Mothers constantly give: give baths, give kisses to elbows whacked on counters, give endless made-up answers to profound and hard-to-answer questions. (Amelia's today: "Are people alive in heaven, mom?") Most of the time, I love it. I love knowing that only I know that when Ben screams "Bar!" he's asking for a Cherry Pie Larabar. I love knowing the difference between Amelia's fake, I-want-attention cry and her I'm-seriously-hurting cry, and knowing that my hugs and kisses will make the latter go away. (Nothing, save distraction, makes the former disappear.) I love being the one whose smell is comforting, whose voice is (usually) soothing, whose intimate knowledge of their tiny bodies and minds makes their lives happy and easy. Some days, though, I can get to feeling sorry for myself, and I think, "I want somebody to make me pancakes and get me dressed and entertain me all day then give me a bath, read me books and put me softly to bed."
I'm working on a story for Women's Health about gear, and I need a fit tip--how to know if this piece of gear is right for you--for each item, one of which is running shoes. I called the Colorado Running Company, a running store in downtown Colorado Springs (they don't have a website), the other day and introduced myself, explained the story and asked if I could ask a few questions over the phone. "Why don't you come down and see for yourself," replied a nice voice, belonging to a guy named John. I told him the quote would be a line or two, and I didn't want to waste his time. "It's what we do," he said, "I don't even care if you quote me." So I took nice John up on his offer and brought my orthotics and my shoes from the marathon, which are totally uneven: the left heel is significantly--like 1/3"--more worn down than the right.
I won't bore you with the technical details we discussed, but I will tell you he spent 30 minutes with me, as other customers came in and out of the store and he politely ignored them. (There was one other salesperson there.) He let me run outside in brand new shoes. He videotaped me on the treadmill and showed me what a non-overpronater I am (I thought I was). He talked me through the benefits and drawbacks of orthotics, and the correct shoes to use them in. (Most orthotic wearers don't need motion control shoes, as the orthotics are stiff enough; in fact, combining orthotics and aggressive MC shoes may produce—surprise!—IT problems.) In short, he gave me the treatment mothers can understandably crave: he made me feel like me (and my gross, problem-ridden feet) were the only thing on his mind.
It's not making 3 meals a day, building endless towers, watching Wonder Pets, refereeing fairly when both kids covet the same toy and repeating other mundane tasks I take on regularly, but I'll happily take it. Especially if his thoughtful advice keeps me running.