As I was driving into work today, I thought maybe I will skip this blog post, because there is nothing really to say. I am tired! I have been beaten like no one should have to be. I had to lay my Ironman dreams down for now. I spent more time at hospitals this year than I care to do again. I witnessed a loss so deep my soul hurts, my heart breaks. I watch her family struggle to move forward, and that makes me hurt more. I have had to defend my children in ways that no mother should have to defend her children. Momma-bear came out multiple times this year and let’s say, sometimes, I forgot who I have become, and turned into who I used to be – I did not like that one bit. My faith and my leadership skills have been questioned UNFAIRLY because I have had to step back from many things to care for my family. You see, my family has been fighting some battles most people don’t know about, and since they are NOT my stories to tell, I can’t and won’t share. I have found my heart hardening, my temper flaring, and my drive diminishing. In these hardships, I have had to let people go. I have had to let things go that I normally would never consider letting go. Time will tell if these things are permanent or temporary. I had to step back and focus solely on my family.
Maybe, that is what this past year has been about. Maybe, God is pruning out the unnecessary so he can move me forward into the path I am meant for. Maybe God is showing me less is actually more. The lessons are still unfolding, but I do know he has finally shown me what BEING means for me!
Last night, I pulled into the driveway; Suzie was outside with her friend and her dad. They were running pitching/catching drills. The night before she had pitched her very first game as starting pitcher. When we got to the game, she said Coach Bernie is here?! I was shocked but shouldn’t have been. While we may pay for lessons, he takes pride in watching his girls succeed. His presence gave her the confidence boost she needed. As I watched her the past two nights, I realized how much stress she had been under. She is ME! She wants to be liked AND she cares about excelling in what she does. She is struggling to find that right combination. She has made a request of me during this season for me to not miss her games. She has certain places that she does not want me to stand and she doesn’t want me to call her Monkey. It makes me sad that she is growing up, but I love that she is telling me what she needs. I may upset a few people, but I plan to do my best to honor her request to be at all of these games.
After watching her, I sat at my kitchen table with DJ. It was a bittersweet moment. We were working on his Graduation package – cap and gown, invitations, and thank you card order. We still have several months left, but the reality is here, he is graduating. This time next year, he will be an adult. Every bit of time I have spent on him is worth it. He doubts his purpose, but I still believe with all of my heart that this kid is meant for great things. So, I walk with him, trying not to get aggravated, realizing he is learning who he is and navigating life.
There was no big revelation about Georgia last night or even this morning, other than she is coming into her own. She quit softball and moved into gymnastics. I wasn’t sure how this would work, as she is not the most graceful kid. She is in her last year at elementary school. With gymnastics, her self-esteem has grown greater than I could have ever imagined. Her pride in school is becoming evident, and she is going in early to work on her projects. She is stepping outside of Suzie’s shadow and finding her OWN voice. It is actually quite beautiful.
On top of all this, the kids are dealing with the normal kid stuff – mean kids, mean teachers and the unfairness of life. Somehow, I have to guide them while allowing them to make mistakes and learn natural consequences. This I am finding is NOT easy! The line is very thin.
Aaron and I have struggled, not necessarily with our relationship but just life in general. He was gone for a while and I was solo during the hardest part of the year. He is back and we are trying to figure it out. What do I release and give to him? What do I need to keep? He, also, moved back to 3rd shift, so he is re-adjusting to that. We got a new puppy, Dixie. She will be trained as a service dog for PTSD. She has opened up dialogue in our house like never before. Having a puppy is tiring, but I believe she is here to fulfill a greater purpose and work with us and the military! I am just ready for her to NOT be a PUPPY!
You may be asking what does that have to do with your 41st birthday? EVERYTHING! In these hardships, we had to re-evaluate our inner circle. We had to let people go. We even cautiously let people back in. As some of these changes occurred, I was hurt and angry at some of it. But standing around seeing who is left, I am certain, we have built a great support team for our family.
I don’t know what the next year holds. I don’t know if it will be another series of hardship in rapid succession, or if we will start to see blessings for standing faithful. I just don’t know. What I do know that I as my children struggle with navigating life, I am going to BE PRESENT!
Being present must also become the motto for my goals. No Ironman or Ironman 70.3 in 2016. Can’t even talk about it until summer of next year according to the doctors. Talk about a kick in the gut! The end is not here, nor is this dream over. But, it begs the question where does this leave me? It leaves me with plenty: Crossfit, Running, Biking and Swimming. It leaves me time to get fit and strong. It leaves me time with my family. It allows me to BE PRESENT in everything physical I do, because there is no chasing the next big thing. I will admit, I am struggling with no huge training plan. I have a half marathon in November, I am not worried. Worst case scenario, I walk. Bataan is coming back around in six months, and let’s just say I am ready!!
On 9/11, Battle Flag Ranch held a golf tournament to raise money. The cabin is ready for Veterans and their families. We have some fun plans coming down the pipe. After, the tournament, I went to open gym at Crossfit, and I did the WOD – Badger. When I run, every step, slow or fast has a purpose – to honor the fallen and those who continue to serve. I have never cared what others think, nor I have worried about being slow or last. When Dina talked to me about Crossfit, I wanted to do something that would make me look good. I had not wanted to admit this because it seemed so selfish. The coaches and members at Crossfit Rutherford have pushed me and believed beyond what I thought was possible. God let me flounder for a while, and finally started whispering about my WHY! I struggled with it, and I discussed it very few people because I didn’t want to admit, I was being VAIN! However, the revelation explained why I was not progressing, and why I wasn’t getting there as often as I should.
During Badger, I was tired, I wanted to quit. It took me 49 minutes to finish. 49 LONG MINUTES! My coach would tell me to keep going when I said I couldn’t he reminded me Badger wanted to quit, but didn’t, so neither could I. When I hit STOP on my timer, and recorded it. I felt many things, but the biggest thing I walked away with that day was I can find true purpose in Crossfit. A few days later, I did another WOD, and I remember being mad at being slow. It involved running, and I don’t want to be slow anymore. I want to IMPROVE! I want to get faster. I don’t want to stand still any longer. You hear “Trust the Process!” I hate that statement, but it really is so very true. God didn’t bring me to Crossfit to make me look good. He brought me to Crossfit to break me from self-defeat. I finally get it. Guess what this means? I must BE PRESENT!
If anything the year of 40 and all of its hardships, I have learned a huge lesson, BE PRESENT! When I am with my family, I must BE PRESENT! When I am at CrossFit, I must BE PRESENT! When I am running, biking or swimming, I must BE PRESENT! When I am doing ministry work, I must BE PRESENT! Most importantly, if I am going to survive this life, my prayer life must BE PRESENT DAILY!