Freeze

“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson

My brother-in-law recently texted me a picture from my New York trip that he had taken of my younger two kids walking with my niece, each holding her hand.  Inadvertently, he had also captured my oldest and I walking in front of them, with our arms around each other.  I looked at the picture, and for the first time in probably over 20 years, I thought about how I would just like to freeze time.

When I came back from my trip to New York City, that first home run again reminded me that my favorite place to run is still at home….on the path I most often take…by myself.  It is the path that knows my stories, has absorbed my sweat and tears, the path where I get lost without getting lost.  When I run somewhere new, the run is about discovering the new location through my own 2 feet…. the sights, the sounds, the smells, the people….I’m looking around at the new surroundings, making sure that I don’t get lost, keeping a mental log of where I take turns so that I’ll know my way back.  When I run at home over routes I’ve covered hundreds of times, I’m oblivious to my surroundings…I’m lost in myself.

I’ve spent the last 20 years looking forward to what’s next or a better phase in my life….medical school graduation which coincided with my wedding weekend….passing various certifying exams…have a kid…finish residency…get a job…have a kid…move…change job…next kid…move…next kid….when will they all be out of diapers…when will they all shower on their own….find good schools, change school districts…I won’t bore you, I’m sure you can imagine it for yourself.  I’d find one phase of my life stressful and think that the next phase might be better, and the next phase was just a different kind of stress.  Interspersed, I’d look forward to major events like a sister’s wedding or a vacation….and the time in between these major events was not really living as it should be…..going through the motions of day-to-day life for a few months at a time….awaiting an event that is a weekend or a week….and then starting the cycle again.

Looking at that picture of my son and I walking with our arms around each other…. I want to freeze time.  My kids are all at a good age and place right now.  If I’d been walking in the street with my oldest(14) close to our home, he probably wouldn’t have walked arm in arm with me…but in New York, he did.  When I am giving him a ride to a friend’s and the two of us are alone in a car, he will let me hold his hand….but how much longer will he be ok with doing it…he won’t need me for rides in just over a year…. And I only have him at home for another 3 years….

And I don’t want to freeze time just because the kids are now all at an age where we can enjoy our time together, but also because I just enjoy my every day life right now.  It is because of running and finding myself on the run…after years of furiously treading water….that I am doing that….

I don’t really wish that I could go back and tell my old self, the mother of 3 little kids who was trying to hold everything together, to stop trying to hold everything together by putting herself last….that if she would find a passion that is all her own and put herself on the list, then everything would come together and she wouldn’t have to look forward to a better phase….that her children would benefit more from a mother who is happy and has taken time for herself even if it means that sometimes there is no milk or bread in the house….I don’t wish I could tell her to live differently, to enjoy everyday, to have her own identity, to not mark time like that…I’m not going to dwell on my past and what I didn’t do…I’m not going to sit here and have regrets….because every part of my past has led to the person that I am…sitting here and writing this and cherishing the moment today….  But I am going to tell you that if you are reading this and you see yourself in the old me, then please take my advice…. don’t tread water doing the doggie paddle if you can learn the butterfly.

Last summer we took a trip to Italy, and for months before I was looking forward to running in Rome, Venice, and Florence…. In a couple of months we are going to Spain, and while I’m looking forward to discovering Madrid and Barcelona through early morning runs on my own, I don’t look any more forward to those runs than to the one tomorrow morning in my very own neighborhood.  I’m not counting down the days to my trip.  I’m excited about the NYC marathon in November….but I’m not counting down the days to it.  I’m not counting down the days to anything.  My every day life with my every day run is just as enjoyable as anything else.  I’m just as excited about tomorrow, about today, than any day that lies ahead.

freeze

The picture my brother-in-law sent me….zoomed in to show my son and I walking with our arms around each other….(and my younger two with my niece)

About Paria

Runner, mother, pediatrician, blogger

25 comments on “Freeze

  1. Thank you Paria for sharing, beautifully said. Your blogs always make me cry and are exactly what I need to hear! Cheers to you enjoying everyday as it comes and encouraging all of us mama runners to do the same. 🙂

  2. All of a sudden I look at my boys, mostly grown, and think to myself, where did the time go? As much as I try to be engaged and mindful, the days pass by really quickly. Like you, my favorite runs are the ones I get to do at home because it’s my time to reflect on everything–it’s my place and my time to just lose myself.

    I wish my boys would let me put my arm around them! My youngest–maybe. My oldest? Well, I did have that moment after the Chicago marathon…

    • Exacly Wendy…your boys are a little older….so I know that my days of being able to put my arm around my son or hold his hand are numbered…

  3. What a beautiful picture and a beautiful post! Paria, I am treading water. Treading water big time and sometimes not well! I feel like I’m drowning in responsibilities both at work and at home. Sometimes it is overwhelming. I feel this post was written with me in mind. My 7 mo old son reached out the other day and grabbed my cheeks with his chubby little hands and pulled my face to his so his little open mouth went right to my lips. I have no idea if its even possible for a 7 mo old to express affection like that or if it was a complete coincidence but as far as I’m concerned that was the first time that my baby ever gave me a kiss. And shortly after it happened, I was rocking him during his bed time routine thinking there will be a day when this little boy won’t let me cuddle him, or giggle when I kiss his cheeks, or curl up with his head nuzzled into my neck when its time for a nap. And I started to cry. I spend so much time in survival mode willing myself forward by telling myself that its going to get easier when he can hold his bottle, or walk, or feed himself, or tell me what’s wrong. But, I know in my heart that when those milestones happen I will look back and miss my baby being so dependent on me. Your post is such a good reminder that it goes too fast! And if putting myself first some times gives me the patience and focus to enjoy the present moment, than its nothing to feel guilty about. Thank you!

    • Shana, if you go to the “best of” tab, there is a post called “oxygen mask”…my own favorite about how I was drowning…drowning big time… Reading your comment makes me want to cry… your baby did kiss you…and it is so normal to be overwhelmed and emotional and feel like you are barely making it… I promise that if you put yourself first sometimes, it will benefit both of you..it will allow you to be more present in the moments that you are with him… Thank you for your comment. (and congrats Villanova…my husband is from Philly)

  4. It is true that the past decisions and experiences have molded who we are today and there is no point in rethinking decisions. I look my kids now 15 & 19 and so wish I could freeze them. I feel like everything went by so quickly and I am about to lose them to adulthood and their own lives. I spent so much time when they were younger wishing the day would be over and wondering how I would get through it all. Funny how that happens.

    • Technically one of your kids is an adult now…. I guess when they are adults the relationship just keeps evolving, and that will have it’s own pleasures, but for now, I want our relationship to stay as is:)

  5. Such wise reflections Paria. Yes! Being present is always something I want more of in my life but human nature tends to work against this sometimes… looking forward to dreams and back on memories but so hard to truly LIVE in THIS moment!

    • What I left out in this post is that my husband used to also do the same…look forward to the next thing even more than I did…and he has also gotten much better about enjoying the present…fortunately our evolution has been in the same direction…thank you:)

  6. I saw this post on Instagram and came by to read it. I always wish we could freeze time. I think that’s why it’s so important to remind ourselves to live in the moment as much as we can. This post is a great reminder – thanks for putting it so beautifully Paria:)

  7. It takes a shift in your perspective to look at your daily life, and find the joy in it. To enjoy each and every moment (even the moments in between). One of the things I tell myself as I’m waking up is that “It’s a new day.” Changes my outlook instantly.

    I have to admit that I still look forward to the events that break up the daily life. However, in the last few years, I think of them more like “bonus” days. 🙂

  8. I read this a few days ago and it’s been resonating with me. I constantly want to freeze time. This time last year I was just over 40 weeks pregnant and ready to meet my new person. Now that little man is nearly 1 and I can’t believe a year has gone. Every day I just soak him and his brother up because they are changing and growing sooooo quickly.

    And the part about your favorite runs at home – yes, yes, yes. I totally get that and love getting into that zone where you can really space out and just be alone with your thoughts without thinking about directions or time. I’m just getting to that point with my new area, but it’s taken a while.

    • I’m glad your are wanting to freeze time with your kids growing much earlier that I did…maybe that you already have running is a big help in being able to appreciate them. And I’m glad you are getting those “home” run feelings in your new area:)

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