Monday, September 30, 2013

Chat Anyone???

Today I learned that despite winning the senior superlative of "Most Talkative" of my high school senior class, that talking is a talent all its own and communicating is the key to humanity. 

So when your friend of 15 years calls and leaves a message for the fourth time saying, "Mary, you have got to change your schedule around and schedule in some time to talk to me", you get on it and call her as you take the dog on his nightly walk.  And when she can't talk just then you keep at it until you connect because those things matter.

And when your sister calls you on her way home from the airport after an enormously long flight home from Thailand and being jet lagged and exhausted says, "Talk to me.  Keep me awake until I get to my house."  You stop what you are doing or at least modify it enough to think of subjects and topics interesting enough to energize her mind instead of putting her to sleep.  Because this is the same sister you shared a room with from age 2-14 and talking was as much a tool to putting one another to sleep as it was to disclose your deepest darkest secrets.  And knowing the difference matters.

And when you finally join the age of technology and embrace texting as a form of communication, along with it's logging of texts, it can both surprise you and make perfect sense that your most texted friend is a woman who could be your mother in age but is still one of your closest friends because of her fierce loyalty, love and ability to be ridiculous and laugh with you while sitting in a car until 2am.  And because you see each other so regularly she is the one you can text or call and jump right into "I just want to quit" and it makes perfect sense to her without hearing the back story because she already knows it. 

And when you call another local "bestie" after not talking for almost a week to see how she is and tell her about your crazy week and hear the details of hers with details that make you feel so vulnerable you might not share them so willingly with most any other friend, she says I was starting to wonder if you were mad at me, which seems ridiculous because you love her to no end.  She inspires and amazes you. 

But, because you may just have another best friend across the country from you who you see for two weeks every summer and talk to maybe once every six months and that's just fine too, you realize that the power of silence is almost more meaningful than the power of words sometimes.  And knowing when to use each and with what person is what makes for a good communicator.

Because even if I was most talkative, I'm still working on communicating perfectly. But, I know that my relationships with people are some of my most prized possessions, so it's worth the effort.  And although I'm pretty sure each of you know it, I want to say, I will love you guys forever.  I'm different and better because you are in my life.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Zap...Goes My Energy

Sometimes on a Friday night at the end of a long week,
that's been filled with five kids and their sports,
activities, clubs, events, teams, etc...
and my friends are texting me about plans of going out,
all I can think is - No, thanks. 
It sounds fun, awesome even, but I am too exhausted. 
This single parenting bit is not for the faint of heart. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Whitings Can Do Hard Things

Whitings can do hard things!  It's a mantra I tell my kids all the time.  It's practically our family motto.  You see can't is a word not allowed in our house.  We encourage our kids to ask us or other "experts" when they feel discouraged, "What can I do?"  This takes their can't to an active process of working towards can.  Feeling like I needed to follow my same advice, I embarked on my own adventure this past summer. 

It all officially started on June 5th.  My friend had been trying to talk me into a half marathon for a week or so.  June 5th is National Running Day.  She made me aware that to register for the Philly Rock n' Roll half was in September and would be $20 cheaper if I registered that day.  Some late night texting and an approaching deadline made my decision for me right before midnight.  I was in.  I hadn't run this long for at least a decade, but I worked out regularly, ran somewhat consistently and knew that this might be the thing to help me get past my health plateau that I had hit.

Excitement was my first emotion.  I love trying new things.  Then started the training and finding a 12 week training routine, because that was how long until the race.  Group runs where I was always huffing and puffing took some of the excitement away and filled me with what did I get myself into.  I recruited another runner partner to make us a foursome instead of threesome.  I ran with each of these girls (Jess, JoAnn, and Christie) independently or in groups many times.  In the midst of summer and vacation plans we go off schedule and I was doing a lot more solo running, if at all while on vacation.  I struggled to refind my love of this idea after vacation.  My lonely long runs were sometimes exhausting and filled with boredom. 

Christie charged me through this with a plan to just do the distance to prove I could.  We did and that was enough to kick start my confidence.  After that training got better again.  I did more friend running and learned to appreciate my solo runs.  On race weekend, I felt great.  Not nervous at all.  I knew I could do this.  I had already proven that at least three times in training running over the required 13.1 miles.  My training had really started coming together.  I had let myself off the hook of setting a time goal beyond 2h30m.  About an 11 1/2 minute mile pace.  I wanted this to be fun not stressful.  And so on race morning we lined up, started, race and completed my own personal mission of proving more often than not what we think we can't do, we indeed can even if it means running about 400 practice miles.

And overall I suffered nothing more than some growing pains of developing mental and physical discipline, some blisters (regular and blood) and I have a wonky toenail that I'm still pretty sure will eventually fall off.  The race is over and I'm already looking for the next one.  Whitings not only can do hard things but we end up turning them into easy things too.

Race Start Line

 Race Finish Line

Friday, September 6, 2013

Keeping It Real

In the words of Alexander, this morning was "a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day" or morning as the case may be.  The long and the short of it was the kids were tired, I was tired, and as I tried to correct their behavior I probably wasn't the most patient.  And realizing that and having already missed the bus, I sat our family down for an impromptu family meeting.  I explained my concerns and frustrations and asked them to help me come up with solutions for our family team to succeed.  Instead they expressed their concerns and frustrations which included but were not limited to, they feel like I don't love them and that I am mean. 

Begin movie sequence of rapidly deteriorating family meeting where everyone is crying, nothing is getting resolved and school will soon be starting.  I cut my loses, we pray as a family and I usher them to the car, feeling totally defeated.  The kids want no good bye kisses or hugs, angry door slamming ensues and I feel like a failure, emotionally - logically I know otherwise.  I return a Redbox movie that we have apparently had for 2 weeks and never finished watching - it was that bad, return overdue library books and commit to declutter my life.  Because in my family, my number one priority, things are slipping through the cracks.

I rush change to go help in at the school where they are expecting me three minutes ago.  I enter to the cheer of the teacher and her hugs on how much she loves me and I almost loose it.  She asks how I am and I answer honestly with, "ehhh".  She gives me a questioning glance which I respond with everyone at our house has cried this morning.  "Have you cried yet" she asks.  Oh yeah.  She laughs, senses my need to let it go and we continue on.  I love her for that.  Small children will not understand why I am crying at 8am.  At the end of volunteering, Issac walks me down to the office to check out.  He now loves me so much and doesn't want me to leave.  We've swung opposite pendulum as time has helped him realize I'm not trying to be mean.  More boring details, but several of the office staff notice the unusual behavior and once he is gone inquire as to what is going on.

Full mental breakdown ensues.  I'm hugged, given words of encouragement, sympathized with and told to go shopping, for a bike ride or do something to spoil myself.  I love that the school staff and faculty are as much my friends as anything.  I leave feeling marginally better.  I come home to hit the daily grind of life when I decide to play the piano for a bit - my soothing balm.  The song Our Savior's Love jumps out at me.  As I play this familiar song thinking the words as I play, the phrase collides into my mind "Loud may the sound of hope ring till all doubt departs" and I know that Heavenly Father has bestowed one of his tender mercies on my conflicted mind.  Peace settles over me, I make the decision to hear the loud toll of hope's bell and purge the negativity with a blog post.  It's over, I'm done and I know more than ever that Heavenly Father does hear my prayers and answers them.  Life is once again good!