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The Never-Ending Journey

June 28, 2010
by

And with a single leap, Amelia enters another year.

Seven years ago today, a journey started at at 5:13 a.m.. Motherhood. Intensely scared, intensely happy, intensely hormonal, intensely difficult. Intense.

That day, my body worked harder than it ever had before. The scariest part? I wasn’t in control. The pain came and came and I couldn’t make it stop. “If I just had five minutes to gather myself,” I told my husband, “I’d be good.”

No walk breaks in labor, unfortunately. No walk breaks in parenthood either.

But plenty of time to reflect in parenthood, even if I have to lock myself in my bathroom to escape from my screaming kids. (Guilty as charged. More than once. Most recently: during an interview with a (single, male) newspaper reporter about Run Like A Mother. When it was clear the door wasn’t drowning out their shrieks, I asked him, “Now do you understand why I run?”)

A few things I’ve noted as along the way:

—I’m much less patient than I pretend to be; I’m much more of a control freak than I wish I was; my tolerance for loud noises, especially before 7 a.m and even if I’ve already run to get my crazies out, is meager; and I despise any toy that A) requires assembly with a included tool; B) has the words “littlest” and “pet shop” somewhere on the box; or C) has any pieces smaller than my thumbnail.

–My ability to love is much deeper and resilient than I ever could have imagined.

–That said, there are times when I don’t actually like my own offspring. Hard to stomach, but true.

–Sense of smell is intensely maternal. My kids’ diapers, puke and farts barely register in my nostrils. But if I walk into a restroom and somebody has just deposited a dirty diaper? Retch. Also, some of my favorite moments are when they sit on my lap and I can take clandestine hits of the sweet smells coming off their necks.

–I would like to never utter these sentences again:
I don’t respond to whining.
How do you ask?
Please wipe.
If you were really hungry, you would eat an apple.
You don’t need more ketchup.

–My body is no longer my own. I’ve nourished with it, I’ve starved it of sleep, I’ve had it crawled over and sat on, I’ve had babies stuck in it and to it, I’ve hauled kids around on it, I’ve had it kicked and bit in frustration. And it’s happy to take the hits for the family team. Except for when I run. Then it belongs only to me.

–A run can’t make everything in my cart-pushing, often frustrating world right, but it’s the best panacea I know. A hug–or just the sight of my kids–at the end of a bad race can make everything right.

–I’m trying to slow down and appreciate more moments. The other day, as the kids were Nascaring their carts around the grocery store (hey: you gotta  do what you can to keep it interesting), I apologized to a woman whom they whizzed by on their way to get a chocolate milk box (hey: you gotta to keep the help happy). “I’m sorry,” I said, “They’re crazy.” “No,” she said, “They’re awesome. Awesome.” She said it in such a genuine, warm way, I had to believe her. “You’re right,” I said, “They are awesome.”

–Over the past seven years, I feel like spent approximately 75% of my time either pushing a grocery cart or moving clothes from the washer to the dryer. I’ve often mentally composed a Facebook update around it: “Dimity spends way too much time in the laundry room and grocery store. Just sayin’.” But putting it out there in the universe–just like putting out a more worthy goal, like to run a 10k–makes it more real. So let’s just pretend I haven’t just copped to the fact that I have, for about 84 months, filled my cart with strawberry cream cheese and drenched paint-stained clothes in Shout on a nearly daily basis.

–A friend quoted me the amazing Anne Lamott the other day: “Having a child is like pouring Miracle-Gro on your character defects.” Without going into too much detail–or maybe I already did?–I’ll just say a big Amen to that.

Happy 7th birthday, my sometimes puzzling, always lovey Amelia. Thanks for taking me along for the ride.

(And thanks, RLAM’ers, for reading to the end of this self-indulgent post. Next week: I’m back on form/function/NYC’ing. Promise.)

38 Comments leave one →
  1. Melanie permalink
    June 28, 2010 5:32 am

    How did you do that??? You just described my life to a “T”…..

  2. kim permalink
    June 28, 2010 5:35 am

    that is good stuff, my friend
    good, honest stuff
    onward and upward

  3. June 28, 2010 5:48 am

    Not “self indulgent”…self aware and an ability to bare your soul. You are so right on with all your points. Some of the most beautiful words are, “Mom, you’re home!” said in that surprised and delighted voice that only your child has, when you arrive home after a run!

  4. Gen permalink
    June 28, 2010 5:52 am

    Happy Birthday Amelia! My oldest daughter is 15 and the youngest is 11. I feel the same way every birthday that passes. I love my husband but I’d knock him over in a fire to get to my kids. (Now that is crazy 🙂 ) and all because of the pain and joy i got or currently get from them 🙂

  5. Becky permalink
    June 28, 2010 6:09 am

    Wow, you just verbalized so eloquently things that I feel and haven’t been able to put into words. Thanks for this post.

  6. Rebecca permalink
    June 28, 2010 6:18 am

    Great post! It is so refreshing to hear women talk about their kids honestly and frankly. Sometimes when I see other moms at the playground and they ask how everything is going I just want to blurt out how exhausting my insane children are..but I just just smile and say everything is great, just peachy…(I ‘ve been up since 4:30 this morning so i can run to keep my sanity, I’ve had 4 cups of coffee, the dishes are dirty, I have no clean underwear, my son ripped a curtain rod out of the wall, can’t remember the last time they bathed, and as I was getting in my car after my fabulous run and swim I noticed my son had carved his name into the side of my husbands car door…still haven’t told him.)

  7. June 28, 2010 6:38 am

    Definitely not “self-indulgent”. Your writing as a mother, as a runner is inspiring, and this post was no different. Thanks for writing things I will copy when I scrapbook about myself as a runner, mom and launderer. :))

  8. June 28, 2010 7:20 am

    Dimity – A most perfect post. I’m right there with you. My oldest turns 10 this Wednesday, my middle is 8 tomorrow. We began our journeys around the same time — it’s been bliss-and-chaos-filled ever since! Happy birthday to your sweet girl. Thanks for your honesty–and for the great Anne Lamott quote. She’s one of my favorites but I hadn’t heard that one before.

  9. Kathy A permalink
    June 28, 2010 8:04 am

    Great post and so true. Love the Anne Lamott quote. Also so true.

  10. Caroline Eakle permalink
    June 28, 2010 8:32 am

    Oh how I love this post!!! I was doing that same kind of reflexion yesterday as my oldest son turned 6! A lot is the same…somehow it makes me feel like I am not alone in this boat! Happy birthday to your sweet balerina!

  11. June 28, 2010 9:06 am

    thank you for validating my every day. and making sahm-ness a lot less isolating.

    happy birth day to you both!

  12. Leane permalink
    June 28, 2010 9:41 am

    Dimity–this post brought a tear to my eye…so beautiful. happy birthday Amelia!

  13. June 28, 2010 9:48 am

    Not self indulgent at all, Dimity. I remember when my daughter, now 14, was 7, and my son was 4. What a different time and what a different person I was. I love them like gang busters, but at that time, my ability to be patient and always do the right thing? Not really there. Still isn’t there on any predictable basis.

    They grow. We grow. Funny how that happens.

    Loved reading this.

  14. Terzah permalink
    June 28, 2010 9:57 am

    One of my other mom-runner friends, whose kids are five years older than mine, once told me that your patience actually increases when you have kids–you just don’t always recognize it when you’re with *your* kids. I think of those times when I’m actually out on my own, and I notice some harried mom whose kid is having a tantrum or a whine fest nearby. I’m much nicer and more helpful than I would have been pre-kid. Looking at all the grandparents I know, I think that’s a change for the better that sticks! Happy Birthday to Amelia! I hope you have a great day!

  15. Alicia B. permalink
    June 28, 2010 11:00 am

    Amen, sister. Sometimes hearing someone else express the same deep, yet somewhat troubling, thoughts that I have is almost as good for my sanity as running. As much as I love my kids, I struggle with having to say “stop touching your brother” fify-three thousand times a day to my two small boys.

  16. June 28, 2010 11:12 am

    Not self-indulgent, “awesome, just awesome” 🙂 Thanks for sharing, Dimity

  17. runnergyrl permalink
    June 28, 2010 12:20 pm

    This was beautiful, and brought tears to my eyes… thanks for sharing a common sentiment amoung all running moms.

  18. SS Mother Runner permalink
    June 28, 2010 12:33 pm

    YES!!
    and
    DITTO!!

    Happy day to you.

  19. Jennifer C. permalink
    June 28, 2010 1:29 pm

    Happy Birthday, Amelia! 🙂

  20. June 28, 2010 1:57 pm

    You are so not self-indulgent. We fellow moms so get you. Happy birthday to your beautiful girl! I’ve been on vacation for a week and missed reading so much! The things we moms say…I sometimes reflect in awe at the things that come out of my mouth…”No, you don’t look like an alien.” Calmly this came out of my mouth not so long ago, in response to something my daughter claimed…oh, wait, for examle, NOW…”You are not going to die.” Equally calm, in response to same kid over something she jabbed herself with. Wow. Anywho, glad to be back & read the entries & everyone’s responses!!!! Peace…

  21. Lisa permalink
    June 28, 2010 2:17 pm

    Thank you for putting words to my thoughts/feelings/experiences. It is nice to feel validated!!! My daughter turned 7 on June 20. She is my most challenging so far, which means she is a lot like her mother. The best part is, she already loves to run! Happy Birthday to Amelia!

  22. June 28, 2010 3:42 pm

    Happy Birthday to Amelia! I happen to think she has one of the prettiest names in the world, our Amelia is 12 : )

  23. June 28, 2010 4:05 pm

    So not self-indulgent. I loved reading this. As a writer, sitting down to write about what is happening is the way you take a moment, and then years later re-reading, you get to take a moment again. I hope I’m still reading your blog when our kids are teenagers (I have a six year old girl and a almost four year old boy, so I’m right behind you). I feel like I may need the support!

  24. Lindsey permalink
    June 28, 2010 4:30 pm

    Thanks for this great post, I needed to hear that another mom feels the same way I do many times. THANK you for the honesty. I felt like crying reading it and all for the best reasons.

    Happy Birthday to your beautiful Amelia!

  25. Cristina permalink
    June 28, 2010 4:59 pm

    happy birthday Amelia!!!! and happy day to you, Dimity. What a crazy ride indeed….

  26. June 28, 2010 5:51 pm

    Bravo!! And here I thought I was the only one!! It seems none of us are alone in this. In fact, as I’m updating my blog my daughter’s been very quiet in her room, which makes me worried. I love this post, and describes the life of a real mother.

  27. Alice permalink
    June 28, 2010 7:56 pm

    Your blog is Run Like a Mother. We expect yl.ou to have mother posts too. Glad motherhood is treating you so wel

  28. joleen permalink
    June 28, 2010 8:01 pm

    Dimity I love this post. It is the reason I love your book and writing (SBS too). It is real and so relevant. You “get” it and I relate to it! Thank You.

  29. Cathy permalink
    June 29, 2010 8:43 am

    Just when I needed this….by 10am we’ve already hit three tantrums! Thanks for reminding me of all the balance we moms need.

  30. Michaela permalink
    June 29, 2010 8:51 am

    Thanks for this post… It wouldn’t be Run Like A Mother if you weren’t a mother. My oldest daughter turned 6 on the 28th, and I feel like you said what I was thinking but couldn’t put into words. I can’t even remember what life was like before kids, and that’s perfect- for all the tough days and frustrations, there are a million more tiny magical moments that make it worth it.

  31. June 29, 2010 8:52 am

    Although I’m not a mommy yet, maybe someday!, I love your honesty and your heart in every single thought you posted. You make motherhood real and I have to thank you for that. Having a wonderful example of what it takes to be a happy, healthy, strong mother makes me know that when the time comes, I can do it, too. Happy Birthday to your little Amelia!

  32. June 29, 2010 5:08 pm

    Dimity, you are great! And this post made me laugh, get a little teary-eyed, and shake my head in agreement. Fantastic.

    Happy birthday, Amelia! And happy, happy to you, too, Dimity!!

  33. Susanne H. permalink
    June 29, 2010 8:08 pm

    Thank you for saying that outloud. I feel better knowing it isn’t just me thinking those thoughts too.

  34. Carolyn permalink
    June 30, 2010 6:35 am

    Thank you for sharing. This brought me to tears.

    I just recently started talking to a therapist because despite running more and better now than ever, I still struggle with all these feelings and challenges that motherhood brings me. I am tested on so many levels every second of every day. I love being a mom and I love my children more than anything, AND…being a mother is the most challenging and humbling thing I’ve ever done in my life! Can you imagine what I’d…we’d be like if I/we did not run?!?!

  35. Meghan permalink
    June 30, 2010 12:05 pm

    “My body is no longer my own. I’ve nourished with it, I’ve starved it of sleep, I’ve had it crawled over and sat on, I’ve had babies stuck in it and to it, I’ve hauled kids around on it, I’ve had it kicked and bit in frustration. And it’s happy to take the hits for the family team. Except for when I run. Then it belongs only to me.”

    Substitute the word run for exercise and this is so me!

    Okay, who am I kidding, all of the bullet points are remniscent of my life, but that one really spoke to me!

  36. Michelle Kreifels permalink
    July 1, 2010 4:45 pm

    Thanks for the post! I’m not a mother myself but I did help raise four of my siblings, which includes a set of twins. (I plan on having ‘only one’) I just want to say, to all mothers out there including my own, BRAVO! I have always admired a mothers ability to stay sane enough to function throughout the day. I very much appreciate your honesty and admire your strength.

  37. Cheryl permalink
    July 3, 2010 8:23 pm

    Thanks, I love this post. Happy motherhood anniversary to you, and happy birthday to Amelia!

  38. Seth Hoyt permalink
    August 2, 2010 11:14 am

    Dimity – Had java yesterday with John at S’bux in Wayzata. We talked all about your grand venture, and how much Sam and I enjoy your writing … and your success! Sent your link along to each of my three daughters: one a walker, two runners, two moms, one expecting! All the best, Seth Hoyt.

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