When I updated the post about meeting my father the other day, even then I wasn’t done with my thought process on how to describe it so it was Pictionary to those reading. It isn’t that I really need to provide that but more that I want to. It helps my brain stay creative.
It was like meeting my baby for the first time. When you are pregnant, you have this idea in your head about what the baby will look like. You think about that human being inside you and you compare it to the two people who created it. “Will it have my hair? I wonder what color the eyes will be, and the laugh? Will it be like mine? What will it be like to hug it? Will the baby even like me?” As a mother, all of these thoughts, as silly as they all may seem, rush through you and you ponder on them for quite some time. These were similar thoughts that I have had for 26 years, only I knew what he looked like. My mom has this fire proof box that she kept three pictures of my father (from the time they were married) and his driver license (old) so that my brother and I would always know what he looked like. Because I was still young enough that my memory has left me, I never really knew what he truly looked like in my mind. So back to the questions: “Will my hair be like his? Since I look just like my mom, will I have anything that looks like him? How tall is he? What kind of hugs does he give? Will he even like me? I wonder what his voice sounds like. Is it a low voice, a high voice? What does he laugh like? Does he have a beard?”
I remember telling Steven, my mom, and my aunt that it was like I have sat next to my dad and heard him talk, laugh, have the same smile, hair, and habits for 28 years. My brother is him and he is my brother. I couldn’t contain myself in speech. I sobbed the second I realized that everything I had been missing in my life was walking next to me the whole time. When I talked to him on the phone, it was like talking to my brother, I even checked to see if I had dialed the wrong number. It wasn’t any different the day I got to touch him. His whiskers graze the top of my cheek bone just under my eye, the same way my brothers do when we hug. He has the same wrinkle in his top lip and the corners of his mouth don’t curve up like mine do but by the squint of his eyes, you can tell he is smiling. His shoulders move up and down just like Zack’s when he is truly laughing. His hair is two shades darker than mine but coarse and wavy, it peeks out like a frow under his truck stop hat just like it did in the pictures my mom kept.
The wait was over and after what seemed like an eternity, giving birth to my daughter brought everything to reality. I got to see her nose, the way her mouth held close like mine and the way that she reached for me. I finally got to see what I had created with the help of another human being. We got to see who she looked like more and what features she received from whom.
Same as the wait was over for me. I got to see how much I was or wasn’t like my dad. He got to see the person he helped make grown up to be a young (I am not 30 yet) woman and how I looked or didn’t look like him. I have his shoulders, I stand like him, and to be honest I think in temperament, I am more like he is that my brother. (They won’t admit it but my brother and my mom act just alike) I am my father in more ways than I even imagined. It is hard to pass judgment when something is missing in your life to say that you are strictly like the parent you are raised by but in this case, I see myself in my father more and more every day. I also see how much my brother is like him. If there was a perfect mix of two children between their parents, it is my brother and me. I left him from the meet and greet completely in awe and fascinated that I was so close, yet so far away from him all of these years.
When you birth a child, you stare at them in complete awe that they were so close inside of you, yet so far away because you could not see them, speak to them, and realistically touch them to know what you have been missing. The anticipation is almost too much to bare and then when that moment finally arrives, your life is complete. All the wonder, all the thoughts and questions are no longer. The only questions left to remain is what does the future hold?
Sometimes it isn’t about the physical gain that I get from running. Sometimes it isn’t about being behind my music pushing me forward. Sometimes it is just being, in nature, with the colors of the trees, grass with the pavement navigating through the woods.
When I run with Julie, life makes sense. We beat each other up and reward each other with every step that we take together. She is truly my soul sister. We met on the race course by literally running into each other and with her battling vertigo; my nickname soon became “seeing eye runner” with the next races because of my pink earmuffs she could focus on to get through a race. The second our arms touched, I knew that she was going to be what I needed in my life to push myself beyond comprehension in my running, my life, my thoughts and my emotions.
November 9 was the last race of the season. We both were mentally and physically beat down. Her right hip is sore, my left hip is sore. For the lack of better terms, we were a “hot” mess (She is waaay hotter than I). I was unaware of what this race would bring but I had set the bar too high (unknown until after the race). Daryl, her husband (the most amazing man I have met in my life, truly), paced us. I was unaware this was happening until through the race I said to him and her to go ahead and through the switching of songs, I heard both of them say, we are a team, we are not leaving you. My hip started in on me the first ½ mile and it was all downhill from there. I walked. A lot. Too much. Every time I started walking I could hear Julie (keeping it clean in this blog, dear reader)”Kick those demons out of your head, you got this, you ARE NOT giving up, do you hear me? Get your butt moving. YOU DO NOT HURT, KEEP MOVING.” When the finish line was upon us, I gave it every ounce of left over energy I had. I had to use the bathroom so bad, I gave the guy my tag and kept walking to the bathroom. I was going to cry and worry about my mixed emotions after that little/big task was taken care of. The second I stepped out of the bathroom and Julie was still right next to me, I let it all out. I was defeated, I was broken. I had the worst time of the season and I let my hip dictate my feelings. I let my hip decide how I was going to feel and what I was going to do that day. That is when I decided that this hip issue was not an injury I could nurse and some sort of professional was needed. Let me just be clear on something. Not only did I have Julie standing there, her amazing husband, who I adore, Daryl (can you tell I dig the hell out of this new brother I have?)was right next to her waiting to catch me. Then Steven (I learned to put my phone on airplane mode when I run now, thanks for calling in the middle of my race J ) and his daughter to greet me. (Steven is also a phenomenal human being that I met through running) Seeing both of them coming to support our running group when it was far too cold, especially me, put my heart in the right place. I may have not run the fastest time (probably my worst, in fact) but I did it and I have the best people in the world to support me.
As a group, it is our unspoken rule that we walk back to the finish line and wait for the rest of us to come through (and cheer on those we don’t know). Matt was next with his half marathon. Let me tell you something about this man and his family. HOLY LOVE BATMAN!!! He has the coolest story and is the best motivator for anyone who just needs a purpose. He will give you on or make you feel extremely guilty and you will start running or biking or swimming anyway (ALL the micros are good at that too). It was getting where most of the people in our group had come through and we were making decisions about food. And extras what to do after the race.
There is still one person who I make the decision not to leave in this race, even though she went way farther (always has) and faster than I. My sister. For certain reasons, I will leave all of the scary logistics out of it but we have always run each other in to the finish line if one got done before the other. More like she would always run me into the finish line when I was approaching, because I am a sloth. This was my chance to do that for her. After much debate on whether or not I thought she would accept it. There are things that I don’t have to say to her and she gets my heart, she understands what I need to say, without saying it. So I did. Seeing her accomplish a goal with a heavy heart and laden with a burden, and putting herself in a vulnerable situation that only running could cure, was eye opening and a very beautiful experience. I needed her to know that no matter what, our sisterly unspoken rule was not any different because of other things that were going on, as to why I wouldn’t run her into accomplishing her goal. I didn’t get to see her crush her first half marathon I ran with her, BUT I was there for the second, and it was BEAUTIFUL. She is beautiful, even in sweat.
After this race, I decided to actually take care of my hip, nurse it, lift more to make it stronger, and actually listen to my body. Listening to my body has been a crazy ride BUT I think I may have got the hang of it. It is a start to understanding my addiction and the way that this food addiction trying to contain my body and trick it into thinking that unhealthy food in large amounts is a must. Listen, learn, and move forward in good decision is probably the biggest thing I have learned about my body and life in the last year of racing. Here is to another year of being healthy and racing and most importantly, showing my daughter that life is you deciding to live it.
November 11th my life changed forever. It changed in a way that I will never be able to put fully into words but here I am going to try. This is the day that I met my father, the man who took a part in creating me. It was the most reviving yet scary experience of my life. THIS was the day that I was either going to be completely heart broken or feel like my heart has been filled with something that I have been missing for 26 years. 9 days after my birthday and I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday gift. 2013 has definitely blessed me in more ways than I could ever thank the Lord for.
I was in communication with my father for most of the week prior. He had mentioned that he was going to be in Michigan picking up a trailer to take to Texas. It didn’t take me very long (which I, myself am too surprised about) to say that he should let me know and we can seize the opportunity to meet. After those words came out of my mouth, I didn’t even feel like reaching back for them. It was a very natural thing for me to say. Being in Detroit most of the weekend, he made his way to Alma and I drove from my house to Alma to meet him.
Pulling in I felt shaky, my palms started to sweat. I started to wonder if this decision was really happening, still no hesitation if it was right. It had felt right the whole way in there.
He hugs like he has hugged me every day since I was 2 years old. He hugs like he has never missed a birthday, my graduations, or the birth of my daughter. He hugs like none of that mattered because I had him there, now, in that moment, and that really was all that mattered. The instant I climbed in his arms, my heart filled and the whiskers I have been missing against my forehead were finally there. It was way more than I was expecting in a very good way. I never needed him to say that he loved me before when he wasn’t there. I always felt it. I always felt like I had this man who loved me and now I get to hear it instead of it whispering in the back of my mind. He never left because he had to. He left because he knew he would not be good for my brother and I. He knew that his addictions and life decisions would not be a good influence on what my brother and I needed.
I do recognize that this does not mean that I healed with my addiction from food. This is just the start to healing as I have many things that have happened in my life that have evoked me to condone such an addition. BUT…this is the perfect start, the perfect beginning to my long road of healing. What I do find the best part of the healing is my need to feel wanted. I don’t have the high anxiety if a man doesn’t want me. I understand my worth and I have the men in my life completed that a woman needs in her life. Sure, he doesn’t know how many boyfriends I have had or when I needed to just hug my dad because a boy said something wrong to me. He didn’t have the answers on why teenage boys were so mean 14 years ago. Even though I don’t need those answers, he is here now when I need to be calmed in the heat of my private life. He isn’t here to replace my mom, the work she has put into raising her kids, but he is here. There isn’t an amount of time that he needs to make up for. Why? Because we are in the here and now. We are not living in the past. I get to enjoy him today, tomorrow and in the future.
If this post seems a little jumbled, a little random of all my feelings. It should. This is how my brain is operating with my heart being so filled up with joy. With this long road of healing, I have to deal with these little things (including the randomness) one day at a time. This is all this life is. One day at a time. One BEAUTIFUL day at a time.