Tiny Gods & Injury

I pretty much made it through my 20’s without running a step. I’d logged so many unhealthy miles in my teens that I needed an off season (maybe even an “off for the rest of my life,” if I couldn’t do it moderately). But then I had a baby. And an old friend gave us their ancient BOB jogging stroller that still functioned properly. See, my intentions were solely to stroll with my first born, and in the beginning, that’s what I did.

But then, that one fateful morning, a street sweeper came barreling towards us. I decided to run us to the nearest turn-off to protect my baby from being covered in road grime. I had been swimming laps at the time and, surprisingly, running didn’t seem too horrible that morning. Actually, as I kept attaining my tiny goals (the next driveway, the next stop sign, that black Ford F150 down the street), I kind of liked it. I kept going back for more, setting my goals farther and farther, until eventually I was logging miles (plural).

And then I started meeting one of my favorite girlfriends at Town Lake (which is now officially Lady Bird Lake, but I will never bring myself to call it that) for weekend runs. Those turned into four and five mile long runs and before we knew it, we’d registered for the 3M Half Marathon. I went from leisurely jogging to loose training. And I was having a blast.

I did two half marathons and then promptly got pregnant again. And because we had a miscarriage with our first pregnancy, I wasn’t about to chance it. So I quit as quickly as I started. But I missed it. I missed running in the cold of winter, with its 5:30 sunsets. I missed the sense of accomplishment I felt during a sermon on Sunday as my body began recovering from that morning’s long run. But by the time summer came, I concluded that I’m most likely a fair weather runner anyway – I’d find out after this pregnancy, I thought.

But I never considered injury. I thought I could just jump right back in. Wrong. My post-partum come-back was a disaster. It’s been start….stop….from the first stride. First, I pulled my Achilles tendon. I rested and then tested the waters again. With mild confidence, I signed up for the Cap10k – just to feel the glory of a race and to show myself I could do it.

I did it.

And then I got Plantar Fasciitis shortly after crossing the finish line. If you are keeping track, that’s two injuries in less than four months.

They say that the last thing a runner wants to hear is “rest.”  I didn’t want to rest, and I still don’t, but there’s no other choice. I’ve done the golf ball roll, the night splint, toe spacers and cushioned shoes, but my heel and arch still kill me.

Running had become my outlet, the one thing I felt like I could call my own. And, during my last pregnancy, I always felt confident that I would be able to return to it. Almost itched to!

But last weekend, it hit me that I may not be able to. I spent an exercise-free weekend in the hill country and finally asked myself, What if you couldn’t ever run again? Then what? Would I be okay? Do I have value apart from the confidence I gain tracking distance covered by my shoes?

Maybe my little fall/winter fling of 2012/13 had morphed into a tiny god? One that I had to let go of to ever appreciate again.

It was yucky to look at, but the truth is, I felt different and special because I could run far. But just like eating mega-healthy, anyone can run far. It just takes practice. They say that if you can run 2 miles, you can run 26.2. Anyone can do it.

What if I am not the “clean eater” or the “distance runner,” then who am I? Is it enough for me to be a child of God? Because the truth is, that’s the only thing that no one can take away from me.

 

​​Out of Control Eczema

My 6-month-old daughter has eczema. I hate this word. I wish I didn’t even know how to spell it. But I do. Each day, I smoother her with Aquaphor and 1% Hydrocortisone Cream, attempting to cover every inch of her body, but she still manages to scratch, scratch, scratch at her poor skin. One warm day earlier this week, I unthinkingly put her in a short sleeved onesie and now her arm looks like a psychotic cat got her.

When I undress her, her nails go straight to her belly, to itch. I tell her, “No, Sabra, that will hurt you.” But she does it anyway. And this reminds me of two things. Wait, three.

  1.  That God must look down on our eczema of the soul, which he sees us scratching over and over (which only makes us want to scratch it more), and patiently reminds us that he is the only balm that will truly calm us.
  2. That even when 85% of my daughter’s daily activities are under my control, she is still an individual who makes her own decisions. She has a personality, preferences and a condition I don’t have. Also, I only get to be with her for 17 ½ more years – in which I will pray daily that we raise her up well – and then she will be off, making her own decisions. She’ll decide what she wants to scratch on her own.
  3. And, finally, that she and I are both officially Williams’. She was born into it, but I know that I have now become one because I mindlessly divide my thoughts into numbered bullet points – a trademark Williams trait.

Oh, Baby Sabra. I love you. I love your blue eyes and your lively giggle. I love that you don’t have teeth yet, but your pre-teething slobber is slowly coming on. I love how your eyes follow Brooks around the room like he is the most amazing thing you have ever seen. But your scratching is off the charts. Stop.

God, be our balm.

The Family Bed

We don’t co-sleep. Well, not officially. Sometimes I fall asleep next to Sabra after she finishes nursing and I used to love watching Brooks sleep when he was a baby, but he’s loud and flails all night long now. But, somehow, he is in our bed more now than ever. See, when Spence gets home from work, they go upstairs to change clothes and wrestle on the bed. Every. Single. Day. And today, I was counting on that intermission because I wanted to do my Pilates. It’s my Bible study night and I knew between dinner and bath time, this was my only window for physical activity – those 20 minutes before I fire up the stove. For some reason, however, I wandered into our bedroom with baby Sabra on my hip and we ended up laying on the bed with our wrestling fellas. And then I found myself watching my gorgeous son – really studying him.

He is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. When Forrest Gump says this the first time he sees his son, it always puts a lump in my throat. But Brooks is my Little Forrest and I just sat back with Sabra swimming on my tummy and marveled at him. I watched his floppy auburn hair flip back and forth as he pounced on Spencer. We still laugh that at how now that he can use actual words, he’s started signing “more” – bumping his little fingers together when he really means, Again, Again!

I never got to my Pilates, but there is nowhere else I would rather have been than in our family bed. I would have hated missing those looks Spence and I share when Brooks pounces across the bed like a dog, barely missing his baby sister before he drops his head to plant a wet kiss on her forehead. And how when he gets a little too rough and we hastily shout, “Gentle, Brooks,” he always freezes, then pets her head.

It’s true: Babies Don’t Keep. And this sweetheart who was once my baby is now my little boy.

Pilates, Schmilates. I think I’ll lay in this messy family bed I’ve made (yet continually fail to make) while I have it.

Mema: What is That?

For months, Brooks has been pointing at things and saying, “Mema.” It took a while, but we finally realized that this was Brookese for, “Hey, I have no idea what that thing is. Can you tell me?” He had a few other words, but even after we’d put him down for the night, for a long season Spence and I would still be saying mema, mema, mema everytime we turned around.

After we decoded this word, we began to respond to Mema with, “You mean, What is that?” And for weeks, we heard, “Memaaaaaa…..wuh iz at?” over and over. As if catching himself, he would tack on What is that to the word he was so used to spitting out. Like a delayed linguistic calculation, he couldn’t let go of his word before speaking coherent English.

Why does this matter? Well, this week he dropped Mema altogether. I woke up this morning, desperately searching for a pen so I could scribble down this silly word. Mema. Brooks doesn’t say Mema anymore and it scared me to death that I would forget he ever said it.

I had grandiose ambitions when I started this blog. I thought maybe I was doing something different and profound, but really I’m just another Jesus follower trying to do just that: follow Jesus (in an extremely distracting world). But I don’t have to be special or profound. I will, however, have huge regrets if I don’t document my kiddos lives. Because I enjoy writing. I enjoy reflecting on life and crafting it into pictures with words on the page. No one may ever read it, but I’m going to build something beautiful on the page. This is my Mema: What is that?!