Running on Empty

Cute W traveled for business last Monday to Friday, and I’ve been a bit swamped. The homework drama, thankfully, has simmered down, but I’ve had my own homework to make life difficult.

I’m doing the printed directory for M’s middle school, and the straightforward, not-too-bad volunteer job took a turn for the worse this year. My job switched from collecting some information and basically reformatting a spreadsheet to attempting to convince each and every family in the community to create an online account and enter a bunch of family information that, sadly, doesn’t quit synch up with the information we like to have in the directory.

I sent out a barrage of emails first, acknowledging the people who had actually already done what they were supposed to do as awesome, and then nagging everybody else. Then I spent hours calling all the people who hadn’t responded to my email nagging. And then more hours upon hours trying to whip the data into shape. I now have a full-on rant about how this online directory business should have been organized, but I won’t bore you with it. I’m hoping to get the damn thing out to print by Monday, so one way or the other, the worst will be over soon.

In between slogging away at the computer, my only significant break was the town fun run. The kids were excited with the new, non-running activity (that’s J pushing M upside-down):


Fun Run

J ran the mile fun run, and she was excited because a couple of good friends ran, too. Part of the attraction is that the school gym teacher always comes to this event, and if he sees that you’ve participated, he lets you slack off a bit during gym class. J was particularly pleased because she’d shaved nearly a minute off of her previous record for running a mile.

(For some reason my “More” link isn’t working properly at the moment–there is more, and you can click the title of the blog post to read it.)

Meanwhile, Cute W and M ran the 5K together again. As usual, M ran her heart out. She really left it all out on the course. I mean, she literally left it all out on the course: she crossed the finish line and promptly vomited, then tried to stagger away from the finish line, but couldn’t move because she had to vomit some more. Luckily, I missed this. I’d stationed myself at a nearby corner for taking photographs, and when they turned up toward the finish line, well, I wasn’t following all that closely enough. It was a minute or two later, as she staggered toward the bathroom, that I caught up and caught on.

And here’s the crazy thing about M: she wasn’t embarrassed. Like, at all. Like, it didn’t occur to her why someone might find this embarrassing. She was sheepishly apologetic to the volunteers who had to clear the area, but beyond that, the overall attitude was somewhere between, “Whoops, I thought eating a couple of plums would be fine” and “Hell, yeah, that’s how you run a race!” I believe that we all high-fived over the whole thing. Once again, she’s so bad-ass that it seems impossible that we could be related.

Although, of course we are. The other day I noticed that M kept saying the sort of delightful and encouraging things that I try to say to the girls. Sometimes, when someone’s doing a difficult task and there’s not a great way to actually help, we’ll do a little cheer, “I sup-PORT you! In your en-DEAV-or!” So she was saying that. And also, something like, “Way to go, Mom, I believe in you. We can do this!” That’s the sort of thing that I’ll say all the time, usually in a jokey way. Like, some daughter will whine, “I’m too tired to go all the way back downstairs and pick up the laundry I left on the floor,” and I’ll say, “I know, I know: this is tough. But I have faith in you. You can find the strength to do this, I truly believe it.” So, I can’t remember why, but M just had a stream of these affirmations that sounded familiar.

And then she came up with a new of her own that I thought was pretty dang brilliant. J was showing M her skinned elbow, the one she’d gotten when she tried to Ripstik back to school for some homework. She’d tried going down a steep hill that she thought M went down all the time. No, M said, that’s steep! She doesn’t go down that hill, either. “But you fell forward as you headed down the hill, right?” Yes, J agreed. “Well, at least that’s good! I always say, ‘Better to fall forward than to fall backward!'”


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