Saving second base …

I hate it. I get scared. I want to cry … and often do. I get angry. My voice cracks. It hurts. And I do it anyway. Deep down I am thankful for the opportunity to feel this terrified and uncomfortable, because it is the right thing to do. I am thankful for my medical “team” who GETS me and always has my best interest at heart … even though somehow they always manage to scare the BAGEZZUS out of me. They really are my heroes … life savers. I am so grateful. I do this for so many reasons. My H-Crew. My mom. Me. The list is endless. I am thankful to the forces that give me the courage to do this, even though I would much rather run away and hide. I share this utter madness that lurks in my brain because if it makes a difference in just one life, my mother’s death makes just a little bit of sense. It’s all I’ve got. So, here I go … mammogram day.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you do what you can to SAVE SECOND BASE!!!!

Patience, demons and having what it takes …

It seems like every time I come to San Francisco, I set out to prove something to myself. I ran my first marathon here, completing a dream I had lost long ago. I became a Marathon Maniac here, proving to myself that although I might get knocked down it won’t ever stop me from living a life beyond my wildest dreams. And now … tomorrow I will run in the first half of the San Francisco Marathon and will get to run over the Golden Gate Bridge. Something I have wanted to do for some time now. This is also my first race as a 46 year old … and I’d be lying if I told you that my mother isn’t on my mind. She is.

I have written before that my mother was dying at my age. Some days I can’t put how all that feels into words. It’s one of the reasons I decided to run the full marathon at Ventura. Sure, I’m not as fast as I was, I may not PR and my foot may still take me out of it altogether somewhere on that race course. BUT you know what? I’m going to do it anyway. I’m going to try because at my age my mom couldn’t … and she would want me to. Each step I take these days feels like they are as much for her as they are for me. Yes. I’m battling a few demons this year. Don’t ya think?!?!

So anyway, what am I proving to myself tomorrow?

It’s pretty simple really, yet horribly complicated too. Tomorrow I prove to myself that I can be patient, when patience matters most.

Tomorrow I will not PR, I won’t even come close. There are many reasons why but the main one is that I can’t lay it all out there tomorrow if I want to do my best at Ventura. It’s hard to explain the science of marathoning because I don’t completely understand all the logistics, but I do get that running half marathon pace and marathon pace are a big difference. Pushing one, when you should be running the other is a bad thing. And so tomorrow, I will hold back and run at my expected marathon pace which is slower than my half marathon pace. I will focus on the bigger picture … even though I don’t want to.

And here is why. I love running, but I ABSOLUTELY LOVE marathoning. And if I want to become the type of marathoner I so badly want to be, I need to act like it. I need to run smart and stay focused on what I REALLY want.

Patience … yes … tomorrow it’s about patience … oh … and probably about facing a few demons too.

Well, I hope you all had a day where you feel ready to prove you have what it takes!!!

My own EPIC novel …

Every year as I celebrate a new birthday I come up with a new saying … and it always has to rhyme with my age. Well, because I’m a qwerky writer, HA! This isn’t my one word New Year mantra, this is something different. For example, this past year it was “I feel alive at 45”.

I’m not sure why I do these things but they make me happy. So I go with it.

Although, now I have a problem. For the past few weeks I’ve been trying to come up with a saying for turning 46 … and I can’t. I just haven’t liked any of the sayings I’ve thought of … and I’ve run out of time! My birthday is tomorrow. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t think that just because I don’t have saying I won’t make it to 46. I’m not that coo coo. But it has really bothered me.

I’ve mentioned before that the strongest example I’ve had in my life, my mother, died at 46. Knowing my brain and all my emotions regarding turning THAT age this year (OMG in less than 24 hours), I’m pretty sure it’s all tied together.

I was out with some dear friends last night, my sorority sisters from college. They knew my mom and I brought all of this up. I told them that although I’ve seen plenty of people turn and BE 46, my greatest example of how life goes and how you are supposed to live it stopped there. It’s almost like getting to the middle of a great book and having all the pages fall out and be lost … forever.

I’m really not sure what to do with all this in my head right now. I’m still processing all of it. But I’m starting to feel that on some level this is where I have to start writing my own story. I have willingly and gratefully chosen to live the life legacy I was taught by my mother. To find happiness in any situation I have found myself in. To laugh as much as possible. To love fiercely. And to just be me, regardless of what people think.

So … I’m headed to the beach today. For some reason being there often helps me find answers, put things in perspective and find peace in my thoughts. However, this time it will be a little different. It’s up to me to write the next chapter of my life, on some level, without the example I’ve always relied on from my past … BIG SIGH.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you chose to be your own EPIC novel!!!

She ditched me … and I would have it no other way …

Yesterday I went with Libs to her end of the school year carnival. It was her last at her elementary school as she is promoting to junior high in less than two weeks.

I was looking forward to the carnival, spending time just her and I. I pictured us hanging out and laughing. Sharing kettle corn and playing games.

But this isn’t how it all went down, not at all.

I’m not sure why it occurred to me but I do know when. As we walked onto the school campus and started the trek across the grass, Libs was in a hurry. As she should have been since she was so excited. She walked ahead of me and told me to walk faster. I realized right then … we wouldn’t be hanging out like I had thought. I asked her, “Libs, you aren’t planning on hanging out with me once we get over there, are you? Her answer … “Nope.”

And so she was off.

I hung out with myself until I ran into a sorority sister of mine from college and we had a nice visit. But from time to time I would catch a glimpse of my Libs with her friends. Her long dark blonde hair lying on her back. Her her sweet smile. Although I wasn’t close enough to hear it, I saw her giggle and laugh. She danced a little to the music. She was so confident and independent. I loved watching her have fun. She wanted me there but didn’t need me there … and that was OK by me. Because as I watched her roam around the carnival I realized what I was looking at … and it took my breath away. There was my precious Libs caught somewhere between the little girl she used to be who still wanted her mommy around and the lovely young lady she is becoming … and I fought back the tears.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you watched someone grow up right before your very eyes!!!

Coming full circle on Mother’s Day …

Mother’s Day. BIG SIGH. Yes, I know it’s not today. Trust me, it’s easier for me to write about it on any other day than the actual holiday itself. Sadly, twenty years later facing this holiday down is no easier for me than it was the first year I lost my mother. Sure, some years are better than others. The first year being the absolute worst. I remember trying to buy Mother’s Day cards for the other mothers in my life and just about having a nervous breakdown in the Hallmark store. I decided from that day on I would buy blank cards and just write “Happy Mother’s Day” on the inside. A rule I have stuck to the next 18 Mother’s Days that passed.

I thought once I had my H-Crew Mother’s Day would somehow be transformed into a day of celebration. Well of course, on some level it has, but on many others levels I am reminded of the missing piece my mother left in my heart the day she passed away. Mother’s Day is to celebrate your mom … and my painful reality is that my mother is no longer here to celebrate.

My mother was funny, kind, loving and strong. She was always able to find humor in any situation she faced. And let me tell you, she was one crazy fierce cookie. You didn’t mess with my mom or me. Unless you wanted all 5′ 1″ ish of her in your face, HA!

She was the best mother in the world.

Some days I miss her so much that it immobilizes me. This year, as I’ve shared before, marks the twentieth year without her. This is also the year I turn the age that she died. The only way to describe all of this is OVERWHELMING. I vowed to myself and my mother that I would face this year and all it brought me with a BRAVE heart. I believe I have, but it hasn’t been easy. To live courageously and happily is the best way I can think of to honor her memory. I want to live the life of a woman my mother would be proud to call “daughter”.

So with Mother’s Day quickly approaching I begin to feel the stirring of my emotions. I will go into it knowing two things. First, that I love my children more that words could ever express. Mothering them has brought me a joy I have never known and their love has brought me more healing than I could have ever expected. And second, that I was loved by my mother the same way. That SHE also loved me more than HER words could ever express. That mothering me brought HER a joy that she had never known. And that my love for HER brought HER a healing that SHE never expected.

WOW. It’s amazing how things become so clear as time passes …

Well, I hope you all have a day where you see things come full circle!!!

Loving and appreciating Sidney …

Sidney Donna Henry is my oldest daughter. My first born … and all that means to a mom. She was named after my mother, given my mother’s first name as her middle name. It’s truly bonded her to my mom in such a special and unexpected way.

Sidney’s first name came from an odder source. Shortly before I became pregnant with her I had two trips planned. The first to Denver to see one of my best friends from college and the second to North Carolina to see my Ya Ya.

On the trip home from Denver we had an extremely rough flight. It was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life. The airplane was bouncing all over the sky. People were sick and crying. It was awful. Thankfully we survived.

Although I vowed never to get on another plane after that, there I was just a few short weeks later armed with a bag full of goodies from a friend to keep me distracted. The bag was filled with children’s toys and coloring books. It was a great idea!

Well, the flight to North Carolina, despite my white knuckles, was flawless … until we tried to land. If you can believe it, we ended up in a holding pattern above a terrible storm. We couldn’t land because it was just too dangerous. Lovely. The pilot said we were in for some serious rough weather and had to remain seated. I was terrified … again.

Well, all I can say is that my bag full of goodies certainly came in handy because it allowed me to become the new BFF of a little girl who was on the flight with me. She was 2 years old. Her mother was very sweet and let her come sit with me and play. We colored and giggled and somehow managed to have a delightful time flying above that menacing storm.

Her name was Sidney.

I thought to myself, that if a child named Sidney could get me to actually have fun in a place I was terrified to be, then having a daughter named Sidney would probably be the best thing I could ever do.

And so … about a year and a half after meeting the first Sidney in my life … I met the second.

When I held my Sidney for the first time and looked at her I knew that in some miraculous way she saved my life. You see, after my mother died I never felt quite right. Of course not! How could I??? But immediately upon holding my Sidney, a healing I never thought could happen … happened. A repair to the mother daughter bond that I never expected occurred in an instant. Although completely different than the bond I shared with my own mother … it just somehow completed the circle that had been broken when my mother died. My life, extremely altered from the death of my mother, was now somehow complete.

I don’t think I’ll ever really be able to put all that into words that justify the feelings. But I gave it a shot.

So, last night my Sid, that baby that changed my life and helped heal my broken heart, went to her Junior Prom. She looked so beautiful. She has become a confident, poised and charming young woman almost ready to take on the world all by herself. All of this brings me a joy I have never known. I would be lying if I said my heart wasn’t breaking just a little too. But I am also excited to share a part of life with Sidney that I didn’t get to with my mother. I’m looking forward to experiencing the friendship that a young woman finds with her mother.

For a long time after my mother died, I couldn’t look at mothers with daughters who were my age. My heart would just ache. But now I realize, that not too far off in the distant future, I’ll be a part of what I couldn’t even bear to see … and THAT simply astonishes to me.

Well, I hope you all have a day where you love and appreciate your amazing daughter!!!