To everything – turn, turn, turn
There is a season – turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose under heaven
The weather is getting cooler, the days are getting shorter, and school is about to start. I’ve also returned to work after staying home with my younger daughter for 2.5 years and she will be soon starting preschool. My husband has been away for three weeks, and after living in Oregon for 13 years, my mother has finally visited me. Of course, it only took for me to buy the airfare for her to come (yes, there is resentment in this sentence), but that is a post that needs to be saved for another day, or year, or decade. On top of that I am still in marathon training for the Marine Corps Marathon.
Long Live Summer
I’ve never shied away from declaring how much I love Summer and dislike Fall and Winter (and sometimes Spring). I don’t care for falling leaves, boots, scarves, or anything pumpkin. Ha, I sound like Grumpy Cat right now, but there is just something about short, cold, gray days that give me so much anxiety! When it’s bright and sunny outside, I want to jump out of bed and break out into song and dance like a musical on television. On the other hand, when it is cold, windy, gray, and dark out, it takes so much mental and physical energy to remove the blankets off my body. In fact, I am feeling so much anxiety thinking about it right now. With eight weeks remaining of marathon training, I am hoping I can continue my training streak and not miss a single workout ahead considering the days are getting shorter.
My 11-year-old is starting Middle School!!! This new endeavor – for me and for her – makes me as anxious as the change of seasons. Middle School broke my spirit, and I am concerned it will not do the my daughter’s own spirit. To this day, I don’t have an exact reason why middle was so challenging for me, but I know I entered middle school as a happy, fearless, and enthusiastic 12-year-old, and exited as a moody, anxious, and self-conscious 15-year-old. If you are wondering about my age, when I first moved to this country, I was placed in the first grade as a seven-year-old because I had no school records and could not read or write in either Spanish (my native language) or English You can read more about my school memories before moving to this country here. Anyhow, I can only speculate as to why my spirit was shattered into a million pieces, and it is my intent to be available for my daughter and help her navigate the social nuances of adolescence. While I am completely aware I will have many moments where I will falter and she will believe I don’t understand what she is going through, I am hoping she will look back and appreciate my effort.
Independence and Learning the Rules
My soon-to-be three-year-old is stubborn, strong-willed, and ornery, but she is just as sweet, funny, and witty! She too is beginning a new journey in her life; one that includes navigating the social world where she can be independent yet learn to get along with others. I loved spending time with her while at home, but honestly, I felt like I was holding her back. She is so funny, and so smart, and because I was so unstructured, she could have learned so much more than what I offered. I know, I know, she’s only two, but it seems like nowadays, infants are born knowing how to walk, read, and play the piano. With me, she learned how to use an iphone, and ipad, watched every single Disney movie and learned all the songs on the radio. My concern for her is how she is going to handle preschool. Apparently, the school expects for three-year-olds to wipe their own butts! Their arms can barely reach their backs let alone their butts! I am also concerned about her orneriness and like any other mother, I want for her to be happy, kind, confident, intelligent, and all the good wishes a mother prays and hopes for.
I’m back at work, but it is only part-time. This means I am either going to be stellar juggling my mother and professional duties, or completely mediocre. I don’t really want to get into the mommy wars, because I don’t have an answer as to what is best. For the first six months I stayed home with my daughters, I loved it. The house was organized, the laundry was washed, folded, and stored away on the same day, and I felt total bliss not having to do the morning rat-race. But things changed. Because I was new to a small town, I did not know anyone. The only adult interaction was with my husband, and I pined for his presence and felt so lonely when he took off for work. The chores that I excelled in the first six months became “chores.” It was as if the only way to measure my self-worth for the day was whether the house was cleaned or not, whether dinner was ready or not and whether the little one was clean or not. So I became disinterested and I longed for something more. I wanted to solve problems that did not involves spills, stains, or tantrums. Plus, I also wanted to earn my own money. I wanted to buy unncesessayy items without worrying how much it would put a dent on the budget. My husband has never begrudged or made me feel like his money was only his, so it had nothing to do with feeling financially oppressed. On the contrary, my husband has always been nothing but supportive of my wants and needs, but there is a sense of freedom and empowerment when a paycheck is made out to your name. It’s like you have put on your superhero cape and you have saved the world from a natural disaster. I knew didn’t want to go back to the full 40+ hours, but I definitely wanted to be a part of the working community. Well, patience has paid off, because not only am I returning to work exercising the profession I invested in (School Psychology), I am only doing it part-time, giving me the opportunity to balance my work life with my personal life.
As I was typing this, my husband walked into the door. After three LONG weeks, he is home. I’ve missed him so much, and as each day goes by, I feel so blessed knowing how fortunate I am to have not only a loving husband, but a formidable father as well. He is the father I never had and the husband I dreamed of. While he was away, my mother has been helping me out a lot. Despite our differences, I know my mom is doing the best she can. We are not close by any means, but perhaps my time with her (she will spend a total of six weeks with me) will help heal some of the wounds I have been carrying around for years. Because I cannot change who she is and what she thinks, the healing has to occur with me alone.
Marine Corps Marathon
The negative voices of self-doubt have been present the last two weeks of marathon training. I’ve not written about my training much for fear of disappointment like the one I experienced during Eugene, but I am still very much loyal to my runs. This past Saturday, I had an 18 miler, and it was definitely challenging. My legs ached, and my mind kept wandering negative thoughts, “What if I do terrible?” “What if I get hurt again?” “You are so slow.” “You are not a real runner.” Anyhow, I had to move each foot in front of the other and wrestle the demons that feast on weaknesses to prevent it from letting it get to me. I am officially eight weeks away and don’t feel as strong as I felt for Eugene eight weeks out, but I am still giving it all I’ve got. I don’t want to put much thought into this anymore in order to keep the voices of doubt way back in the dark area of the brain.
Are you looking forward to the change of Season? Do the shorter days affect your mood? What is your fall race schedule?