On being a runner

I’m a runner. I’m not a race runner. I’m not a runner who gets together with other moms to train for a race. I’m definitely not a race runner. I’m not a wake-up-before-dawn runner or a two-tennis-shoes-a-month kind of runner. I’m an average runner who hits the pavement every day to take twenty minutes to myself, kind of runner. I’m a runner because I need to be. When I’m not a runner, I’m a mom, and a wife and the only person who can soothe the cranky teething baby. I’m also the only one who can make croissant omelets, which my big boy loves. I’m the only one who can take my husband in my arms and hold him when he’s had a long day. And I love it — the sounds of a babbling baby trying to tug on my barrette. The hugs of a four-year-old who’s done three crafts at school and played with his friend’s Pikachu doll at show-and-tell and hid for four seconds during recess before Theo found him and tagged him. I love the feel of my husband’s big arms when he sinks into me though he’s twice my height. I love the feel of his large head against my neck, his hair between my fingers. It’s the moment I feel most at home. All day I think of them. Am I talking to the baby enough? Repeating when he points at things— That’s a flower. A red flower. That’s water. Eau. Agua. Eau. Am I giving my big boy enough attention? I put down the dishes and kneel to look at him when he talks—tell me more about it! That sounds like so much fun.What an exciting day you had. Now, help me put the cutlery in its place. Am I giving my husband enough love? I’m stuck in my head making to-do lists and editing them over and over again, and he’s been so busy for so long, I’m used to our dynamic being this way. The kids went to bed late, and we’re exhausted, but now it’s just us. We watch something on TV together though we should be tidying the house. We laugh. We hold hands. We kiss. And again, I am mom, wife, sister, daughter, friend. But then I put on my tennis shoes, hand my mom the baby and sneak away.  For twenty minutes, it’s just me. The reverb from the pavement is in sync with my breath – one breath in, two breaths out, one breath in, two breaths out. It’s just me and my breath and the sun on my back. And I’m just another runner on the sidewalk.

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