Friday, December 5, 2008

Choosing the marathon over the sprint

(pic - me on Melanie's heels, knocking off marathon number 5 in St. George, Utah, 10-4-08)

I've put off blogging since September. Some days it was purposely - what to say? - but most of the time, I simply have been too busy living to chronicle life. That is my dilemma with taking pictures, too - when I am behind the camera, I miss out on the fun! In high school, I journalled about everything. I remember my Dad commenting as I bolted from the table after dinner one night when I was 16, "I hope this is one good book you're writing." I hope so too, Dad. At that time, I think I did a lot more commenting on my uneventful life than actually living it. Now I live it and comment much more rarely.

Events of late include: 1) my marathon on October 4 (3:45:46, qualified for the 2010 Boston Marathon by a hair!); 2) our subsequent week-long camping trip in Zion National Park; 3) a charter school conference I prepared and ran a booth for on behalf of Ironbody and their Fittest Kids program ( in early November; 4) our family's Thanksgiving feast, for which I roasted a turkey AND a chicken (just in case!) and made stuffing and gravy and a 2-layer birthday cake for my parents which looked a mess but tasted fantastic; 5) my close friend Alisa Lyon's wedding to her new husband Eric Sloan which I had the priviledge of attending tonight AND at which I read a marriage blessing; and 6) Open Door Fellowship's Run for the Fund 5K which I've been helping organize for the past month and which takes off tomorrow morning at 9:00 am. Which means it is idiotic of me to be sitting up at almost midnight tonight blogging about all this, because I have to be at the park with the banners and boxes of fruit at 6:30 am, but hey, to get all of the above done I have not made long sleep nights a priority of late so why start now?

I've enjoyed all of those exciting accomplishments (I'm very confident the race tomorrow will be an accomplishment and not a disaster). I am sad, however, that in accomplishing all of the above, I have missed out on some important things. The little things. Things like quiet times on the couch with my Bible and journal, or just a good book. Things like date nights with my husband, which got replaced by nights spent side by side at our computers, as I designed T-shirt logos and marketing text and business cards and banners and looked up stuffing recipes. I've missed things like reading to my kids and playing card games or chasing them around the house, replacing that time with running around town like a mad thing. I've been trying to fit my running and other training around turkey and perfect wedding present shopping trips and visits to the park and visits to Grandma's care home and client training and holiday parties, as the days get shorter and colder. And my husband and kids, sometimes patiently and sometimes exasperatedly, put up with all this craziness.

So I ask myself, is this being a renaissance mom? Or am I just insanely busy? These are all wonderful things I've signed up for, but is that a good enough excuse? When do I cross the line from productive to unproductive busy-ness: is the difference dictated solely by the sheer number of things on my calendar, or by my emotions surrounding the activities, good or bad? or by the stress my husband and kids may or may not show, or by my lack of quality time with them? Or all of the above? I thought of my mom, who in classic mode shuffles away from hours spent rough-housing with her grandchildren insisting, "But I had so much fun!" And she spends the next week on a heating pad on the floor, recuperating. When do we draw the line?

I guess I have to keep redrawing the boundary every day. On days I notice my back beginning to spasm, or the short temper I have with my poor kids just being kids, and have to draw the line that day - I will choose not to mop the floor, for instance, or run that extra errand, or stay up late on the computer that night. Or perhaps, as I have recently, I will notice the trend of not reading to my kids or getting dates with my husband, and I will turn off the phone and put off Audrey's nap for another half hour to spend with them, or actually call a sitter for the much needed time with the man I married twelve years ago, and remember what it was like to pay attention to him alone for a little while.

I watched my friend Alisa get married tonight. It was beautiful and yet I knew, from comments she'd made, that many of the beautiful touches were so inexpensive - the dress found on deep discount, her shoes at a closeout sale, no bevy of bridesmaids in ugly dresses, little name cards marking our dinner spots made by her friend, and an intimate group of less than thirty people witnessing the event altogether. It was beautiful, and I knew that she got it. She figured out that balance for herself as she planned her wedding, and spent more on the week of honeymoon than she did on the wedding. She put more effort into getting to know her man over the past few months, and making sure he was a man of God worth spending their life together, and planning the rest of their life together, than worrying over long attendee lists or the color of the invitation envelopes. She gets it. Not that I am surprised, she is a smart girl. God's put her through a lot to get to this place. I only hope that I get it, too. That I continue to make wise choices, as she has, about my investment of time in the long haul, not the short dash. The marathon, not the sprint.

Hmm, that's a good thing. I've never been a good sprinter.

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