I have never been a mushy, romantic, Valentine’s Day kind of girl. My husband knows that I would much rather receive a new pair of Asics over a dozen roses, and definitely a jar of peanut butter over a box of chocolates. It’s just the way I am. But even though I may not be what’s considered traditionally romantic, I’m still all about the love. So in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I decided to make a list of some of the things I love. So here it is, in no particular order.
Celebrations I’m sure this popped into my head first since there’s a holiday this weekend, but I am a huge fan of celebrations. And themes. Party themes, holiday themes, Disney trip themes, races…all of it. If there is the possibility of a new outfit, decoration, or dessert, you better believe I’m on it. My kids are completely on board with this, we could probably come up with a reason to have a party or celebrate every day if we wanted to! The first day of school my daughter came home with a list of all the “spirit days” they would have for the year. I was online that night finding ideas and ordering t-shirts. I’m not exaggerating, that day I got her a Star Wars shirt for “May the 4th be with you”day. I can’t help myself. Parties are the same way. I figure out the themes months in advance and start shopping. Sometimes years in advance; knowing 2016 is an Olympic year, my daughter’s 6th birthday has been planned since she was born! I firmly believe that life is worth celebrating, no matter the occasion. Every day is a gift.
Without a doubt my kids and my husband are the most important people in my life. They inspire me, support me, and we have so much fun together! But it doesn’t end with the people I live with. My extended family is so important as well. I feel so very blessed to have both sets of my children’s grandparents, plus all of their aunts and uncles live so close to us. They have such great relationships with their cousins, and I am happy to watch my kids grow up being best friends with my nieces and nephews. I love them all so much and am especially fortunate that through the years my sister and I have always been there for each other, and always will be best friends.
Where do I begin? I do not know what I would do without my husband. From what I’ve realized listening to other wives, he is one of those mythical ones who goes above and beyond. The man cleans, changes diapers, wakes up with babies in the middle of the night, cooks, fills in as “dance mom”, and gives some amazing foot rubs after long runs. There is not one time that he does not call or text to see if I need anything on his way home. We have a great friendship and mutual respect for what the other needs. We both love to workout, so we understand when the other one needs to get out and run. We both coach, so we understand long practices and putting in the extra time for our teams. We both want our children to be raised to be strong and independent with good values and work as a team to parent them the way we think is best. We have each others back. Sure, we have disagreements. I tend to be the emotional (dare I say irrational) one…but he just lets me get it out and then teases me about it later. It works for us and I am grateful for that everyday.
Being a Mom
Growing up I was not a girl who talked about how many kids I would have or what I would name them. I guess I assumed I would have children but didn’t really give it a lot of thought. But then one day a switch went off, when I was in my late twenties and I was ready to be a mom. We were very fortunate to get pregnant easily and my daughter forever changed our lives. Three years later we were blessed once again, and being a mom to my two little loves makes me unbelievably happy. I love watching them learn. I love watching them grow. I love watching them develop problem solving skills and find their independence. I love their hugs and kisses. I love when they fall asleep in my arms. Now at age 5 and 2, I love watching them play together and how proud they are of each other. Being a mom is exhausting but is the most rewarding experience of my life.
The “Aha” moment
Being a teacher, coach, and mom there are a lot of these. Nothing makes me more proud then when one of my students, swimmers, or kids have that moment where everything clicks. When they try something over and over and then all of a sudden…it’s there! It could be something as simple as a puzzle piece fitting the right way to achieving a varsity time. That look on kids faces…that “I get it now!” look. It’s just plain awesome.
I know, shocker, right? There are so many reasons to love running. Some are obvious even to those who don’t…weight loss/control, your health, the races. But it is so much more than that. I love the way I feel when I am running. I am in control and every decision is mine. How far, how fast, how long. I love how I feel after I run. I love how strong running makes me feel. Not just physically, but emotionally and mentally. I have overcome a lot of obstacles in my life. Running, as well as the other sports I have participated in, have taught me how to overcome something that isn’t easy. That when something is difficult or doesn’t make you feel great you can get through it and the sense of accomplishment far outweighs all of the excuses of why you shouldn’t do hard things. I love the example I can set for my children, my team, and other moms through running. I love how I can be completely stressed out but come back from my run a nicer, saner, happier person. Running is not just about me though, my babies are always up for a stroller run and we make every race an adventure. Whenever I sign up for a race, we find what other activities, museums, and parks we can explore as a family. Having my kids at the finish line, or in the stroller as we cross the line is so important to me and I’m so happy to share the experiences with them.
A few years ago I came across the quote “If it doesn’t challenge you it doesn’t change you”. It has stuck with me and I cannot agree more. I am constantly trying to evolve in my life. I love going to new places, especially now that I can experience them with my children. I love watching my kids do new things for the first time. As a mom I am constantly encouraging them to be brave and explore new activities and to not be afraid of the unknown.The past few years I have started to realize I need to take my own advice. Last year, I started signing up for half marathons and have really found out how physically strong I can be, and have already signed up for 4 more this spring. This year, blogging and weight training have been my newest challenges. And both are proving to help make me more confident and discover things I didn’t know I was capable of.
Okay listen up, because this one is huge! It took me over 30 years to get to this one. Even as I made this list I was shocked that I made it. Not that I’ve necessarily ever hated myself, but I don’t know if I could ever honestly say I truly loved me. I always struggled with self confidence and felt that I was never good enough. I was always the girl that had to change 50 times before going anywhere. I constantly felt that I didn’t deserve to be completely happy, or maybe that I was being selfish or stuck up if I was. But I have had a lot of breakthroughs lately. It’s hard to completely explain but something has always held me back, or maybe I just kind of ignored it. I no longer feel the need to worry about what others think or say about me. I no longer feel responsible if someone doesn’t understand my journey. It has helped that I have built up a great support system of family and friends who help empower and motivate me. Along with that is that I can even say I love my body. It has been with me through so much…excessive exercise, major surgeries, a blood clot, and numerous bumps and bruises, not to mention carrying 2 babies. I am very proud of what my body has overcome and continues to accomplish. As a mother, I know that the most effective way to really show my daughter how to love herself and to be proud of who she becomes is by leading by example. I try every day to do so. I am so happy to not only type this, but to actually mean it when I say I love me!
There are so many more things I love about this life I am living, and I could write for days about them. But these were the first that came to mind. I’ll call it my “I just won an Oscar and want to thank everyone but no doubt will forget someone important” moment. So I will just save some of those for next year…here’s hoping by then I will have tons more incredible experiences and memories to be grateful for. If not, that’s fine too…my heart is very full anyway.
Take care, Heather