I see myself as a typical working mom of a pair of adorable preschool kiddos. This means a whole lot of feeding, nurturing, educating, exercising and entertaining of busy little people while juggling my 32 hour a week job and a 30-40 mile-a-week running schedule. It wasn't until last night that it dawned on me that my family might be a little different. After tucking the girls into beds, my partner and I did an elaborate dance that involved each of us setting out clothes, Gu, water bottles, headlamps, Garmen and a sundry of other running paraphernalia. I was getting ready to hit the sack early for a 20 miler the following morning while Steve was getting ready to go for a six hour trail run at night. Hmmmm... Shouldn't we be snuggling on the couch in front of a DVD? Wouldn't that be more normal? Oh well, normal's overrated anyway, right?
Around 9:30 PM Steve took off for what looked like was going to be a very cold, wet and muddy trail run with a few friends. They planned on starting their run at 10 PM and running until 4 AM. I fell asleep right around the same time that he was leaving the house. My alarm was set for 5:30. I hoped to start my run at 6:00 AM and had a very specific plan for the speed at which I would run each of my 20 miles. An hour before my alarm was supposed to go off, my dog woke me up barking his fool head off at the front door. Steve was home and couldn't seem to get the key work in the lock. I helped him out, he apologized profusely and I went back to bed. Just as I started to drift off, Steve, bundled up in I don't know how many layers climbed into bed next to me. I guess I should have asked him how his run was but I was too concerned with the fact that he was now between our sheets without having taken a shower after his run. He assured me that he had enough clothes on to keep the dirt and sweat from transferring from his body to our bed. I can't say for sure, but I think I asked him how his run went. Turned out that it rained and snowed during his late night foray AND that raccoons tore apart the food that he left at a makeshift aid station. Despite the layers of clothes and heat pack that he had on, he shivered uncontrollably. This turned our bed into something comparable to the coin fed hotel beds with magic fingers, except without the massaging feature. Normal? I think not.
5:30 AM came all to quickly and off I went for my run leaving Steve to tend to our children who would likely be awake in one short hour. If you do the math, that gives Steve a whole three hours to sleep before having to turn into chef, activities director and life skills teacher for our daughters. I felt for him. I went out and did my thing. I will spare you the melodramatic details of running 20 miles with my only company being my iPod, a Garmen that kept revealing numbers that I didn't like and the friendly waves and smiles of a ton of other runners on the river path that morning.
I had a momma/kiddo lunch and theater date planned for 11:30, which would give me just enough time for a 15 minute ice bath, hot shower and quick breakfast. It turns out that my friend and her kids were sick and not able to attend. That gave me a little extra time before shoving off to provide my children with a culturally enriching weekend activity. Steve, who had hoped to catch a few more hours of sleep, offered to join the girls and I for the play. I think I found watching his heavy eyelids droop and seeing him nod off during the play more entertaining than the play itself. The girls enjoyed it though and each came home quite happy with a helium balloon and chocolate chip cookie. Steve and I were like total slugs while our daughters seemed to have a limitless supply of energy and kept demanding to be fed. They had already had two breakfasts, two snacks and one lunch. All Steve and I wanted to do was take a nap or at least peacefully lie horizontally on the couch or floor, we weren't picky. Our girls had other plans for us. Normal? Sure, kids regularly run their parents into the ground. I must say that having your husband gleefully dump 24 pounds of ice over your legs while you sit in a tepid shallow bathtub wearing a coat and hat probably isn't.
There would be no rest for the weary today or tonight. It was date night for my husband and me! Our big night out included a nice quiet romantic dinner followed by going to the theater to see CATS. From my kitchen table I write this and gaze out into my backyard at my happy active daughters playing in the backyard. I appreciate this quiet time off my feet as Steve naps with a vengeance in the room down the hall. Just who exactly defines normal anyway? Wherever my life lies along that continuum of normalcy, I'll take it. Wish me luck staying awake tonight!