It was to put it mildly, a rough morning. By 9AM, I had dealt with two meltdowns and a standoff at school. I was exhausted—staying up too late, having trouble falling asleep, waking up to Elizabeth's cries at 1 AM. Is it bedtime yet? I wondered. But no. There were two chapters to edit and project updates to send out. A bill to pay.
I sat at my neighbor's dining room table, which serves as a desk these days, and closed my eyes, breathed deep. I heard the birds, busy outside, and when I opened my eyes, the sun again was bright, the sky a deep clear blue, and the snow still brilliant. I sighed and scrolled through my file. I wanted to be out there. I looked at my list and the thorny chapter I was cleaning up. I thought about the struggle of the morning and about the afternoon and bedtime looming ahead.
You need to run.
I haven't been running regularly, not with the cold (temperature) and the ice and the cold (sickness) of this winter. But I had an email about making time for yourself even when things are overwhelming, and I remembered the Facebook post the other day about making running a priority and listening to your body, and even though I hate the p word, it stuck with me. I looked out at the sunshine. I wanted to be out there.
Suddenly I was motivated to get that chapter wrapped up. If I could do it by 11:15, I could go before Brian was back with the girls. I could do the 3-mile loop and be home in time for lunch, home when I said I'd be back from work. Yes.
It was colder than I thought. For the first half of the run I regretted not wearing gloves and contemplated another layer. One foot got wet when I stomped through a puddle hurrying to the side as a car approached. And I didn't grumble about any of that. I listened to my body, even though the to-do list suggested it wasn't wise. I ran, my nose tingling with the cold, as I breathed in fresh air. I ran, letting go of the meltdown about not wanting to go to school and the one about actually wanting to go to dropoff after all. I let go of the stand down by the cubbies and the kicking and the faces and the tone. I let go of the tears that threatened when I returned to the classroom with Kathleen's water bottle and one of her teachers was kind to me, patted my back, seeing that morning played out on my face. As I turned the last corner toward home, I stretched out my arms and shook off the rest of it.
I listened. I ran. It got me through the day.