Moving forward

For Linda, who requested I write on this subject –

When I was in jr. high and high school I looked forward to practices for every sport every day.  I was slightly lost without them.  I didn’t know what people did with all their free time.

I wasn’t a stereo-typical teen in the sense that I had no desire to sit in my room and brood about the fact that the world wasn’t fair, boys didn’t like me, or that I didn’t have the latest fashion.  I spent every single day talking to my parents and siblings.  I adored school and I adored sports practices.  The day of my last senior year volleyball game I remember sinking to the floor and sobbing.  The season was over and everything was going to change.  This is the first time I remember noticing the seasons of life.

Then, I became an adult.  I got a job.  My time available to play sports shrunk significantly.  Then, I got married.  My time shrunk again.  And, then I had kids.  I stopped playing all together.  I missed it, but seldom had time to think about it.  I had health issues that helped me gain a significant amount of weight and made losing it extremely difficult.  But, all along I LOVED sports.  I never stopped loving them just because I wasn’t able to play.

When the twins were born I heard about a volleyball league I could play in.  I decided I’d go try it out.  I was nervous.  I was 10 years older, overweight, and hadn’t played.  But, it was sorta like riding a bike.  When I got there it just came back.  I didn’t move as fast.  My minimal vertical had basically disappeared. But, I had the basics.  The fundamentals that I used to be annoyed my coaches were harping on – those were still there.  And, I’ve been playing volleyball ever since.  I found it difficult to play in the league with the people who were beginners.  They didn’t even know the rules and were laughing like the sport was just for fun!  And, the upper division were all young and fit.  The guys were giants and spiking it so hard that if it hit me in the face there was a good chance I’d be knocked out.  But, I’ve managed to play in both levels and figure out a balance.  I’m not the best.  But, I’m having fun and being active.

This year life has gotten in the way of our league.  But, I intend to change that.  I want to be able to play and enjoy my time.  I refuse to stop being active.  The good news is that I haven’t stopped completely.  I’ve been coaching.  When I leave practices I’m sweaty and disgusting.  The girls probably think I’m old and crazy, but I don’t care.  I love playing and I love being there teaching these girls to love it.  The important thing I keep reminding myself about is that I don’t have to be the best.  I don’t have to play at the level I did when I was 17 and 18.  I just have to keep going.  I have to keep myself moving.  Sometimes that means I take baby steps and do the easy stuff.  Sometimes that means I swallow my pride and do the hard stuff even though I’m positive everyone else around me thinks I’m ridiculous.  It’s not about what they think.  It’s about me doing something I love and trying my best to keep myself healthy despite health issues that make weight loss annoying, despite time crunches, despite french fries.  I’m still going and I’m going to keep going.

If you feel like you are too old, too fat, too slow, too whatever – stop labeling yourself with things that do not help you.  Start labeling yourself as things like tenacious, persistent, and hard working.  Don’t waste your life hiding until you’re perfect for what you want to do.  Do what you want until you’re the best you can be at it.



When things were mine

I couldn’t wait to get married and have my own house.  It was the only dream I had as a high school girl.  I had no desire to have a high powered career or to see the world.  I wanted to hold babies and take care of my husband.  I wanted to be able to do what I wanted, when I wanted and have all the ‘freedom’ being an adult brings.

My husband and I got married young.  We were told we were destined to fail.  We didn’t care about what people said or thought.  We just wanted to be together doing our own thing.  We found out we were expecting our first baby about six months after we were married.  We were happy.  We wanted to be young parents.  I don’t think either of us would change much of what we’ve done – even if we could.  The one thing I have realized as the years have passed is that maybe I should have listened a little more to the people warning me when we were getting married so young.  I mean, obviously I would have needed to add that ‘grain of salt’ to their speeches, but they may have had a bit of truth in what they were saying.

I heard people telling us stuff about having kids.  But, I didn’t listen to much of it.  I’d always wanted to be a mom and I was sure that was enough.  The truth is – being a mom is hard work.  It’s hard from the time you find out you’re pregnant and you no longer own your own body and it keeps being hard at least until they are 14 (which is where we are in this stage of the game).  True, the hard is a different sort of hard than I’d ever experienced before, but still, hard.

When I found out I was expecting I was so excited.  As things moved along, l  was still excited, but I started to notice me ‘losing bits of me’ along the way.

  • First, it was my food.  I couldn’t eat what I wanted or things I knew I used to like.  My favorite food became the worst possible suggestion and would make my stomach sick just thinking about it.
  • Second, my body.  My hips got wider, my whole body began to fill out in places I had no idea it would fill out.  My feet grew a size and a half.
  • Third,  my sleep.  I began to lay awake at night thinking about the baby I would soon hold, and then worry about things that he/she would do when they got older.  I spent hours of sleepless nights worrying that my baby wouldn’t have hair and praying that God bless my sweet baby with dark brown hair before the baby was born. (Silly, I know).
  • Fourth, my emotions.  I began to cry at movies, over songs, dreams would make me wake up crying.
  • Fifth, my dreams.  I no longer cared about maybe some day coaching a Olympic team or figuring a way to get my husband and me back across the ocean to Europe or whatever.  My dreams changed.  They were filled with desires for my children.

It probably was a slow transformation, but it just seemed so quick.  The strange thing was that I didn’t mind all that stuff changing.  It was just surprising that it was.

Once my son was born I was shocked how much time and energy really went in to caring for another small helpless human.  This sweet little bundle still changed things I didn’t think he would and even though we’d promised ourselves we wouldn’t be crazy parents who change everything once their child is born  – there were just things that had to change for us to be parents.  I assume that people told me these things, but I refused to listen.

We no longer went for long leisurely dinners at nice places.  We no longer stayed up all night watching the Late Show, the Late Late Show or anything else that was on.   My trips to town were planned around meals and nap schedules.  My time had finally been taken from me.

Anyone who has a baby (or who has had a baby in the past) can relate to the ‘no privacy’ preference for children.  It doesn’t matter what I was doing or where I was – my kids needed to talk to me right then AND they wanted to talk face to face.  My poor husband hates that my kids still have conversations with me through a partially cracked bathroom door, that I allow the kids to wake me up with questions on Saturday morning, that when I go to take a shower often a small voice will yell from the other side to share important information or ask questions(such as “I just saw a green bug by a leaf.  He was sorta shiny but he had lots of legs.  Will he bite me?”).

Now, our kids are slightly older, but I notice the privacy that they request has no bearing on the privacy they give.  Often I’d have to say that I get the short end of that deal.  The twins still try to talk to me as close to face to face as possible no matter what I’m doing or what room I’m in.  My privacy is gone for several years yet.  I don’t really mind.  I don’t really have much that is worth being private about.  I know I will miss all the questions and important stories that are shared now.  I just find it interesting that it was such a fast process.  I also find it interesting that I don’t miss any of the things people said I would so far.  I think God gives us all different circumstances to keep us on our toes.