It’s been one of those particularly trying weeks of juggling a crazy schedule with work, research, meetings, runs and catching up from being away. There were a few points this week where I thought I might drop one of the balls, forget a meeting or miss something critical on the never ending to do list, especially given the chronic lack of sleep this week. But, it all went pretty smoothly and just knowing that I had the weekend with my daughters kept me going. I’ve been away a lot lately and was really missing just having some time with them to play and be outside in the beautiful fall weather.
I had planned to get up and run with Brooke first thing this morning, but because I had promised Nat and Jas a mountain biking lesson, I decided to do my run at Nose Hill while the girls biked. This way I can get Maui an off leash run, I get my workout in and the girls are happy. My parents just bought them new bikes and they’re way too big, so even though they had mastered these trails last year on their little bikes, today it was like starting fresh.
I was pushing my luck a bit, knowing the forecast was for rain but I thought I could still squeeze this in as it was our only chance before the day got busy. I consider turning around numerous times. But the girls are having none of it. I promised them and they are holding me to it. We get the bikes unloaded, everyone dressed in their mitts and jackets, and Jasmine falls off her bike within the first few minutes. It’s raining. It’s cold and before we’ve even gone 3km we’re all on the verge of tears and frozen. The only happy one in the bunch is Maui, who has been pouncing joyously through the fields, covering himself in burrs. Great. One more thing on the to do list. I feel horrible for making Jasmine get back on her bike after bashing up her tail bone. I hate seeing her in tears because she so rarely cries that if she does, I know she's really hurt or upset. Weather can just make everyone miserable. But I’m determined not to give up. I’ve got big backpacking plans for us as a family next year and if I don’t get the girls used to some less than ideal weather conditions, we’ll never get through.
There are days when I wonder why I bother. I make all these big plans for outings, learning experiences, art, culture, exposure to new ideas to help the girls grow into well rounded individuals. And it always takes a lot of effort and coordination. I’ve learned to go with the flow if things change, as they always do, without being invested in an outcome. But sometimes nothing goes as planned and you wonder why you even tried. When the girls were first born, a lot of the moms I met in Calgary used to ask me why I raced. Why bother? You’ve got enough on your plate. Aren’t you exhausted? You run while your kids nap? Don't you just sit down and watch tv? My parents are continuously telling me to take less on. That I’m doing too much. Maybe they’re right. Maybe it’s easier to stay at home. What the hell am I doing out in a rainstorm with my kids when we’ve got so much on the go today? While Natalie is fearlessly ripping ahead, Jasmine is getting off at every tiny little hill. Still in tears. I just want to make it easy for her. As a mom it’s so hard. How much do you push, force them into something they’re afraid of. When do you give in and turn around? Let them succumb to their fears? Why was I being so hard on her?
But then the storm broke. Within minutes the dark clouds shifted past us and the sun came out. We round the corner, with a view of the entire city, the golden fields ahead of us, fall colors all around. It’s beautiful. And everyone starts to warm up.
For the next hour we play up there. The girls ride the hills, even hit a few little jumps. Their tears quickly dry and the smiles return to their faces. I get to actually witness the shift from fear and hesitance, to pride in themselves as the miles tick by. We’re laughing, joking, learning how to ride down bumpy downhills, how to climb the ups. How to shift gears. Which brakes to use. They get faster and faster, so I'm getting a great run in.
And as we’re getting back to the car two hours later, Jasmine says to me “Mom thanks for not letting me give up. Sometimes you have to scare yourself to get better right?”. And all of a sudden, it was all worth it.
So don't let less than ideal conditions stop you today. Life will always present you with a challenge. If you're watching for them, every day you will be presented with opportunities for growth. It's a fork in the road. You can choose the easy path and stay where you are. Or you can choose the rougher road and grow past where you thought you could be. It might be as simple as the opportunity to show compassion to someone and stopping to help rather than walking by. It might be signing up for a new class. It might be taking an even bigger risk. I've been so fortunate to have people who have put me in situations that were way over my head, and certainly out of my comfort zone. And while I could have killed them at the time, I was incredibly grateful afterwards. Things never show up the way you thought they would. That's part of the fun in life, waiting for the next surprise. The next opportunity for growth. Persist. The sun will come back out.