Wednesday, September 12, 2012

More On Time

I asked my students yesterday about their memories of September 11.  They talked about being in third grade and their schools being shut down, watching it on television over and over again, their parents racing to come pick them up.

Jesus.  I remember like yesterday sitting in the living room on Vine St., smack in the middle of my twenties, watching the news all morning, followed by days of panic and sadness.

While my now-adult students were in elementary school.

Time flies.

Sentimental All of a Sudden

Pretty much every other moment I just want to grab my kids and hold them in one spot and prevent them from growing up one inch, one minute more.  Alternating moments are spent trying to help them (push them?) to grow up right.  I've spent plenty of time being an annoyed and harried parent, spread too thin and not guided enough by love.  I think that has really been changing these last few months, and now I wish I could go back and do so much differently.

This guy was in the middle of the floor when I got home.

The old me would have just seen another mess to be cleaned up, I think.  Now I see an artifact of my kids' fleeting childhoods.  Another freaking paradox to contend with.

I should mention that I'm able to be in love a little more now because 1) we have a cleaning lady 2) we are in therapy every other minute fighting to make our marriage work and 3) my tenure package is in.  The material matters.  Having a bit more time for love, for loosening, really helps.  Not that I couldn't have done better.  I could have.  But I could have done worse, too.  We all need help sometimes.

My Brother, 33

My grandma Evans, 99, passed a way a few weeks ago.  Which stinks, except it meant that I got to spend some time with my family, and could celebrate my brother's birthday with him.  I love all my brothers, but J.B. is the one I spent the most time growing up with.  We're good friends now, and I love him with all my heart.  Happy birthday, J.B.!

First Day of School

Third Grade, First Grade

Us, 10

Nolie, 6

Wild West Relay

Leg 1.  It was really windy.  So windy that I felt like the breath was being sucked out of my mouth before I could pull it down into my lungs.  I was so anxious that I wouldn't be able to keep running because I hadn't trained like I should have.  Instead I had spent a lot of time figuring out whether or not life as I knew it was over (it was, thank goodness).  But it went fine.  Life and the race went fine.  I came in a bit under time.  Winded and flushed, but in.

2nd Leg.  The long one, almost ten miles.  3 miles up, dirt roads, 7 miles flying straight down.  Amazing views.  Gorgeous.  Felt good, went fast.  8 miles in had a sense of euphoria, but also the wooziness that I now recognize as my body malfunctioning.  Came in to the finish, again a little under time, thought I felt okay.  Then the vomiting started.  Felt terrible for the next eight hours and hogged an entire bench in the van because sitting up just wasn't an option.

Leg 3.  No way I was going to be able to do it.  I still had vomit on my shoes and it was the middle of the night and I couldn't find my glasses much less my running shoes and it was freezing.  But I didn't want to let someone else take my leg and everyone was sleeping and exhausted.  There was talk about cheating, about letting me out of the van to walk 100 yards and then picking me up again.  It's not like we're going to win anything with eight people instead of twelve anyway.  But I don't like the sound of that.  So I walk one mile.  The moon is bright, the air is cool, and I start to feel better.  Woozy and very out of it--I think the moon and I had a conversation at one point--but one mile added to another was two, and then three, and then four, and finally I came in at five.  Everyone was still sleeping, but I felt better, drove us to the next exchange, and then finally passed out, not nauseous, until daylight.

Last leg.  Still feeling up and down.  Talking to myself a lot about when to push it and when not, since that's part of what gets me into this mess.  Everyone else has done so well and I was the weakest link.  I can't get any food down, though, and the last leg is six miles straight up Rabbit Ears Pass.  Lisa offers to trade with me, and though I hate it, I agree.  I take her four miles and half-walk, half-run them.

Finally, done.  So much of it sucked.  I wasn't prepared and the worst thing I could image happening happened.

But I would do it again.  Totally.  Because of the people in all these pictures, and because sometimes we need to fight these kinds of battles and figure out some things about ourselves.