I think my downward spiral began when my father passed away in the fall of 2008. We were not close. Our relationship was strained. We did not talk very much in his final years. His death was a surprise and yet it wasn't. It brought out a lot of emotional baggage that was locked away in hidden caverns. I was 7 months pregnant with my second child. Part of me was saddened by his passing, and the other part was relieved. After the holidays, I assumed I would have time to prepare for the birth of my daughter. She had other plans and decided to grace us with her presence two weeks early. So much for quality time with my little boy. It was a fast and entertaining experience, which is appropriate for some other blog. One month later, my husband received a promotion which required us to relocate to Virginia. Here I was with a toddler and an infant packing our apartment on my own. We had some wonderful times in VA. We did a lot of exploring and made some friends, but I went from being a working mom to a stay-at-home mom in an unfamiliar place and no family. There are only so many times one can sing the Wiggle's "Hot Potato" before going insane. Eight months after our arrival in VA and after I finally unpacked the last box, my husband got transferred back to NJ. So off he goes and there I was packing on my own. Again. With two little ones. Because it was just two weeks before Christmas, we opted to stay in a hotel until we could find a place to live. Six months later, we bought a foreclosed townhouse that needed some repairs. First, living in a hotel for six months sounds like fun. It is not. Especially with kids and no kitchen to cook from. Second, buying an "as is" home from a bank is one giant headache.
Despite the hassle of banks and mortgage companies, we were thrilled to have a place to call our own. We fixed and painted it to make the property habitable and moved in. We were there for three months before we needed to move my mother in with us. She has Alzheimer's and it got to the point where she just couldn't be on her own anymore. Months later, my husband lost his job. I worked a lot but still could not keep up with the bills. We were drowning. The stress was mounting and my marriage was crumbling. The kids were feeding off the stress and acting out. Mom's behavior grew more childlike everyday. I was losing my temper constantly. I cried everyday. I saw a psychologist and she told me I had "Caregiver's Stress." My husband and I saw a marriage counselor but she kept having us point out the negative things in one another...as if we weren't already doing that at home. (Btw, how is that supposed to help?)
One sleepless night in December 2011, my brain conjured up an image of me running through the park nearby. The image was of me breezing along a path, light as air, singing "tra, la, la." I laughed at the idea because as I said before, I hated to run. Plus, I don't "tra, la, la" when I am miserable. The next morning, despite my reservations, I took off for a run. I was running away from my life without running away from my responsibilities and it felt good. Then, 0.25 miles in, I stopped and gasped for air. How can I be out of breath?! I'm fit! I work out. How pathetic am I that I can't get through my neighborhood?! I walked for a couple of minutes then jogged again. This walk/jog continued for what I thought was four miles. In reality it was just under 2. Silly me. But the following week I did it again.
Then I ran a New Year's Day Resolution Run. My goal was to be able to run the entire course without walking. I didn't care how slow I went, as long as I maintained a jogging or shuffling motion. I did it with a time of 36:21:35. I was excited and my family was there at the end to congratulate me. In fact, my kids jumped in at the last minute and crossed the finish line with me. For the first time in a while I was happy. That day I made my 2012 Resolution...to run one 5k race a month.