Strength Training

The new yoga pants fit well. After struggling most of my life to find pants that would more than kiss my ankles on my seventy-two inch, thin frame without swallowing my waistline, the sigh of relief is more than audible. I slide on a shirt over a muted pink sports bra and tackle the stairs.

After a stretch and warm-up, several deep breaths, and some cardio, I punch several buttons, meandering apps and menus on the tablet at my feet. It rests carefully against the downstairs couch, almost silent except for the Spotify playlist pumping some techno-sounding beats from Zedd. I remember when techno was new.

Still, I persist until I find the right button–and some fitness diva starts excitedly voicing words like “plyo.”

I enter an alternate sphere of focus and energy, of strength and life. I jump, I squat, I curl, I lunge. I plank longer than I’ve ever planked before today. I am gaining strength.

I’ve been working more consistently for about two months now, and my body is responding. My yoga pants fit better, and my heart is happy.

My arms…well, they still need some work. But my core and legs are getting stronger.

How do I know? Well, while doing the “Cha-Cha Slide” recently, Mr. C asked me how low I could go…& I could go all the way to the floor.

And this girl knew her strength training was actually working! 🙂

A Valentine…for you

I wrote this earlier this week for a dear friend who lost her father recently.  She posted that he remembered her on each Valentine’s Day and recorded her sadness that he would not be able to send her anything this year.  As I thought of what I could do for her, these words came.  Forgive the lateness of the post, but I hope it finds its way to her.

For you, who lost someone recently who always remembered you on Valentine’s Day.

For you, across the veil of forgetfulness, are still remembered, loved, and treasured.

For you, even without physical arms around you, are still enveloped in love.

For you, because love is stronger than the bands of death.

For you, a Valentine wish that you feel love surrounding you on this day.

Parenting is Hard.

After an experience with one of my precious children this morning, and after some weekend reflection, I’ve come to this conclusion:

PARENTING IS HARD.

Maybe that isn’t news to you. If I stopped parenting long enough to think about it (which only happens in tiny little moments), I might have figured this out sooner. Maybe? 🙂

Anyway, these recent moments of reflection have shown me similar traits in my children to my own personality flaws (which are actually quite difficult to view). For example, remember when you have read a novel or watched a film and you find yourself identifying with the feelings or habits or personalities of a certain character? Those connections have been happening abundantly lately for me…only my children are not mere characters in a book or movie. They are my children.  And they are flawed (which I knew) like me (which is what is so difficult currently to view).

Maybe some of the difficulty is knowing the path they have ahead of them…and my desire to help them wake up to a realization that certain behaviors that I have wasted years of my life practicing can lead them to heartache and sadness.  I find myself defensively saying (in my mind) to them, “I’m getting over [that behavior].  Why can’t you?”

But, some lessons need to be learned from the inside out, not vice versa.

I guess what I’m saying is, after this weekend and this morning, I’ve got some work to do…both for myself and also with my children. And I’m wondering what I can do to change today….

Each of my children (and yours) is a gift, a life, an opportunity for love and learning and greatness. My children don’t need the fame of a Super Bowl ring, a Julliard degree, or a name in figurative lights to be valued and precious and productive in society. They are each amazing in their own spheres of influence as they develop and share their own talents and gifts with those around them.

I wish I had learned that earlier. I still find myself fighting feelings of inadequacy and unworthiness daily. But, at least I am fighting them (most days) instead of giving into negativity.

On the way back from taking one of our children to school (the one having a rough morning), my husband gently said my name, followed by the words, “You are a good woman.”

My immediate thought was, “If I was a good woman, I could cure more ills and take away more pain.”

As I fought tears in the thought, I saw something else, though…a smattering of light…of truth.

Pain is part of life and a tool to help us grow, just like a flower fights the adversities of gravity and wind to grow and stand straight and bloom.

So bloom. As a person. As a parent. As YOU. We can make a beautiful bouquet together.