When I was in high school, I knew EXACTLY where my Mom kept her cigarettes. Occasionally, when I didn’t have enough money to buy a pack, I’d bum one or two – Virginia Slims, soft pack. So many memories and fun facts to share. One fun fact relates to the ease of purchasing the butts. Retailers, especially ‘Joe’ from the 7-Eleven, barely checked ID AND I distinctly remember paying under $2 for a pack. YES A WHOLE PACK. Years later, before I left Staten Island, a pack of cigarettes cost just about $10. And let me tell you, the ridiculous price of cigarettes was not a deterrent, just an obstacle that any hardcore smoker would overcome. But this story isn’t about smoking. It’s about forward progress.
Last night, we (as in the family) piled into the car to make our way to dinner. We called ahead, which actually proved to be successful, leaving us five minutes of wait time in the establishment’s under-construction waiting area. I sat next to a beautifully pregnant woman who immediately started firing questions at me. “How old are your girls?”, “How is it with two?”, “Should I keep my oldest in day care while I stay home with the baby?” Wow. Interestingly enough, her daughter is the same age Ava was when I had Allison. Our buzzer went off. Before leaving, I gave her two pieces of advice - “Keep your daughter in day care. It will help maintain some consistency and give you time to bond with the baby. Finally, nap when the baby naps.” That is all.
Dinner was enjoyable. Don’t get me wrong – I love having meal times with my family, but when we’re an hour out from bedtime and the youngest is confined (or in her mind, trapped) in a high chair I expect meltdown central. The kids got along, the hubbs and I were able to have adult conversations and I had minimal food to pick up off the floor. Hard to imagine the latter considering the kids’ dinner selection.
Love my ladies.
We arrived home to get the kids ready for bed. Hubbs needed to get up early for an 8 am hockey game and I was running a 5K. Before turning in, we both discussed how well the girls behaved, which contributed to us having a lovely evening. Our sympathetic thoughts shifted to the overly pregnant woman in the waiting area - “Enjoy that dinner, babe. It might be your last meal outing for a while.” We chuckled. But not in an evil way…much.
Fighting a head cold, I tripped up the stairs and downed an adult dose of liquid nighttime medicine. Soon, I would be off to la la land. I started to get nervous about the morning’s race. I could barely breathe through my nose; I couldn’t imagine running with the double stroller. I couldn’t imagine running with TWO KIDS in the double stroller. I snuggled under the covers and reached for my phone. I set my alarm and navigated to the event website for directions to the race start. There is a moment in time, after taking said medicine, where you’re quickly pushed into another dimension. I felt like I was falling, but I barely moved. My fingers glided in slow motion across the phone, searching for information. I started to peel through the race pictures from 2011 – the first and last year I ran this race. I found this gem of a photo.
With a faint smile on my face, I remember so much about this day. Allison was about 9 or so weeks old and Ava was 3 1/2. Marcus was playing in a hockey tournament (as he also did today), so it would be a solo adventure with two kids. The race would also be my first 5K since baby. My girlfriend, Karen, had also signed up. This would be her first 5K. PERIOD. What a great day! That picture – little babies, 25 lbs heavier, brand new stroller – inspired me. You’ve come a long way to let some crappy head cold spoil the greatness in store. Yeah, and with that, I passed out. Probably drooled.
I woke before my alarm with no NyQuil hangover. Yay! Not missing a step, I got myself ready, packed the bag full of snacks, drinks, diapers, wipes and the kitchen sink and got the kids situated. Finally, the forecast featured feathery clouds with plenty of sunshine and the course promised rolling hills. I’m not used to pushing the ladies much anymore; obviously, as they get older they get heavier. They continued to be my biggest cheering section while chanting ‘Go, Mommy, Go!’ during two crucial spots on the path. We finished, with a respectable time, on a downhill. I took a moment to catch my breath while stretching my hamstrings. My girl Karen (running this race for the third year IN A ROW) grabbed water for me which I couldn’t drink fast enough.
I took another moment.
I’ve come a long way. It’s been a hell of a journey. Let the good times roll.