick!

This won’t be the last time she’s sick.  It won’t be the last time she’s sick and I can’t stay with her.  But it was the first time, and so I think it was the hardest.

This post is part of the Slice of Life Challenge held at Two Writing Teachers.  You can learn more about the challenge here.

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Mornings #SOL17

It’s the March Slice of Life Challenge again!  Astute readers may notice that I have not posted on this blog since . . . the last March Slice of Life Challenge.  But I so enjoyed the Slice of Life Challenge last year, so I’m trying again!

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One of my New Years goals (I won’t say resolution) was to use my mornings better.  To get up earlier and alternate between running and working on my dissertation.  But I can count on one hand the number of mornings I have woken up before the very last minute necessary.

Still, I know that I need to use my mornings better.  I’m in a new position this year, and it demands a lot more hours at school than my life as a classroom teacher did.  I don’t usually get home before 5:00.  I have a beautiful 16 month old daughter (17 months tomorrow!); when I come home from work, while my daughter is still awake, I do not do work or anything but be present with her. She takes my hand the moment I walk in the door, sometimes before I can even take my heels off!  We walk her toy dog and go on fake picnics and color (purple and blue are her favorites, but I think that’s because those are the colors she can say), but I do not run and I do not work on my dissertation.  This was a promise I made myself when I finished my maternity leave and I’ve stuck to it so far; I only have a few hours of uninterrupted time a day with her, so I don’t waste them.  My daughter is usually asleep by 8:00.  I try my hardest to have dinner with her, but sometimes that just doesn’t happen.  Exhaustion hits some time between 10 and 10:30.  So I really only have a few hours to myself if I’m not using my mornings well.

This morning I was so sure I was going to get some “me time.”  I woke up early after falling asleep on the couch at 9:00 (it’s been a long week already!), and I was excited to get my workout clothes on for the first morning almost all year.  It wasn’t as early as I wanted to get up (I may have hit the snooze button a few times) but it was early enough to get a few miles in.  That’s when I heard it.  Not crying; she almost never cries in the morning.  The sweet babble of my girl talking to Cookie Monster in her crib.  I was torn: go get her and enjoy some morning snuggles before I had to start getting ready for work or head down to the treadmill.

In the end I chose the snuggles.  I’m going to be able to run for the rest of my life (hopefully!).  I know I don’t have many more mornings of snuggles and Sesame Street, so this morning I chose to indulge in them while I can.

This post is part of the Slice of Life writing challenge hosted by Two Writing Teachers.  You can find out more about the challenge here!

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