Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Challenges to a Mother's Heart

Picture it: Saturday. San Francisco. Achingly blue sky. Streaming sunshine. Golden Gate Bridge resplendent over the bay. Merrell Oyster urban adventure race. Five super-fun jockettes + me, running, cycling, and scavenging our way around my most favorite city.

We were having a blast, on a rollercoaster of adrenaline and activity. With our 6-woman team (including professional adventure racer Robyn Benincasa), we could alternate challenges because only three teammates had to do each one. Lindsey, Kerry, and I kicked race off by running along Marina Green to find something called the Wave Organ, then dashing back to the “home base” of Crissy Field so that Robyn, Dana, and Kerry could pedal to the Ferry Building to buy veggies beginning with letters O, Y, S, T, E, and R.

When they returned, three of us ran off, and I got the thrill of swimming in the bay to a kayaker to retrieve our next task, which involved indoor rock climbing. You get the picture: multi-sport activities plus zany challenges. Triathlon meets the “Amazing Race.”

Yet amidst all this glory, after my teammates had set out on their bikes again, melancholy washed over me. I marveled at my surroundings and wondered what was bringing me down. Oh, yeah: I’d idiotically checked my iPhone and had read an email from the twins’ preschool teacher, who told me John, 4, has been telling other children he’d “kill them” if they didn’t give him the puzzle or fairy wings he wanted to play with. And every time the children are to embark on a new activity, John asks, “is this going to kill me?” The teacher said this behavior seemed to stem from him seeing part of a movie on the computer of our babysitter’s daughter.

Sigh. I’ve never had to confront such behavior or really any inappropriate words or actions before, as big-sis Phoebe is the consummate rule-follower. (Classic first child.) I don’t want to say the rest of the 4.5-hour race was ruined for me, but after that I carried sadness and concern with me as surely as the pack on my back.

I guess when you’re a mom, you can run, but you can’t hide.



marybob143@aol.com said...

Amen, sister! Sounds like an awesome event. I absolutely detest running with a heavy heart. I run, nonetheless, but I feel 20 pounds heavier; surely it's my heart. My 15 mile run a couple of weeks back was a similar scenario...I completed it, but it wasn't happy. Fast forward a week, tack on 2 miles, & bam! Happy feet, happy fam, happy me...surely just a phase with your son...boys are sure different - my 16-year old just walked in & asked how my day was...oh, too much detail to go into here on your blog...

Katie A. said...

What an awesome run! So glad you got to participate. I was sure you were going to say sadness was because you don't get to live in beautiful SF anymore! You got to run all the fun running routes we have! Sorry to hear though that your little one was the product of your heavy heart. He usually sounds like such a fun kid - I am sure it is just a faze! Good luck and great job! :)