We have hit that stage. Whenever Chet doesn’t get what he wants, he flings himself backwards. He wails. He cries. Sometimes he tries to hit or bite or pull hair. He knows what he wants. After an exhausting evening, both boys tucked into bed, Christian and I just stared at each other. How does one small, almost 19 month old cause so much disruption. The house is in a constant state of clutter. Our nerves are in a constant state of waiting: waiting to see if he will have another melt down. Maybe we aren’t challenging him enough, Christian suggested in a half-joking way.
I think there might be some truth in his joke.
On Sunday, I set out to run 8 miles. It has been a long time since I’ve seen this number on my garmin. I headed to the trails fueled by my fabulous, pain-free, care-free, fast 10k on Wednesday night. A mile into the run my hip was aggravated. My stride became stiff and rigid. I wanted to fling myself backwards. I wanted to wail. I wanted to cry. I just wanted my hip to be better. How can one tiny SI joint cause so much disruption in my running? My running has become fragmented at best. My nerves are in a constant state of waiting: waiting to see if my hip will behave on each run. At mile 2.5, I sent my husband a text. I was ready to throw in the towel. I wanted to yell I surrender. I give up. I’m done.
I think there might be some truth in my confession.
After each melt down, Chet picks himself up off the ground. He moves on to whatever stole his interest. Sometimes he curls up in my lap. Sometimes he wants his milk. He reengages with the world, and life is good. I don’t recover nearly as quickly. It took two days, two miles of today’s four mile run and a serious chat with myself to pick myself up off the ground. After my melt down, I ran two more carefree, fun, easy (and fast) miles. I drank some water. I’m back in touch with reality.
The truth in Christian’s joking suggestion is there. Chet probably does want more engagement. At the end of a long day, the mad rush to cook dinner, give baths (showers for the older child), frantically clean up, take a moment to breathe, and make time to play doesn’t always tilt in Chet’s favor. Chet is growing up and is one member in a family of four. Sometimes dinner wins out over playing in the backyard. Sometimes chatter with Cole wins over playing trucks. Sometimes it does favor Chet. We have time for walks and soccer and popcorn parties in the small window of time that is our evening. It’s a balance I will never master. In a perfect world, Chet would be engaged in all those things but that is not reality. Sometimes life just has to be lived.
The truth in my confession is also there. I do surrender. I have been chasing a marathon. I have plans to run the Richmond Marathon in November, and I know I’m capable of running it fast. I also have a hip that is slow to heal. I’ve been caught in the frantic head space of balancing a healing hip and wanting it all right now. I want to run. I want my hip to feel good. I want to go fast. Every run isn’t going to tilt in my favor either. Some runs are exactly what I needed, and other runs are a reminder of why I loved those other runs. I have to surrender to the entire process. I give up on running the perfect run. I’m back to my running reality of letting each run come to me.
Don’t let these temper tantrums fool you. Sometimes you need to fling yourself backwards, wail and cry to let go of an expectations you had for yourself. Somewhere in the middle of that melt down, you’ll let go of those false expectations that were holding you back from enjoying life. These temper tantrums help you release frustrations and disappointments. When they are done and out of your system, you will fly towards where you belong.
To clarify, I haven’t given up on running Richmond or running fast. I’m just changing my approach. Each run can not be about training for a specific race. This doesn’t work for me. Instead each run is about honoring myself, my body, and the joy I get from running. This is what is going to carry me through my running life.