I ran my first half marathon last week. Crossing that finish line, was the most exhilarating experience of my life. I would not call myself a runner, by any stretch of the imagination. I’m more of a cat stretch, yoga Pilates kinda gal. But I signed up for this half marathon to raise funds for children to have clean water in Africa and because my sister threatened to stop making French macaroons for me, if I refused to join her.
The training was brutal, especially, if you’re under 5’2″. I don’t think any website or magazine can prepare you enough for a marathon, like that Chemistry exam you cram for and your brain still feels like a helium balloon. You have to experience it until the finish, to know that you’ve accomplished what you thought you could never do. What in the world was I thinking when I signed up for this? Was I even conscious? Are macaroon sanctions worth the agony my short little legs are feeling right now? (Totally). But I kept reminding myself that I’m running for a cause. Some days I’d be pumped to train, but after pounding on the same grey concrete, the miles would start to look endless. On one long run, uphill might I add, my knees were screaming and I thought my legs were going to fall off… I looked up. I took my eyes off the pavement for a moment and I looked up. I took in the azure sky, the pines on the horizon and the pavement curving around the bend. I saw little obstructions ahead, cracks in the path, I knew I could get through them. Suddenly, I didn’t feel like I was about to become comatose. It was relief I felt, when I saw that I was closer to home. In my mind, all I could hear myself saying was, ‘You did good Deepa, you did good.’
I absolutely relish being at home with my son, nothing can come close to spending time with him. I’ve been a full-time, at home mother since my 4-year-old was born. Hearing of friends going back to school, moving on with their careers, traveling, etc., would make my heart sink a little. I’ve considered myself as only a mother and wife for so long, I lost the sense of who ‘I’ was. I needed to look up from the ‘road’ and take comfort in the fact that I’m a mommy on a mission. To be content and take joy in where I am at this moment, this mile of my life.
Motherhood is an endurance testing marathon. Nay, an obstacle course. It can leave you with a broken heart or a permanent migraine, at the very least. But it is oh SO worth it when they tell you they ‘wuv’ you for no reason, when they proudly show you their art of ghoulish stick people; when you see the fruits of your labor in their lives. There will be rough patches on the way: strain in your marriage, difficult times with your kids (it’s called hormones), but you’ll get through it, because other moms have been where you are. I wish children (and husbands) came with a manual or a GPS of some sort. Lord knows we could use some direction. No book on earth can truly prepare you for parenthood, until you start that journey yourself. A friend of mine wrote a beautiful blog post on how moms need other moms, to support and believe in each other, because really, we’re all running the same race with the same mission – our children. To the mommy with little ones who’s burnt out in every sense of the word, the mother who is convinced she has failed or whatever hard mile you are running right now. Look up. You might want to give up on this crazy trip, but hang in there, you can get back up and draw strength out of you, that you didn’t know existed. So remember why you run, because there are a whole lot of moms rooting for you.
“Endurance is not just the ability to bear a hard thing, but to turn it into glory.”