Monday, May 9, 2011

there's no shortcut home.

i went back to body combat on saturday. i was surprised at how well i did. i think i imagined panting, gasping, dying (or praying to die) by the end. by the end, i was as ready to give 110% to the last track (it's the last standing track before crunches/pushups--which i hate, btw, and even more now that somehow my back is jacked from pregnancy so that reverse crunches, which used to be my favorite, are now INCREDIBLY painful even on a mat--and the instructor always tells us to give it everything we have left, and i always try) as i normally am.  i was throwing punches with the best of them.

now, to be honest, i had to modify the feet a lot. i did a bit of it, but much of it i took down a notch to avoid the whole panting, gasping, dying thing.  i know enough to know when it's enough.  but i was still impressed with myself.

and as we were doing the warmup and i felt heavier and more cumbersome and more, well, clumsy than i had in 37 weeks past, i listened to the lyrics of the song that was playing: "there's no easy way out / there's no shortcut home."

(if you want to both experience a clip from one of the best rocky movies and feel a bit invigorated on this monday, go here to experience the awesome.) 

i thought that was appropriate.  there really isn't any shortcut to the stuff that's good.

that thought has stuck with me this weekend, which was full of good and hard. 

i'll admit that i've been feeling a bit self-pitying of late, somehow thinking that no one knows how hard it is.  i believe i am prone to these bouts of selfishness, until something shakes me out of it.  this weekend, i had some reminders that it really hasn't been long since maggie was born, that i probably am not completely healed yet, and that i should probably cut myself some dang slack.

that said, i have also been reminded that my life is extraordinary, that i am incredibly blessed, and that i have the capacity to do everything that i need or want to do. i also remembered that i am much happier when i am not thinking about myself all of the time. trying to find the easy way out, for example, just brings unhappiness to me.

that's been true in every facet of my life.  when i was working on the dissertation, and i was stuck, i kept hoping that there was some other option other than just to sit down and work hard. 

there wasn't.

when i started losing weight, or was miserable about how big i was, i hoped there was some other option besides counting calories and exercising and putting in hard, disciplined work.

there wasn't.

when i was teaching eight classes, or when i was trying to grade 44 papers in one day last week, or when i was faced with a student who just was superantagonistic, i kept hoping there was another option then just to put my head down and get it done. 

there wasn't.

so i'm not really sure why i would think that this first month or so would be any different. perhaps it's been harder than it needed to be because of circumstances out of our control, but so what? those are the circumstances. sitting around being annoyed about it or thinking how hard it is doesn't do anything to change them.

all it does is change me into something that i don't like.

so last night, when i was having my self-pitying moment, i told musicboy that nothing felt the same, and that that was hard, because it was tough to find something to hold on to.

he reminded me that, actually, i am the same. my personality hasn't changed. my relationship with him hasn't changed, really, at its core. we are adding to it, but all of the things that make us love each other as much as we do are still there. we still make each other laugh. we still find ways to have fun even amid a screaming baby. we still are an extraordinary team.

and he reminded me that our life is pretty awesome.

i went to sleep not completely convinced that i could totally turn it around.  if anything, i believe i lacked faith in myself.  he told me, for example, that i couldn't mess this motherhood thing up. thinking in the abstract, i begged to differ. people mess it up all of the time, i suggested, thinking of all of the tragic stories i've heard and the messed up people who have neglectful mothers in their background.  he said no, YOU can't mess it up. 

as in because i am me. and i am her mom.  and i love her and try to do what's right.

so today, when maggie woke up for her morning feeding, i faced the day differently. somehow, something clicked overnight for me.  i got my baby up from her crib, where she's been sleeping successfully for a few nights now, and i fed her. we listened to some calming death cab for cutie and opened the blinds a little bit and welcomed the day. then i put her down for her nap after about an hour of waketime, and after a couple of attempts, she went to sleep herself in her crib.

i don't think you understand how amazing that is. 

then i came downstairs and i cleaned up the living room and opened the blinds to let the sun in and ate breakfast and got dressed and pumped and put some laundry in and was more productive before 9am than i have been in the entire 4 weeks preceding today.

i don't think you understand how amazing that is.

what's even more amazing is that i feel like i haven't done this. this is the Lord's work, and maggie's development, and all i've done is tried to listen. tried to listen to the small voice that tells me when she's ready to try something new. tried to listen to the small voice that tells me not to worry about what "experts" say. tried to listen to the small voice that tells me when she's tired and when she has gas and what her cries mean. tried to listen to my own instincts, which are most certainly the whisperings of the Spirit as well.

today just feels different.  and i know that it certainly won't be easy, and it certainly won't be a cake walk, but i also know that looking at it as a gift, every day that i have with my girl and with my husband and with this life that i have created, and looking for ways that i can serve them makes it a lot easier.

there may be no easy way out, but i think there's an easier way.  i think i'm finding it.

today feels important. today feels like we've turned a corner.  today feels like a day when love and peace and purpose trumps fatigue and feelings of failure and frustration. today feels like the day when all of this getting to know each other stuff starts to pay off. 

today feels good. 

(now i just have to decide if i'm going back to body combat today.  i'm feeling like yes, if only to prove to myself, once again, that the hard stuff really is worth it.)

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