Saturday, June 8, 2013

The Cheering Squad

This morning, I was nervous to spend a whole day with my kids alone.  My husband is working a Saturday shift, and I have really been struggling with feeling frazzled by my kids lately.  I went to bed last night determined that this would be a GOOD day.

I woke up early, before the kids and my husband.  I sat in the cool quiet downstairs and steeled myself for the day.  I wanted to have a good day and that would be it. The intentions were set, and that is how it was going to be.

It is fascinating how really setting my intentions can make something happen.  I dressed intelligently, and made sure to put on my standard jewelry, which often goes unused on "regular" days.  I put on my charm bracelet, my orange rhino bracelets, my silver necklace, my little earrings and my wedding band.  Decked out, I put on a nice shirt and even shaved my legs.  Starting the day with self-care and beautification really helps.

My friend was running the Sound to Narrows 12K in Tacoma.  She is the one who really got me ready and helped me stay inspired to run my first 5K, so I really wanted to show her our support. My 5-year-old and I made a sign, with the design and the lettering being entirely up to her.  Why not?  It's cute and a bit awkward, just what some fatigued runners may enjoy seeing along the way.

As the kids ate breakfast, I decided I would sit with them during the entire torturous process.  I was determined to enjoy them today, so I did.  It sounds forced, and sometimes felt that way, but it was my goal.

We made the drive to Tacoma, and I promptly got lost.  This was gonna be a good day, dang it, so I relaxed, took some deep breaths and asked for directions.  Long sections of road were closed off for the race, which had already begun, so I had to be creative.  We parked and walked...and walked...and walked...and I was completely lost.  There are a lot of roads and paths in the park.  I asked for directions, then found out that the man I asked didn't even speak English. Oh well.

The kids were starting to complain about being tired and having sore feet.  I was determined to have a good day, so I told them that we would rest when we found Kelly.  We could stop when we found the runners.  We kept our goal of finding the race at the forefront, and I just kept walking.  They stopped whining and kept up with me when they realized I wasn't stopping.  We got to a corner, and there the runners were!  We stood for a few minutes and then Kelly came into view.  She waved, we waved, we all cheered and did high-fives, and the other runners got big smiles on their faces.  Mission Accomplished!  Good day achieved!

Then I figured, since the runners are going in a big loop and we already have this awesome sign, why not catch Kelly at the other end?  So, after a bit more getting lost and asking for directions and being confused, we ended up walking along the back side of the zoo and seeing some buffalo (or maybe yaks?) and some peacocks along the back fence.  Spontaneous fun!  Mission Accomplished More!

We trudged and walked, the kids complained, and I promised snacks at our next stop.  I refused to let the complaining sink in...I let it go by me instead.  We found a corner at the other end, right before the last mile of straight uphill.  We got our sign ready, and I burned off some energy clapping and cheering for all the runners I saw.  They were on the home-stretch!  My daughter planted herself on the ground and waved at the runners.  There were so many smiles I lost count.  Kelly came around the bend and we cheered our heads off.  We stuck around a bit longer and cheered for more runners, really spreading the love.

I realized that in my determination to have a darn good day, I was energized and excited to love these strangers who were pushing themselves for the race.  I had good energy, and sharing it only made my energy stronger.  I felt a bit self-conscious for the first while that I was cheering and clapping, standing on a corner by the zoo parking lot, with two little kids rustling in the bushes.  Then as I got more into it, I remembered how much I loved having people clap for me in my race.  I gave it all I had just for them and I gained so much positivity it was fantastic.  Mission Accomplished Even More!

The kids finally got bored enough that we headed back to the main park.  I asked for directions from a police officer and immediately got lost again (don't judge:  Point Defiance Park is enormous!).  Thank goodness for GPS on my phone.  We walked until we found our bearings...and a duck pond!  We sat and ate granola bars, and talked about which ducks are boys or girls, why they dip under the water, what they eat and why we shouldn't give them our granola bars.  We wandered over to the bathrooms...and they were clean!  And my son's pants were accident-free!  Mission Accomplishment Reaching Maximum!

There is a huge fenced-in rose garden in the park, so the kids and I went in.  Being early June, they were all in their blooms of glory, and the kids ran around exclaiming over each and every blossom, sniffing and loving on the flowers. There was a fuschia test-garden, and then more roses.  I sat on a bench while the kids soaked up every blossom they could.  I wanted to take pictures, but then I decided to totally experience the fun instead.  Mission Experienced!

By this time our feet were sore and it was time to head home for lunch.  On the way back to the van, I realized that I was in a wonderful mood, the kids were doing great, and nobody had shouted or been angry once all morning.  We were tired, and all of us were a little cranky from it, but we were in good spirits.  Starting the day with strong intentions and a desire for a good day really made a difference.  Taking a little bit of time for myself to draw my mind to where I wanted it to be made the morning what it was.

I have control.  I can make it happen.  Once the momentum starts, it is easy to keep up.  Taking those few minutes to get myself in the mind-space I wanted got me off on the right foot.  I even asked my kids how they felt about the day, and they talked about watching ducks, cheering for Kelly, seeing buffalo and sniffing roses.  They don't even mention the "death-marches" or the twisty roads or the sore feet.  I think they took their cues from me and that was all it took.

There is a power to determined positivity.  It works, and it is self-perpetuating.  It just needs to be planted and watered and allowed to bloom.  Positivity is a choice, a choice that is not always easy or palatable.  Sometimes it feels forced, but ultimately it is worth it!

I deserve BEAUTY in my life!

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