Persevere

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So today I decided to test the magical ring I bought from EndorphinWarrior.com by going on a bicycle ride with daughter #2.  Magical ring?  Let me explain. 

I am a morbidly obese mother of four.  In my mind, I am still 135 pounds and unstoppable.  In reality, by body is in ruins.  I have chronic pain and crepitation in many of my joints and more “Mom stripes” (aka; stretch marks) than a pack of zebra on the Serengeti. I have come to realize a lot of things recently.  One of which is that just because I buy something doesn’t mean it’s going to magically start working.  I have purchased many “weight loss” items over the last 20 years.  Diet pills, memberships to gyms and weight loss groups, books, DVD’s, exercise equipment, food, shoes, clothes, etc.  It took 20 years for my epiphany.  I actually have to USE  these items or they don’t work!  They are simply tools in my shop.  I actually have to pick them up and use them in order for them to do their job.

Like so many other people, I was moved to tears and inspired by the Arthur Boorman video that went viral ( http://youtu.be/qX9FSZJu448 ).  Here was someone who was ready to lay down and wait for death, but instead found a means to survive.  We had things in common.  Both of us are veterans.  Both of us were/are overweight.  Both of us were/are depressed. Both of us struggled with injuries. Both of us are every day people.  He struggled.  He faltered.  He fell…but he got back up.  He fought for himself.  If he could do it, so could I!.  I went to the DDPyoga.com website and bought the Max Pack.  I could not wait for it to arrive!  I was going to be the next miracle!  I would be skinny and lean and awesome again!

The DVD’s arrived…I ran into my bedroom and opened the box, because I was too embarrassed to let my family know that I had purchased a weight loss/workout DVD (This would mean there were people in my home who knew about it and would hold me accountable).  I looked at the DVD’s and poster like a kid on Christmas morning.  I would start my life changing metamorphosis tomorrow!  I hid the poster and DVD’s under some clothes on my dresser so no one would see them.

Here we are…almost nine months later, and the DVD’s are still in their package…on my dresser. They haven’t performed their miracle yet…but that’s my fault. So…how does this all tie into the magical ring? I’m glad you asked.

As I said before, I went on EndorphinWarrior.com and ordered a ring for myself. It says PERSEVERE. I bought it in the largest size they carry which is a 10.0 it fits on the middle finger of my right hand. I put this magical ring on this morning, and nothing happened…no miracle.

Daughter #2 has cheer camp this week and due to my DH’s possible work schedule, she will not have a ride to get there. I had to come up with an alternate solution to this problem because I’ve already paid for cheer camp and it is one of the things that daughter #2 has her heart set on doing this summer. This is because tryouts are just around the corner for our city’s competitive cheer team. So, since daughter #2 is almost 14 years old…I figure it’s probably time I let her spread her wings a little. We live in a decent enough city and I found a route she can take that will allow her to be on sidewalks the entire time. I know, I know…a 13 year old and I’m making her ride her bike on the sidewalk? I like her! I want to keep her safe!

Anyway, in order for me not to have a panic attack, I figured it’d be a good idea to make the trip with her today. This way she could practice getting there and back and also practice locking up her bike for the first time. So, my DH got our bicycles down and off we went.

Now…I know I’m out of shape, but this is bicycling! I’m not having to run or walk, so my back won’t hurt. This is a good thing! Um, yeah. What I failed to remember is that my body would still have to do the actual work of moving the bike! I was good for the first five minutes…then the burning started in my Sartorius and Vastus Medialis (sorry had to put my college education to use! LOL! Ok, the muscles on the inside of my knee that run from the inside of my knee to the outside of my hip and along the inside of my thighs). OMG!!!! How could this be happening I asked myself. “DUH! LACTIC ACID IS BUILDING UP IN YOUR MUSCLES BECAUSE YOU NEVER USE THEM!” screamed my brain.

We made it to the park district building…with my thighs screaming in protest. As fast as I could, I hopped off my bicycle, put down the kick stand and collapsed onto the retaining wall bricks next to the bicycle rack. I started vigorously rubbing my thighs and flexing my feet in the hopes of deterring the charley horse cramps that were sure to follow. Daughter #2 asked if I was okay and after panting out a “Yep, just fine!” a little too overenthusiastically she gave me a weird look and put her bicycle in the rack.

I taught her how to lock it up from the retaining wall, and after she did, she was ready to go back home. I, on the other hand…was not. I was still panting…and hurting and conjuring up my inevitable failure of completing my ride home. I convinced daughter #2 to “practice” locking and unlocking her bike for about five minutes to buy myself some time. Finally she said “Quit stalling mom! I want to see if I can find my way home!”. I conceded defeat, and dragged myself up and realized I had sat on gum. My daughter started laughing, and I proceeded to try and reach around my body to remove the offensive blob of white gum on my brand new, black shorts.

After pulling off as much as possible and my daughter catching her breath from laughing so hard that she was doubled over, I begrudgingly climbed onto my bicycle. Ten minutes later, we were halfway home I was done. My mind was fraught with excuses on why I could and should stop. I was in pain. It was HARD! My legs were burning. My breathing was labored. I was sweating! My hands and arms hurt from the weight I was putting on them (did I mention I have tendonitis in my right elbow and a ganglion cyst on in inside of my left wrist?).

As I looked down at my hands…I saw the ring. The magical ring. It made me do something I didn’t think I could or didn’t want to do. It reminded me to PERSEVERE! With every pedal turn of the bicycle, I realized I was that much closer to home. I couldn’t give up…I’d been doing that to myself for years. If I could just make it the last few blocks. When I made it up the last hill, it was just a matter of not stopping. No more hills I reminded myself…almost there. We turned the corner and I could see our house. “Pedal” I told myself. “Just keep pedaling”. It’s not a race I reminded myself. I knew if I stopped I wouldn’t have the will power to start again, so I PERSEVERED! I didn’t stop pedaling until I was a block from home. I coasted the rest of the way with my legs on fire as they rested.

I pulled into my driveway with daughter #2 waiting for me. “Nice job Mom! You did it!” she said then held her hands up for a high five. In that moment I realized I had done it. I actually had made it! I didn’t quit on myself or let myself give up! She was proud of me, but more importantly I was proud of me!

Now…here I sit…painfully I might add…and realize that I just rode my bicycle for 1.57 miles…each way. Holy shit! I just rode my bike for 3.14 miles! The best part is I didn’t die! I did it!

I looked down at that ring again and realized that a simple piece of metal, gave me the strength I needed to do what I though was impossible. That ring is magic…it reminded me not to give up…not to quit…to persevere.

Frustrated Mom rant…

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You know, I’ve always wanted to be the perfect (insert title here…mom…friend…wife). Not someone who never makes mistakes or has a bad day, but you know I wanted to be like the totally unrealistic ones you see in movies…the understanding second wife…the mom whose kid thinks their cool and grows up never having wondered if they were loved enough or good enough. I want to be the one who understands…the one who has an open mind…the one who doesn’t judge.

I know…it’s impossible. I’m a realist, so I know these are unattainable goals, BUT I also know that I can constantly strive to be all those things things as long as I remember it is impossible to ever to technically reach said goals. Confuse you even more? Let me try to explain. My husband is my one true love. There is no question in my mind…it is something I’ve known deep down in my soul for a very long time. He is my Noah (yeah it’s a reference to “The Notebook”)…actually he’s my Wesley (insert “Princess Bride”).

He has an ex-wife that is by far one of my least favorite people on the planet. (Here’s where the struggle begins…because right now, in order to convey how much I despise this woman, I want to use curse words, and tell you how horrible a person she is. I want to tell you all her flaws, inadequacies, fails and shortcomings. HOWEVER! I don’t want to be that bitter woman…I want to be the one who takes the high road and keeps the evil thoughts to myself and puts on the mask of patience and kindness) I HATE THIS WOMAN! She has made my husband and three stepchildren suffer for her own selfish needs, BUT because of who she chooses to be, she has given me unique opportunities. My husband and I have custody of these three wonderful kids. I have the chance to show that what the true meaning of a mother is. I now have the liberty to show them what unconditional love is, what hope feels like, what moms really are, and most importantly the ability to show them what a childhood is supposed to be.

My new kids (We do not use the term step-children. To me it carries a negative conotation that they are some how less than my blood child, and they aren’t) have adapted fairly quickly to my idea of of a mom and what she does, like cook meals, do laundry, talk with them and support them. Although there was plenty of resistance to the concepts of chores, bedtimes and homework, we’ve ultimately overcome them and have become a united family…well most of the time. Things aren’t perfect, but again, I realize that’s an unobtainable goal.

Here’s what drives me crazy though. Today is Sunday, any my husband and kids have been the recipients of a massive tongue lashing (my husband got his via text because of course he’s working). We have to take a trip back in time for a moment so that you can understand what brings me to my rant today…

Friday: My husband gets up and gets himself ready for work, heading out the door at 6 a.m. I overslept because I was up until 1 a.m. hot gluing safety pins on the backs of 125 SWAPS for our daughters Girl Scout overnight trip…scheduled for that night. I jump out of bed realizing my daughters have to be at the bus stop in 10 minutes, and I have to be out the door with my two sons 10 minutes after that. I run around like a chicken without a head, getting four kid up, dressed, fed, and out the door so I can make sure two get on the bus, I drop the other two off at daycare, and can break the land speed record to get to work in time. My boss makes me cry (which is a rather difficult task), my husband informs me he is working 13 hours, and he has to work 12 hours on Saturday and Sunday. By the way, did I mention I had a Girl Scout overnight with my daughters I had to be at? So after a crazy morning and a full day of work, I now either have to find someone to watch my boys, or drag them with to a girl scout overnight until my husband gets off of work and can pick them up. I call my in-law’s (who are some of the most wonderful people in the world!) and they offer to let me drop the boys off at their house and keep them overnight…Grandpa will take them on their Cub Scout hike in the morning since dad has to work. I get home to find out only one daughter has packed. I get daughter #2 to pack for the GS overnight, and have the boys pack for their overnight and hike, while I jump in the shower. Come to find out our sleeping bags are no where to be found. I check with my mom and somehow, the sleeping bags have wound up at their house. I get all four kids loaded in the car, blow through the McDonald’s drive-thru to get dinner, and we eat en route to my parents to pick up the sleeping bags we need. We pick up the sleeping bags, and drive 35 minutes to my in-law’s to drop off the boys. I hop back in the car with the girls to go to Camp Greene Wood…but make the mistake of actually following the Mapquest directions and end up semi-lost. Eventually we find Camp Greene Wood, showing up an hour after the festivities begin. I spend all night actively involved with the girls instead of sitting around chatting in another room with the other 90% of the leaders that have come. At 10:30 p.m. we hike across a muddy field in the dark to get to our cabin. 40 girls set up their sleeping bags, get in their jammies and get in bed for the night. The giggling finally subsides and they’re all asleep by 12:30 a.m. (By the way, when my husband came home to an empty, quiet house he said he was sad because he had to cuddle with a pillow and didn’t get to say goodnight prayers with anyone. (did he call the boys to say prayers with them? No. BUT he did call me EVERY night of my vacation last week to say prayers via speaker phone with him and the kids!)).

Saturday: My husband gets himself up and out the door to work by 6 a.m. I wake at 6:30 a.m., 7:15 a.m. and finally at 8 a.m. roll off my mattress pad and get the girls up and moving. We have a half an hour to clean the entire cabin we stayed in and pack everything up so we can walk across the muddy field for breakfast. Most of the girls made it to breakfast on time while myself and two other moms finished cleaning the bathrooms, sweeping the cabin and stacking the last of the mattress pads. It’s off to breakfast for us which ends at 9 a.m. and of course, there’s NO COFFEE! (Please shoot me now) I also realize in my haste to pack, I haven’t brought my happy pill so I am now walking into battle with no armor. The next three hours pass with minimal drama and by noon we are on the road and our way home. We end up stoping at 7 Redbox’s (no, I’m not kidding) to get the movies for the rest of the weekend. I am exhausted and can’t muster the strength to entertain the kids. I call Grandpa to see how he and the boys are fairing and he tells me their at White Castles and should be home in an hour and a half. In the meantime, my husband tells me he wants meatloaf for dinner…and he needs corned beef lunch meat for sandwiches…and do we have any vanilla ice cream? I should also pick up bananas and whip cream for banana splits when I go to the store. The boys and Grandpa show up about 2 p.m. and we talk for about half an hour. The kids watch a movie while I load the dishwasher, make a grocery list, and check emails. We head out at 4:30 and realize we need to stop at Michael’s quickly to pick up things for the girls to work on this week for their SWAPS for next weekend’s Girl Scout Earth Day Extravaganza. We detour to Michael’s which ends up taking A LOT longer with four kids all who want something and a craft addicted mom who has four 50% off coupons to use! We eventually make it to the grocery store where I plead with the kids to behave and stick together so we can get in and out because dad is going to be home in an hour and a half. That does not go as planned and at 7:25 p.m. I get a call from my husband asking where we were because he got off early and decided to surprise us! YAY! I’m so stressed I bark at him that I am STILL at the store because I have four kids between the ages of 9 and 12 who want to look at every little thing, can’t stay with me, and insist on copping and attitude with me because they made multiple bad decisions and finally got in trouble for not follwing directions. I arrive home with four hungry, tired kids. My husband is standing the the doorway and says, “Well it’s too late to cook now, guess we’ll just grab something to eat”. We order Chinese and I get the impression that my husband thinks I should worship the ground he walks on because he saved me from having to cook dinner at 8 p.m. He just doled out $27 for three dinners for the six of us to split (and so he could have leftovers for lunch). In the mean time I had just shelled out $125 for groceries and stil have to cook a meal tomorrow. I send one daughter into the shower, while another finishes the last 15 minutes of a movie. One son goes to his room to read the other has a small pity party because now he has to use the “scary” bathroom downstairs since sister #2 is taking a shower in the upstairs bathroom. My husband goes to play video games on his phone in the bedroom while all this is going on. I know…the mere idea of him falling asleep…after working all day…when he’s laying in bed, with the lights off to play his video games never crosses his mind. Shockingly he falls asleep! Daughter #2 finshes her shower and I have her go clean her bedroom floor so we can actually WALK into the bedroom while daughter #1 proceeds to take an almost hour long shower. Son #2 lays down in his bed and passes out cold. After daughter #1 gets out of the bathroom, I have the three concious children brush their teeth. They all go into the bedroom and hug and kiss their snornig father before I tuck them all in and give them their goodnight kisses. I go back into the kitchen and paruse Pinterest for an hour and a half trying to find ideas for SWAPS for the girls and inexpensive decor for the house that I can make from junk I find. I finally crawl into the bedroom at midnight where I take my husbands glasses off his sleeping face, put his phone on the nightstand after I find it under the covers, and take his socks off and cover him up because he never bothered to make the bed when he woke up this morning. I fight him for a third of the bed so I can toss and turn with my thoughts for another hour before drifting off to dream land.

Sunday: At 5:45 a.m. my husband wakes me up and kisses me good-bye. Son #1 asks if he can come in and cuddle with me, and I tell him okay. He lays on my arm, soaking my sleeve. When I ask why he’s wet, he says he took a shower. I’m too tired to ask why an 11 year old is showering at 5:45 in the morning so we cuddle and fall back asleep. I wake up at 7:30, make a pot of coffee and run the dishwasher because apparently I haven’t taught it how to run itself yet. Son #2 wakes up and after two minutes of conversation, tells me he has some TV show he has to go finish watching. Daughter #2 wakes up after I finish my first cup of coffee and wants to know when her friend can come over. I tell her brother #2 is watching TV and I haven’t had enough coffee yet to think about friends and entertaining. Finally at 10 a.m. I drag son #1 out of my bed…literally…and wake up daughter #1 who kicks son #1 for trying to wake her up. He strikes back by releasing a toxic methane cloud on his way out of her room. They both go downstairs to join the other two while I make breakfast. By the way, whay can’t we have two different breakfasts? How come I’m only making french toast and not french toast and waffles? (both from scratch of course, because that’s what every mom is supposed to do…no frozen breakfasts on the weekends!).

This is where I loose it because my husband is texting me, my kids expect me to do everything for them and NO ONE bothers to even say thank you or please! Am I the only one that this shit happens to?