Come with me.

The sweetest moment happened to me in the early hours of Sunday morning.  Two days later, it’s still making me smile, so I want to share it here with you.

I had my alarm set to wake me at 6:30am, wanting to get in a run before the rest of my household was up, so as not to miss precious weekend family time.  In my mind, I was planning for a fast 8km, much of it at tempo pace, as I’m doing a 5K race on Friday and haven’t tested much speed since my shortened half marathon four weeks ago.  I was looking forward to the glassy lake, music in my earbuds, and to feel the burn in my lungs.  This run had been scheduled into my online calendar many days prior, and as I often do before a run, I had visualized my route and mentally prepared for the welcomed discomfort that a hard effort brings.

My alarm beeped softly, and sunlight was already streaming into the bedroom, a nice change from the cold, dark Winter pre-dawn runs only a few months prior.  My four-year-old daughter was snuggled up against me; as I’ve mentioned before, since our move last September she’s taken to crawling into our bed halfway through the night- something I cherish and know won’t last forever.  As I snuck out from underneath her embrace, her sleepy eyes started to open.  “Where are you going?” she whispered.  “I’m going for a run,” I replied. “Go back to sleep, it’s too early to get up.”

Now, she often stirs when I head to the gym at 5:30am and a simple “go back to sleep” puts her right back into dreamland.  But this time, her eyes welled up and as she laid back down I could see her little mouth turning into a soft whimper.  She began to suck on her fingers for comfort, something she’s done since she was a newborn.  She was crying because I was leaving.  My heart broke.

“Do you want to come with me?” I asked. “Yes,” she nodded and pulled back the covers, her bedhead on full display and her little body still warm from slumber.  In less than five minutes we were out the door, with a Chariot full of breakfast snacks and a little girl in pyjamas.  It was a sunny Summer morning, and because we were so early, we got to enjoy quiet streets and sleepy houses, with bunnies and robins abound.

I changed my run plan from push-the-pace to savour-this-moment, and savour it I did.  We did that 8km along the lake, as I had originally planned (and we got the glassy lake that I love so much), but my heart rate stayed low and my heartstrings pulled high.  I stopped to open snack containers, to play at the park, and to point out the geese and the paddleboarders.  We talked about every thought that popped into her head, every bike that rode by, and every seemingly-mundane thing that fascinates a four-year-old.  It was quite possibly the best run I’ve ever had, and my runner’s high is still going.

Running with my kids is not new- there are thousands of miles on my running stroller I’m sure, and they are both very used to joining me.  But this time was different because our family is at such a time of transition.  You see, this smart, inquisitive little girl is heading to full-time Kindergarten in September, and I’m having a hard time with it (see my previous post on the topic).  She’s growing up and gaining independence, and the days of me pushing her in the running stroller, the days of her sobbing to join me on a run, and the days of her sleeping beside me are numbered.  I’m hyper-aware of this the second time around.

Have I mentioned that I’m an emotional sort?  Add in life changes, my children, running, and a glassy lake, and I’m done for.  But my tears were happy ones, they are happy ones; it’s just that sometimes the love and gratitude overwhelm me.

So if you saw a crying mother and a chatty little girl zipping along the lakefront on Sunday, that was us.  “Run fast Mommy,” she said.

I will, sweet girl.  Come with me.


April, May, June

My youngest child is heading off to Junior Kindergarten (JK) in September.  In Ontario, children are registered in JK the year that they turn four.  Kindergarten is a two-year, play-based curriculum, and it became a full-day program across the province in 2014.  So, in just a few months, off she will go to join her brother in the everyday school world.

She’s ready.  I, on the other hand, most certainly am not.

When my son was born in 2009, I chose to take a huge step back from my career.  I had only been in practice for a few years at that point, and it soon became clear that I could not operate a clinic and be at home with my son as much as I wanted to be.  Something had to give, so I sold my clinic in 2010 and have worked as an Independent Contractor, running my business within a business, since then.  In 2013, after my daughter was born, I found my BSSC family and planted my practice roots.  Now here I am, for the first time in seven and a half years, preparing to go back to full-time hours. The chapter of my life with young children at home, a chapter that seemed to stretch endlessly before me, is in fact, coming to a close.

My husband and I have always altered our schedules to work opposite hours so that one of us can be at home with our kids.  For the first three years, that meant just my son and I had our mornings together, and for the last two years it’s been just my daughter and I.  But she and I only have three months left of our girls-only weekdays.  My husband is a teacher, so will be back at home starting in July, as will my son, who is finishing Grade 1.  Just April, May, June, and then the page turns.

They say that the days are long but the years are short.  And they’re right.

Here’s to twelve more weeks of what-shall-we-do-today mornings….


Blizzards and Accomplishments

It was the annual Victoria’s Secret fashion show last week.  Not sure if you watched it, but I did, as I do every year, and this was my view:

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Yes, those are DQ blizzards.  And yes, I realize the irony of watching women with 2% bodyfat parade around in lingerie while downing 800 calories in a single go.  And that’s why I did it.  Because I am about enjoying the simple things in life, like couches and ice cream with my husband.  Because I will never be a Victoria’s Secret model.  Because my body-image has shifted ever-so-slightly over the years.  Because I love blizzards.

I’ve written about my personal struggles with eating disorders, so this isn’t a surprise to many of you.  But the surprising part to me is how my thinking has shifted away from my own struggles, and onto changing those  future struggles for my daughter.  As a mother, I’ve become much more aware of the images that bombard our young girls.  I can now see the damage that photoshop and magazine covers and yes, Victoria’s Secret fashion shows, can do.  Most of us will never be 6 feet tall.  Most of us will never weigh 110lbs.  And yet, skinny is still lauded and valued and praised.  As is height.  And blond hair.  And blue eyes.  And the thing is, I actually have a few of those qualities.  But I don’t have the skinny.  And so my body-dysmorphic thinking only focuses on that.

But instead, I have the strong.

This is a relatively new world for me.  A world where strong is praised and skinny is secondary.  A world where how much you can lift, how fast you can run, how high you can jump, are more important measurements than your 36-24-36.  A world where you can work hard, reach your goals, and keep striving for more.  Where accomplishments are calculated against your own personal bests rather than against external factors that you cannot control.

My three-year-old daughter proudly dressed herself yesterday morning.  When she was done, she went running to find her big brother.  “Look, look,” she squealed, “Look how beautiful I am!  I got dressed all by myself!”  Can you see why her statement is so magical?

Because she measured her beauty based on her accomplishment.

Brilliant.  She thought she was beautiful not because of how she looked, but because of what she could do.

And I’m going to do everything I can to keep it that way.