To the woods for a realization

I started running again, and it’s great. Doing it in the middle of a pandemic? Also great! Sheila and I set a neat little goal to train for and keep us moving right now and it means spending a lot of time running/hiking together, so that’s a nice way to get away from the lockdown doldrums of the house.

Today is Mother’s Day. A day that for many of the past 10 years has brought Sheila a lot of pain and doubt and tears. We had a 2 hour hike planned and the weather looked like it would be nice. We slept in a little bit, got our stuff together and hit the trail a bit after 8am.

I wondered if the conversation would turn to children, to treatments, to the time I stabbed her a little too aggressively with a needle full of hormones. It often has turned there for us on our hikes and runs as we can talk through so much together out there with no one to judge us for how we handle it.

It did not though. We talked about school, work, families, our house projects, our running goal and so on. We made some plans, we longed for sitting outside at WindJammers drinking dollar beers, but today the talk of not having our own children simply did not come up.

I mostly followed Sheila today and tried to keep up with her hiking pace, after spending 3 hours doing the same with running yesterday in Letchworth- Follow along “keep up”.

chasing

It was in a moment when I was scampering down a hill to catch up after her, where I realized the strength it must have taken her to get through all of those days in the past. Sitting in a church and having the priest ask all of the mothers to stand and be recognized. Going to a brunch and having people rudely ask “when are you going to pop one out?” Seeing family members and siblings and friends with children and putting on a face to tell them to have a wonderful day while crying inside wanting what they had, as they complained to her about how kids suck… All those years on this day, carrying that weight and here she was on this day, this year, using that strength to bring me forward for goals that we set together but that she will inevitably be the anchoring rock for.

There are times in the woods when you go seeking clarity and it’s usually not the words that are being spoken but the action in motion that give it to you. We were moving along in silence in that moment, just the 2 of us, the birds chirping and frogs croaking the waves along the shorelines, the woodpeckers drilling holes. Just moving forward together not talking and it just hit me how strong Sheila is.

We are at home right now, we spend every day all day together here recently, but it took some time in the woods for that to really hit me.

We came home and Sheila began making phone calls to the women in her life wishing them happy Mother’s Day. Putting it aside so they would feel appreciated and loved today.

I’m not sure I would do the same if the roles were reversed.

So we covered some miles this week. My biggest week in many years. It came with fun, and aches and pain, and doubts – Plenty of doubts. In the end this project we are working on we will tackle together, and that means I know I will be able to take it head on because I have someone much stronger than me to lean on when the times get tough.

Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms out there. You deserve recognition for an often thankless job. Thanks to the wonderful people in our lives who also recognize the hard days for others – We appreciate you more than you know and can’t wait to share this new project with you all very soon.

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