Tuesday, April 23, 2013

still here

I always assumed that the Boston Marathon would be a "one and done" type situation for me.  Its not cheap to fly to Boston.  Its definitely not cheap to stay in Boston.  And I feel guilty and selfish basing our getaway weekends around going for a very long run.

So I was determined to soak up absolutely everything about the marathon.  And I did.  We had a blast eating at a fabulous restaurant in the North End.  We sang "Sweet Caroline" as we cheered on the Red Sox (and my new favorite AL player - Dustin Pedroia).  We saw Desiree Davila and Josh Cox at the amazing expo.  We mastered (ok, floundered along but figured out) the T.  We saw the performers at Faneuil Hall.  I ran my best race ever.  In the most amazing place ever. With the most awesome spectators ever.  I felt satisfied.

And now I don't.  It wasn't finished like I wanted.  I would go back to Boston tomorrow and just sit and remember and heal a little bit if I could.  But life doesn't go like that and I'm chin deep in moving plans and end of the year festivities.

But I still want to go back.  I want to run that marathon again and make it the experience that I wanted - but make it in full.  I don't even care if I PR again next time.  I just want to be there.  To have that bond together with so many others who were touched so deeply by this tragedy.

I don't know if it will happen. I haven't even broached the subject here at casa T knowing that as my husband is still reeling the cost of the last trip might not be the best time to tell him I'm ready to book the next trip.  I almost booked a Boston hotel for next year today - was one click away but stopped when I realized that although the reservation has a no cancellation penalty until 36 hours before check in, I would still be charged the full amount today.  I decided not to see what something like that showing up on the credit card would do to my sweet love (even if the savings are over 50% what they are around marathon booking time).

I'm feeling more like myself every day.  Less sleepy.  I didn't even take a nap two days in a row now.  That must be progress.  Thanks for all the love, care and prayers.  I can feel them.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The days after

How am I doing?

Its a question I'm getting asked a lot lately.  And for some reason the usual response of "Great, and you?" isn't cutting it.

I haven't tried out my actual desired response yet which is "I'm crappy.  Looking for a hole to hide in. Please pretend like you don't see me".  I fear it would not be well received and possibly viewed as bitchy. Who, me?

I really am so very grateful for everyone's concern.  But the combination of a blog post that had about 20x's more viewership than a usual post, a front page newspaper quote and the general care and concern of so many sweet acquaintances has me wanting to run for cover.

I'm weird.  That is how I am.  I don't know how I am supposed to be feeling.  I cry.  I get sad.  I get mad.  I snap at my kids and wonder how someone who just had the experience I did could possibly be snapping at her kids.  I want to sleep.  Like, a lot.

Today I went for a run.  I didn't care what training books or post-marathon recovery articles recommend I needed today's run like I need oxygen.  I felt the tears starting before I even locked up my car and hit the road.  I ran with a tissue.  I turned up my music.  Loud.  I ran faster than I should have.  I ran longer than I should have.  When I was done I started to feel a little like me again for the first time in days.

I feel silly.  I feel like I should not feel so different.  So raw.  I didn't see the carnage.  I wasn't on the scene.  What is wrong with me?

My brother, the wise judge, and my husband, the wise psychologian (long time joke, no time to explain) assure me nothing is wrong with me.  That this is normal.  But I feel broken.  I feel like my heart, my natural optimism, my desire to believe and hope for the best might not be the same ever again.

For now I'm going to keep taking naps.  Keep running.  Keep apologizing to my kids.  Keep forcing myself out of my shell -my brother made me promise I would keep a date with some girlfriends tomorrow for our monthly accountability and sharing time.  Keep praying for the people of Boston.  Keep praying for the wounded.  Keep praying for Christ to come quickly.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Boston Marathon

It's 5:56 a.m.

I can't sleep.

Yesterday morning at this time I was nervously gulping down some oatmeal & double checking my official B.A.A. drop bag to make sure I had all my gear.  I was anxious to get on the road for the short trip to the bus boarding spot to Hopkinton.

Yesterday was a day that I had dreamed about for a long time.

And it was amazing.  It went perfectly.  The experience was every single thing I had hoped for and more.  Even down to a race run exactly as planned.

And then some bastard(s) took that away.  They took it away from me.  From every other runner who has worked so hard to get to this place.  From the amazing people of Boston.  From every spectator, fan, loved one, friend whose excitement tracking their runner's progress turned to horror and worry yesterday as the events unfolded.

My heart feels a little bit broken today.

I accomplished a huge goal yesterday but how can I rejoice in that when people are dead.  How can I possibly thrill in the mental replay of it all when people lay in the hospital fighting for their lives.  When people, too many to count at this point, have lost limbs.

Its hard to reconcile the ultimate highs that I felt yesterday with the fear and devastation that followed.  I'm still trying to wrap my head around it.  I knew that after the marathon there would be a let down factor after so many months of training and planning. I just never figured that it would play out like this.

Yesterday I was standing in the family meet-up spot designated for racers with the last name X.  Our group of 8 had no single letter in common in all of our last names so we decided for race day we would be the Xanakes family.  This spot is a little over a block from the finish.   The group had just reunited.  Together.  All of us.  We were preparing to head for the T station when a blast rocked us.  Silence fell.  Then another blast.  And more silence.  Slowly people began to shake their heads in confusion and fall back into conversation.  It was, after all, Patriot's Day and we figured maybe there was a cannon blast at Fenway Park, or something similar, to commemorate the day.  I told my friend that surely if it was something bad we would hear sirens.  And then the first ambulance came blazing down the crowded street with emergency responders yelling at us to get out of the way.  And then another ambulance.  Still we stood, confused, frozen.  And then the police began running down the street yelling for us to get out.  To run.

Run?  We had nothing left.  We were physically, mentally and emotionally depleted.  We didn't even know which direction we were supposed to run in.  The sirens and emergency responders were coming non-stop.  All telling us to go.  To go fast.  Our husbands guided us as best they could.  My one friend, barely able to walk, because she had injured her Achilles so much during her marathon.  We had no idea what had happened.  As we walked we saw a crowd spilling onto the sidewalk at a crowded cafe.  Everyone inside glued to the news on the television.  We peered in the windows and saw the first footage of the complete horror that had taken place just around a corner from where we had been.  A spot that less than an hour before had been a place of triumphant, mind-blowing joy.

Rumors were rampant that there were more bombs.  The buses were no where to be found.  The T stations had closed down.  Taxis were crammed full of people.  We ended up walking about 4 miles until finally we found a T stop that had reopened.  Should we get on it?  We knew that during a terror attack getting onto public transportation might not be the best option but what else were our choices.  We knew we could possibly walk the rest of the way back to Cambridge if we had to but we. were. so. tired.  We decided to chance it.  I had an overwhelming peace knowing that the Lord knew my days before I ever drew my first breathe.  Those days on this earth would be no more, or less, than what He had set out for me.

It was an uneventful, if quiet, ride back to Cambridge.  We got back to our house and sat numbly trying to process.  We almost cancelled our dinner reservations but decided that we really needed to go.  Staying home would do nothing but give the bad guys win again - to let them steal another piece of our joy.  We went.  We ate and we drank.  We laughed.  We also remembered.  How blessed we were to be safe.  To be enjoying one another's company.

I laid in bed last night and felt so deeply the disappointment and grief that so very many of my brother and sister runners and race fans were left with after yesterday.  And I woke up with it heavy on me today.  And I knew that I will NOT let them beat me.  We will rise above.  Next year the 118th Boston Marathon will be run.  And I guarantee it will be even more meaningful then any year previous.  Because the people of Boston are some amazing people.  And I know that they will not let the bad guys win either.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Some days.

Sometimes it just sucks.

There are those days when all the progress you felt like you'd made just seems to slip away.  The day when you see kids at school pairing off with friends to have fun play dates ... something that is probably so easy and effortless for them ... and you hurt for your son who has none.

Instead you take your son to the doctor to have a rash checked out.  The rash, along with a long string of little things, bring up the possibility of mono.  So you agree that to be safe rather than sorry you should do the mono test.  It requires a finger prick.  You know it won't be good, but you aren't prepared for just how not good it can be.  As your 8 year old sons screams, cries, wails, begs and pleads with you not to prick his finger you feel your calm slipping away.   His hysteria makes his sisters start crying and instead of feeling reassuring, soothing and loving you start to feel anger.  Anger that he can't just calm the flip down.  Anger that you can't reason with him when it comes to medical issues that require sharp implements of any kind.  Anger that the new P.A. you are seeing doesn't understand what is happening and his questions and surprise are only making things worse.

And then you just feel tired.  Why couldn't my son be the one skipping merrily off to a playdate after school.  Why can't it just be easier.  Why can't he just like doing the things the other boys in his class like doing so that they will want to play with him.

And right now I am overwhelmed and it has been a long day and I know it the light of morning things will seem better.  That I will remember that last month he had a great playdate with a friend from school (one of only a handful, ever).  That he is happy and thriving with his new ABA tutor.  That things have come so far from the little boy who used to eat his meals all by himself.

It will feel better. Maybe tomorrow.

Friday, April 5, 2013

It's Over

So, um, yeah, its been like 3 weeks since I blogged.  So I'll just let that speak for itself that I probably have not gotten this whole ADHD thing figured out.  However I do have an amazing, incredible, fantastic idea for an invention that would help me blog more regularly.  Are you ready?  Someone needs to get on this:
So when I'm running I have all of these amazing ideas for blogs come into my head.  Since you don't know what they are I can say they are amazing.  Like - life changing thoughts people.  You would be forever affected by these revelations that come into my head.  Problem is the minute I hit the stop button on my GPS all such thoughts disappear from my head.  I go from brilliant to boring in a millisecond.  ok, so that is the problem.  Are you ready for the solution?  I need a device that I can wire to my brain that will transcribe the million thought bites pinging around at the speed of light - and have them on a neat little word document for me when I sit down to my computer.  C'mon, I know some smart people.  Can someone get on that for me?  Thanks.

So you might know from my facebook page that Ryan's deployment has come to an end.  Praise God he is home safe and sound and we are so grateful.  That jittery feeling standing at the end of the airport walkway waiting for him to come around the bend never gets old.  Its an amazing experience and I can honestly say that I feel sorry for anyone who will never have that experience.  To welcome your hero home from war is a top life moment. So many of my military wive sisters know exactly what I am talking about that I forget sometimes that we are in the vast minority.  Anyway, its just incredible.

Having daddy home to tickle fight and jump on the trampoline and fire up the grill .... those are the things that I ache for in the long weeks and months when he is gone.  To have someone there to come up behind me and squeeze me while I am washing dishes.  To have him there when its time for prayers and kisses at bedtime (a time that I'm run down and rushing through when he is gone but can slow down and enjoy when he is here).  Having someone to share smiles and laughs with over our kids antics and cutenesses and stories.  All of those things just make my heart well up and the tears spill over with gratitude when we get him back.

But what I think some of us military wives don't share with the general public is that homecoming isn't all roses and champagne.  I think we are slow to share this because people will look at us like ungrateful jerks.    Or on the other side if we share that it is challenging they will assume our soldier is having PTSD and sitting around drinking whiskey out of the bottle and cleaning his guns.  And really its somewhere in the middle.  There is a bit of a letdown I think.  We focus so much on that date circled in red on the calendar that says "Daddy's Home" that we think "now what" when that date has come and gone.  Let's be honest people, there are some small benefits to having the hubby deployed.
1 - less laundry.  less man sized laundry.  less man sized stinky laundry containing workout clothes that have been ripening in the trunk of his car for a few days.
2 - less meal planning.  I mean I whine and complain about cooking when Ryan is gone but let's be honest that if I don't feel like making food I can throw some grilled cheese on the table and call it a night.  There is certainly no judgement from my little people.  They are thrilled to have a dinner that doesn't revolve around the question "how many bites of this do I have to eat".  So is there mom.
3 - less sports and Fox news.  Maybe this is just at my house.  But that 2nd night my hubs was home and I heard Bill O'Reilly's voice coming from my living room I realized I hadn't missed it even a little bit in the months he was gone.
4 - less compromise.  Not sure how much I need to explain this one.  When its just me I do what I want.
5 - less money spent on beer.  Which means more money spent on me.

I don't mean for this to come off as a big pity party.  I truly hope that list is funny or makes you smile because it is definitely a laughing matter around this house.  As we get back into our rythmn as a family and try to remember how to put the other first there will be bumps in the road.  Every time its a process to readjust.  But if anything military families are good at its finding the new normal.  And I have no doubt we will find it sooner rather than later.

In the meantime just so we don't get too used to each other my soldier is heading out again for a few days next week.  I joked to his boss it was probably good to give us a little bit of a breather from each other.  Like ha, ha  - its so funny I could cry.