Once one season of my life ends and another begins, I find the song “Dog Days Are Over” by Florence and the Machine come up on my running playlist more often than not. It’s not that the particular season I was in was anything terrible, but I definitely seem to carry a bit of nostalgia and even a little sadness for the past.
Happiness hit her like a train on a track
Coming towards her stuck still no turning back
She hid it ’round corners and she hid it under beds
She killed it with kisses and from it she fled
With every bubble she sank with her drink
And washed it away down the kitchen sink
The dog days are over
The dog days are done
The horses are coming
So you better run
Run fast for your mother, run fast for your father
Run for your children, for your sisters and brothers
Leave all your love and your longing behind
You can’t carry it with you if you want to survive
I’m now entering the next season of my life. Last year, I welcomed the birth of our fourth child in November and celebrated the seasons with my children by spending as much time together and as happily as we possibly could.
We survived that Winter, with all it’s holidays and all-nighters. With the help of my village, I miraculously got myself and the kids where we needed to be – physically and mentally. When I look back now, I remember it being tough adding a new baby to our already big brood of boys, but I look back and I am immensely happy and proud of last Winter.
My children and I ran hundreds of miles until my 32nd week of pregnancy. Most likely, you would find us on a warm Summer afternoon in our shorts and running shoes. I’d be pushing two in the stroller, my baby bump gently knocking the handles, and my oldest would be peddling his bike slightly ahead of me. Some days, he’d yell back at me, “Come on, Mama!” and other days we’d need more water breaks and maybe cut out that third loop around our neighborhood.
After the birth of our fourth son, I maybe not-so easily welcomed the “break” from activity. I worried about losing my love for running. When I don’t run, stress more easily consumes me, and instead of resting tried to force myself into as many other activities as I could with a new baby. Sometimes, I’d check the mail and looking down the street without being able to run would make me sad.
Thankfully, the longer I let myself heal the shorter the waves of change would worry me. I started to adapt us all to our new way of life and I reveled in the midnight cuddles with my newborn and the extra time with my kids nestled on our living room floor. Even though I thought I may never love to run again, in no time I seemed to step out for the first painful mile after having a baby. Slowly, the sky began to open up again, as it does for all us parents. The Winter nights turned into longer Spring days and my postpartum 3 mile run turned into 4 miles. Then 5, then 6, and now I feel freakin’ unstoppable, baby.
Now, it’s Summer 2016 and I have the most rambunctious 7-month-old boy on my hands in addition to his adoring rambunctious 6, 4.5 and nearly 3-year-old big brothers! There isn’t much more I need to write to explain to you but that having 4 boys is absolutely insane, terrifying and has made life positively wonderful. I’ve shared in a few runs with the kids but it is nothing like last year. My husband has taken over hanging with the kids while mom runs and it’s how I like it to be right now. I have the time with the kids and my husband, and I have my “mommy time” for running. It is the best way I can find happiness and balance.
Sure, some days, I yell too much. Some days, I take my entire day out on the entire family. Some days, you’ve never met another mother as sweet as me. Most days, I am trying as hard as I possibly can! I like to think I am the most patient person you have ever met, and some days, four boys would break anybody. I’m so proud of my journey. Like running, I try to constantly be moving forward and evolving to the best version of myself I can be. I’ve been learning that life is a team sport and it’s no fun to play by yourself!
Thank you to all of you who have supported my family and I over the last year! Cheers to more and more happy times ahead.