Sunday, November 10, 2013

I Run 4

Speaking of communities and running (ugh, that's not even funny yet), a few months ago I signed up with I Run 4.  The idea is simple - runners will run for and connect with those who can't, mostly via photos and FB posts.  It started with one guy and an offhand comment and now has almost 9000 members.

And, I thought, a great potential for cheesy inspiration porn.

But I have a vast sucking need for motivation.  Matt is more likely to offer me ice cream and a warm blanket than hand me my shoes and such is the magnitude of my sloth-dom, I've been known to actually do laundry while procrastinating.
(though that doesn't necessary mean that I will)
I like the idea that I run.  I'm proud of my race bibs and calf muscles (if you squint you can't see the pasty whiteness or spider veins).  I love the post run high and sometimes, if I'm very lucky, I feel stronger than all my problems during, but putting on my shoes and taking that first long stride is a Big Deal, every time.  So I sign up for races.  

I am a huge sucker for these silly motivational memes.

And I signed up to run for someone else.
Because you know what I really need is more responsibility.

But I also thought it might be a nice thing to do for someone, since we have no money to donate or time to volunteer.  And, squabbles and random snarkiness (auto correct changed that to snakiness.  That too) aside, the Down syndrome and blogging communities provide terrific support & resources.  My daughter's genetic quirk comes with monthly playgroups, of all things, and all the people I've stalked met in the larger special needs community have come thru this space.  What do you do if you don't write and are dealing with something rare, something that doesn't have three or four competing national organizations?

Not to suggest there aren't other fabulous community supports in this age of the internet, but we are on a well trodden path.

I had steeled myself for a barrage of special angel comments but I've seen very little smarminess.  It's light, fun, & supportive - almost like a daily play group - but one that operates in THIS world, the one with hospital stays, surgeries, and occasional gut wrenching loss.  There is a religious base (which I'm happy to ignore) and there can be some awkward, non people first terms but I'd never thought much about the language of disability either, 6 years ago.  I think there's a tendency to bristle and get cranky when we wander out into the world and find the gen pop isn't quite as involved/understanding/PC as we want them to be, but that knowledge doesn't spring organically from nothingness.  Connections and familiarity are the fastest, surest way to that understanding we crave.  People without a single tie to the disability/special needs community are signing up to run for strangers, getting to know them & their families. Running is hard and nothing kills the smell of pity faster than a blister, yet it keeps growing. Y'all know I don't do rainbows & unicorns but that does warm my frozen, cynical heart a bit.    

Weirdly, and last paragraph notwithstanding, I haven't signed up The Girl up to be matched. Partly because I run for her too, but mostly because I think she can run for herself.  Just like Jimmy Jenson.  Now if there was a group for the non-verbal…

I was matched with an adorable little boy who probably isn't old enough to appreciate my sporadic 5 milers (or my fastest ever half marathon last month - whoot!), but he likes pictures of my girl and I'm one more person in the world who cares for him.  We could all use one more person, couldn't we?

I also doubt he appreciated all my artsy outdoor shots, before it got cold and rainy and I retreated to my treadmill.  Before I found out Murphy shouldn't be running (I wonder if anyone would want to run for my dog?).  But forcing myself to look for photo opportunities during my runs, to be present, was a beautiful gift.

Thank you, Robert - IRUN4U!

Now I just need my knees to hold out.

(photo quality is a different issue)

Monday, November 4, 2013

The creatures in my care

I have this recurring dream that I'm at the beach with the kids and I lose them both in the waves.  I don't know where to look and they've been separated - finding one precludes finding the other.  I have other dreams where they disappear into a lake or the woods, or over a ledge.  Natural fears of motherhood, I suppose.

Except tonight I nearly did lose my girl - I was in the bathroom and she was in my bedroom watching TV.  The alarm chimes anytime an outside door is opened and I did hear it but seconds must have lumbered by as I thought it must be The Boy, who was downstairs, or maybe one of the dogs pushing the back door open, or, or, or...

I don't remember even forming a conscious thought but I was suddenly running. The girl was not watching TV.  The gate at the top of the stairs was open.  The back door was closed. The laundry room door leading to the garage was closed but I knew, and I flew outside, because she likes to close doors behind her and it was too quiet.  The garage door was open and I remembered I'd noticed that earlier and forgot to close it because the kids, dinner, dogs, the usual state of chaos. 

She was running. Not exactly in the middle of the street but definitely not on the sidewalk.  And she was wearing a black shirt, because I'd put her Halloween costume back on her trying to get a decent picture, earlier.  She is not that tall, being only 5, and having a 47th chromosome too boot.  The yellow striped bee tights wouldn't have provided much warning for the fucking teenagers who drive too fast down our streets, texting & sexting, & looking down, fiddling with the radio.  They wouldn't have been able to see her.  Especially not now that time changed and it's dark out.

And there was a car of course.  Two, no just one house down, though not speeding. And the bastards looked rather amused as they rolled by, and not at all horrified at the death they nearly unleashed, because all they saw was a shrieking middle aged woman grabbing a small child on the edge of their property line, a perfectly safe distance away, and they saw the useless dogs come running out, free, and too late, chaos spilling out.  They did not slow down much, to make sure they didn't hit a dog, though in fairness they weren't going that fast.  They probably didn't see I was holding my pants up, because I just thought to run, and not button. But I did not care if the dogs ran away or were hit, just then, or if my pants fell down because I was still shrieking, in my head.  I was not yet angry at the dogs, who should have barked a warning, or my son who is supposed to close the garage when he comes inside, or myself who was so very careless and nearly dropped the entire universe.  I'm still shrieking, a little. 

I'm never going to sleep well again.  



Little girl on a big street: