So I am cheating just a bit on this post. I have been out-of-town all week and haven’t had time to do much of anything let alone find my writing muse. BUT this morning, I was reading through the journal I started when I was training for a marathon three years ago (because I am currently a fat ass and was looking for inspiration). This particular entry made me laugh so I thought I would share. For all you really good parents out there…here is another perfect example of poor parenting brought especially to you by “H World”.
6 Weeks to Marathon…
I usually do my weekly runs early in the morning so as not to interfere with family and work. But making time for the weekend long runs tends to get a little complicated. This particular weekend, at the tail end of a long stint without my “BFF” husband, (which does not always stand for ‘best friend forever’) who was on a cross country journey with his father, I knew that it was going to be tough squeezing in the 15 miles I had planned. Saturday held football practices, house cleaning and other adventures. Sunday morning I totally intended to get up at 4:30, hop on the treadmill and be done, guilt free, before any of our six children woke up. But sleep called me like a seductive muse and I succumbed to it, waking in time for a cup of coffee before we had to get ready for church.
So after church I give a $10 bribe to Dillin (14) with the request to PLEASE just occupy the four younger children for a couple of hours. (Duncan (16) wisely left to be anywhere else but home.) I stuff my face full of peanut butter and graham crackers, dodge a call from my mother-in-law and hop on the boring treadmill, staring at my inspiration wall full of pictures of funny looking animals, runners with abs I long for, interesting quotes, my current work goals and a picture of my mother, whom I think of often when I run, God rest her crazy soul. Things go great for the first hour and I am actually shocked that no child has bugged me. “Maybe they are finally scared of me” I think cheerfully.
Well…zero in to mile ten and understand that an MP3 player set to the loudest possible setting (before deafness sets in) does not drown out the screech of sixth-born Mitchel, who blessed be to God, would, if he lived, start kindergarten in two days. Someone has wronged him and he’s going to be heard. I unplug one ear of my headphones. “Mitchel!” I yell, panting “Please…do not…screech…when mommy…is on the treadmill…it’s very hard to…” and that’s when I went down. It was not a glamorous fall, my legs flipped up in the air and landed across the still moving treadmill, my face just missing full contact with the hard floor. I really wished right then that I had not duct-taped the emergency kill rope that would quite possibly have saved some of the skin on my right thigh. The kids kept using it for miscellaneous games and the treadmill won’t start with out it. I never thought I’d ever actually need to pull it. I get the strength to get up and pause the monstrosity and then flop back down on the floor as Mitchel comes around to where he can see my face. “Oooh, mom. That looked pretty funny.”
“Mitchel” I say, forcefully enunciating my words because I want to kill him but know I would not be able to catch him at this very moment “are you injured physically, mentally or spiritually?”
“No…it’s just that Maria and Dan keep yelling at me.”
“I’m going to yell at you if you don’t let me finish my run. Now go away and don’t come back.” I pull myself up and back on the treadmill and push start to resume my run. I am not injured, just sore, mad and humiliated. “Fifteen, even if it kills me” I tell myself, thinking that it just might this time. This is when mental negotiations begin: “Perhaps I can make it to thirteen. Thirteen is good. That’s an admirable run especially on a wretched treadmill. Lot’s of people can’t do thirteen.” The internal banter which always starts at about mile ten, even without a dramatic fall, continues and I trick myself into running just a little bit more until I get back in the groove and reach thirteen without problems from the troops. I decide I feel pretty good despite the inevitable bruises, so I speed it up a bit.
This is when things get ugly. I’m in the zone, at mile fourteen, when I glance over to the couch area and see that the four youngest have silently accumulated there like creepy little ghosts and appear to be waiting patiently for me to finish. But Daniel is holding up a sign that says: “When are you EVER going to be done so that you can please call Mrs. Hodges to see if I can have a play date with Owen?” Dillin has apparently decided $10 is not enough and is M.I.A. I hold up one finger for one mile left, and speed it up, knowing that a lot can go wrong in a mile with these people who are my children. Sure enough at mile fourteen and a half I glance over to see that Mitchel (WHO IS FIVE) has Maria (WHO IS ELEVEN) in a one handed choke hold and is pummeling Daniel (WHO IS NINE) with the other hand, vengeance at last is his: NO ONE was yelling at him NOW. Seven year old David is staring at the television, oblivious to the mayhem, or choosing to be.
Now, ask me good people, if I stopped running. Nope. I did not stop. I’m ashamed to say that I sped up to a seven minute pace, calculating that Maria could probably survive without oxygen for three a half minutes and surmising that Daniel was capable of hitting back (I have seen him do it) and just might save his sister from death if three and half minutes WAS too long. I was going to FINISH the damn run and then if there were any survivors after, send them all to their rooms, myself included, who is not a seven minute mile pace kind of mother, unless there is cake, beer and a bed at the finish line.