30 August 2014

My fitness journey....

As you go through life, everyone will tell you, exercise is healthy, eat well, don't drink too much alcohol, don't smoke....I'll say all that stuff to you. I'm your Mummy, it's what we do. 

You'll probably ignore me. You're a kid, that's what you do! So, I want to tell you what journey your Mummy has been on in the last year or so. There are some reasons (I have 5 for you) to listen to some of that stuff and to live a bit more healthily. Real reasons. Not just because everyone says so. 

In the last year I have focused on health and fitness in a way that I never have done before. I eat well and pay attention to nutrition. I've (almost) completely cut out alcohol. I sleep well and train hard. Here's why it's been so amazing... 

1. I have, literally, never felt good about myself. At 37, I do now. That should be reason enough but I did promise 5.

2. I have met some wonderful people who have inspired me to aim higher, to push myself, to do good, to never say "I don't have time." Brilliant Mums who work full-time and still make time to improve themselves & stay healthy. People who want to help others to improve and are always sharing and teaching. Young people with motivation and drive. People who inspire others and work together. People I'm proud to know. 

3. This is a girly one and it sounds shallow but it makes me happy. I have always loved fashion, but on other people. I can finally enjoy it on me. It is a big motivation to stay strong and keep training hard. I just keep my eye on the dresses!

“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.” ~ Coco Chanel

4. I love the improvement and gains I've made and continue to make. Physically I see changes every day. I'm stronger, leaner and so much fitter than I was. A year ago I could only just bike 2 miles, couldn't move a 10kg weight and couldn't do a press up for toffee. Now I've completed a 100 mile hilly sportive, I train at the gym 3 times a week, I can do 20 proper press-ups and I do 5k runs for fun! 
Post 5k Parkrun cuddle

5. I feel more alive than I have in years. I do this for me, for those 4 reasons above. But I also do it for you. To inspire you to push yourself and to show you that it's normal for girls to run, cycle and lift weights. I love the interest you show in everything I do and want to channel and nurture that interest for as long as you'll listen to me!
With your toilet roll dumbells!

This weekend I'm running a 5km Spartan Race with some of the people I've mentioned above. I am terrified and excited in equal measures. We'll get round, one way or another, and I'm proud of the whole team already. Wish Mummy luck darling. I think she'll need it!

“A bear, however hard he tries, grows tubby without exercise.” ~ A A Milne, Winnie the Pooh

23 August 2014

A quite ordinary Saturday

My book made me think today. About time, with you. I want to freeze the passage of time. I won't though. I cant. Instead I follow you into the future. Collecting our memories from behind you. You're in too much of a hurry to preserve the moments. And I have the benefit of years to help me appreciate why we should. When I was little I had a carved wooden box full of my important things. I still have it, somewhere. Inside, a small plastic New Zealand tiki on a familiar piece of worn, old yellow string that my daddy gave me when I was little, my mummy's silver Saint Christopher, a plastic ring which matched one that my best friend had and other sundry items. They have no monetary value but those items are laden down with my childhood feelings. So precious. Always value what matters emotionally over everything else. Cherish the little things. 
When Mummy was little (c1978)

Right now, I'm curled up on the sofa. You've climbed in a Molly sized nook with my legs curled round you and you're resting your head on them. I write, and you sit. So peaceful. If I could bottle this moment...

I'm a bit sniffly with a cold and you hugged me because you thought I was crying. "You sound sad Mummy. Don't be sad." We had a nap together. It reminded me of when you were a baby and you'd fall asleep on my chest leaving a hot sweaty patch when you woke up. I felt very close to you. 
Poorly Mummy and sleepy Molly

Your nana and grandad had some sad news today. You heard me on the phone and asked what was wrong. I had a moment to decide whether to tackle the subject of death at your tender age. I did. I explained that Nana and Grandad's friend had died. You replied, "that is very sad news Mummy. I do hope they're ok." A response befitting an adult. You never cease to amaze me. Children's coping mechanisms are much better than ours, or than we give them credit for, and I remind myself of that daily.
Today you wanted to be Jessie

See you tomorrow sweetie. I love you.

"Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." ~ Christopher Robin to Winnie the Pooh, A A Milne

8 August 2014

Chance encounters at the park

Last night we walked to the park when I got home. This was an ordinary little trip, just you and me. We met two people there. Two ordinary, chance encounters which taught me a little bit about you and about me.

We held hands and walked down our road. You silently swapped from one side of me to the other as a dog approached. We didn't talk about it. I like to let you deal with your apprehensions slowly and in your own time. You've moved from screaming to be picked up when dogs approach to sidling round to the other side of me. That's progress!
At the park you immediately climbed up on the 'castle' and informed me that we had to escape from the witch who lived "over bere (there) in the witch house (climbing frame)" and then told me to "sit down bere Mummy and you must knit 12 hats, gloves and jumpers to keep us all (you, me and 10 imaginary friends. 10 is your 'big' number at the moment) warm and cosy in the winter. Come on Mummy, get knitting!"

After a while you eased the pressure on me to keep pretend knitting and asked if I could push you to the moon on the swings. I always pretend I am trying to push you to the moon and you always laugh your little head off. So happy. 
Then you went back into the park and tried to engage with a little boy who was wandering around on his own. I left you to it. He was a little bit older than you but a solitary thing. He didn't acknowledge you and just wandered about. Stopping to sit cross legged and throw wood chips on the ground in front of him. He stared into space. He seemed locked in his own world. Your attempts to play rolled off him like raindrops down a window. Your little face was sad. I left you to reflect for a few moments. Your head dropped and you sat at the top of the slide. In the end I walked over to you and explained that the little boy wanted some time to himself and that you shouldn't be sad about that. Then you excitedly pointed to the little boy who had wandered over to a crowd of older boys and had sat down at the edge of their group. "Look Mummy. He does have some friends after all!" You were so happy and I was delighted that, through the whole episode, you cared more about the little boy having friends than you cared about your own rejection. It hadn't really crossed my mind that you were trying to be nice to him and, because you couldn't, it had made you sad. I was too wrapped up in you to notice. Your kindness is palpable. It runs out of your every pore and makes me so so proud.
During this time a young teenage girl had arrived at the park. I left you to slide and sat on the bench. She sat down next to me. We'd seen her here before when she had played with you but we had never spoken to her, not properly. She seemed kind. I asked how she was. Her face lit up and she chatted away to me, slightly awkwardly but she wanted to talk. I remember thinking that I wouldn't have chatted to an adult so freely at her age. She told be about her family. She asked about you and she related it back to her own childhood. She told me she had never fitted in, and about the people who had helped her when she was little and about how she felt, then and now. A lot of what she said made me feel sad. She seemed sad. As we left she asked me my name. "Sorry, it's Laura" I said. "Thank you Laura. See you soon." She had said "thank you" rather than "goodbye." I had only really listened to her but I felt happy then, not sad.

You should always try to listen completely. In one moment, lives can collide. Those you meet, listen to, and touch, will become the foundation of your being. I hope, above all else, that you will always have someone to talk to. I love you sweetheart. See you tomorrow.

"A little consideration, a little thought for others, makes all the difference." ~ Winnie the Pooh