I admire runners. I love their focus, their intensity, their stamina. I find it amazing that they get out and hit the pavement daily, no matter the weather or the fact that they have agonizing shin splints. I see them and think, "What dedication!" But as much as I admire someone who runs, I know that I’ll never be a runner, and the reason may surprise you. Most people would think that I’m too “old” to start running (37 is a rather advanced age to try a new sport, no?). Some would say that I lack the true dedication that one needs to gain the title of Runner, but they would all be wrong. I don’t run because it’s not a “happy sport.” Have you ever seen a smiling runner? A runner who looked like they were actually enjoying themselves? Don’t get me wrong, deep down I KNOW they are loving their run, that their endorphins are pulsing through their bodies, pushing them through that final mile, but I would just love to see them look a bit happier doing it. If I was to run, I would channel Phoebe Buffay from Friends. Now that’s a fun way to run (seriously, if you haven’t seen it, check it out on YouTube).
That’s why I ride my bike. Bike riding is a fun way to exercise. You can listen to fun music and “bike dance.” I love to see how far I can ride with no hands, or coast with my feet stuck out to the sides like I did when I was a kid. Heck, I’d even have colorful tassels on my handlebars, but my boys had to draw the line somewhere. A school was recently built on my street and I ride with my boys to and from school. I love hopping on my powder-blue beach cruiser in the morning. My two older boys’ laughter rings through the air as we ride. My youngest relaxes in the bike stroller as his mommy somehow manages not to crash while singing and dancing on that mile-long trek to school. It’s just an awesome way to start my day.
I really cherish the morning bike ride...most of the time. Today, I didn’t cherish it. I wanted to throat punch it. My day started out with a diaper blowout to end all diaper blowouts. I had to strip three beds of their sheets! Apparently, The Poop Assaulter felt the need to say “good morning” by cuddling with each family member individually in their own bed. Thanks, kid. By the time I was done stripping beds and airing out the house, I didn’t have time to pack lunches. So all I heard was griping about how gross the school lunch was. We were running behind and my beautiful bike wasn’t calling my name, so I decided to just follow my bike-riding boys in my car. I strapped the baby in his car seat and hissed and sighed as I drove 3 mph down the road. In my huffiness, I didn’t notice that my middle boy was pedaling with all of his might but wasn’t going anywhere. He finally toppled over and just looked pitifully at me. The poor kid’s chain fell off. With a roll of my eyes, I got out of the car and joined him on the ground. I flipped the bike over and got to work. Daddy had recently oiled the chain so there was grease everywhere. I had to constantly wipe my brow because, well, it’s Florida, and I ended up with grease all over my face. My son started to giggle which made me start to giggle. Here I was on the side of the road in pajama bottoms, a tank top (bra? What bra?) and I’m covered in grease, cracking up hysterically. I must have looked like a lunatic! My son looked at me and said, “Mommy, you can do anything. Other moms would be running around like this (throws his hands in the air and starts running around in circles screaming) but not you. You at least try.” It was in that moment that my son reminded me of something that I learned long ago, probably at about his age, and that is that all you have to do is TRY. Try your best and if you get super messy along the way, that’s okay. But at least give it a shot.
That’s what motherhood is like. We’re constantly trying to get it right and, sadly, that can leave us feeling defeated and not “enough.” But you know what? We get back up and do it all over again the next day. And the day after that. And the day after that. It’s what we do because God blessed us with an unnerving, unending, unconditional love for our families. So great is this love that we’re going to keep on trying until we feel we’ve gotten it right. And boy, is it a messy job! We’re always picking something up, whether it's toys or the pieces of a child’s broken heart, but we keep at it. My new motherhood goal is to truly enjoy the messiness that is involved with being a mom. Next time I’m scrubbing the dishes, perhaps a soap sud war will break out. Instead of grumbling while cleaning, maybe I’ll remix the “Clean Up” song Calvin Harris-style. There are so many little ways to make the sometimes mundane parts of motherhood fun. I want to get my heart back to that childlike state where trying new things is awesome, coloring outside of the lines is embraced, and the gooiness of finger paint is euphoria. Now that sounds like a fun way to be a mommy!
Brooke is warrior mama to three rambunctious boys, wife to an honest, hardworking man, daughter to one of the greatest humans our great God ever created, and friend to anyone who talks to her. She's has been dubbed "the most inappropriate friend." She lives for a good belly laugh and to bring laughter to others - laughter feeds her soul. She loves the outdoors (not like hiking or rock climbing - she's not that cool - more like standing in the sunshine listening to nature!) and she finds God in the simple things.