Monday, April 13, 2009

Silk Purse Run

The sow's ear: yesterday was one of those days from Mothering Hell. Well, okay I exaggerate because I know that somewhere in the world are mothers who are worrying about getting enough food and water for their kids' survival. But it was straight from Pampered Westerner's Mothering Hell. First of all, dear darling daughter went to a sleepover on Friday night, which meant that of course (word "SLEEPover" not withstanding), she got NO SLEEP. So by Saturday evening she was a raging ball of melting down 9 year old. She's normally a feisty little thing, but cheerful and kind. Not so when she gets no sleep. She collapsed at 7:00 pm in her room after much door slamming and didn't wake up again that evening.

Fast forward to 12:15 am, NOW she wakes up, of course. And can't get back to sleep. By the time I install her in our bed, shoving various cats out of the way, I'm wide awake. Which turns out to be a good thing because I sit bolt upright and realize that in all of the hoopla, I forgot to do the Easter baskets. Though she is nine, she is a firm believer in all things magical, like Easter bunnies and Santa Claus (not sure how much of this belief is willed at this point, but whatever). So there I am at 1:00 am putting together Easter baskets. Except that I forgot to buy artificial Easter grass, so what I'm really doing at 1:00 am is cutting up the remains of a roll of birthday streamers into a Easter Basket Grass Simulant. It takes awhile. By 2:00 am I'm back in bed and maybe asleep by 2:30. Daughter, now duly rested after 12 hours of sleep is of course up at 7:00, excited about Easter baskets. I'm feeling already a little whupped.

We get the eggs dyed (supposed to happen yesterday evening, but due to sleeping daughter it's now last minute). Mackenzie, 12.5 year old son goes out to the guinea pig pen to take them to their outdoor hut and comes in saying that something's wrong with his guinea pig. Turns out she has prolapsed something bloody and awful looking out of her nether regions. Pretty much I know at this point that she's a goner, but he and I take her to the emergency vet hospital, bundled up in a towel. The kids have had their guinea pigs for over 5 years now, and I know that they've been approaching the end of their normal life span, but I was hoping for a peaceful passing in the sleep that's more common with smaller animals, not this. Poor little thing, she's such a sweetheart. Vet confirms that it's probably a prolapsed cancerous uterus, and that otherwise she looks to be a very well cared for guinea pig but that she's now come to the end of her days. Horrible decision to put her to sleep after son asks about life-saving surgery. A "damn it", fist in the eye and stifled sob instead of a tearful hugging breakdown are just some of the few indicators that my baby boy is venturing into manhood with not just physical but emotional territory these days.

The rest of Easter goes relatively smoothly - family brunch with my usual strawberry crepes and then for the first year Mackenzie plays Easter Bunny while Asa takes the dog for a walk, and this cheers him up immensely - he loves taking on these older roles. By 5:00 in the afternoon I knew that I SHOULD go for a run, but I had no energy whatsoever. I literally felt emotionally drained and completely lethargic and did one of those long debates about whether or not it was better to just give up or to force myself out the door.

I ended up running with my friend Kay, and I'm glad that she got me out the door. Sometimes it's strange but with exercise you really can turn a sow's ear into a silk purse. Sometimes the very hardest times when you can barely force yourself to start out seem to end up the best. After 20 minutes, Kay turned toward home but I was feeling so good I just kept going. 75 minutes later, I came back in, soaked to the bone with rain but feeling just terrific. It was one of those runs where everything just came together and felt great - strong, smooth, and effortless. I really needed it and again it made me grateful for the blessings of exercise in life's harder moments.

In memoriam, RIP Acorn, one of the sweetest little critters around. This is a funny photo that Mackenzie had me shoot of her, playing on his GameCube.

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