Tarzan, my periodically sweet 5-year-old. woke up this morning replaced by Tarzan-o-saurus Rex.
The first thing he did was throw a Jurassic Park-sized tantrum over a Krispy Kreme doughnut.
I’m not kidding. He took no prisoners.
I bought Krispy Kremes for Tarzan and Jane (a rare treat) a few days ago and I made a point of dividing them equally. Tarzan finished his last doughnut the day before and this morning he wanted me to short Jane and give him the last one.
“I hate you,” Tarzan screamed at me when I didn’t relent, “You lie. You don’t love me.”
Fighting words for a kindergartner … and all over stupid, artery-clogging fried dough.
(I guess that will teach me for buying glazed goods …)
He exhausted the better part of an hour yelling, crying, demanding his way. He woke up his sister, refused to get dressed, or cooperate, or eat anything else, and kept screaming.
I thought I was going to lose my marbles.
Thank God kindergarten drop-off arrived by noon and I ran today.
Before kindergarten a neighbor took Tarzan for a play date with her son. (We trade off and help each other regularly.) I could have kissed her when Tarzan went to her house today. She and a guardian angel out there saved me.
I worked while he gone. I picked Tarzan up right before noon, gave him lunch and took him to school.
Once he was gone again … I ran out my frustrations with him… hard.
I ran and I prayed … for a reason to be grateful again because today motherhood felt like punishment, not grace.
A friend of mine, another mom with a challenging child, summarized it perfectly the other day when we were chatting. Sometimes you get a “plus-kid” — the kind who no matter what you do or how many times you set boundaries the child demands more, more, more … of you.
Such moments remind me of that scene in “Jurassic Park” where the raptors peck at the fence, looking for weaknesses to break down.
I can no sooner let my guard down before Tarzan’s off testing my mettle, patience and sanity.
The good side is, if I can channel his tenacity into something positive he’s going to be an incredible young man some day. (Please God, help me do it.)
Recently I read a book, “A Thousand Gifts,” by Ann Voskamp. In it she challenges herself to journal a thousand gifts of gratitude in her own life, referring to eucharisteo — “giving thanks” in Greek. (It’s also where the phrase, Eucharist, derives.)
Her observations are deeply moving and spiritual. She has an exquisite command of language and imagery — a “writer’s writer” who polishes phrases into jewels.
Anyway, my point is Voskamp, the author, is a farmer’s wife who home-schools six children (I think I’d be shooting staples into my forehead if that were me, especially after today) and she’s able to identify all this gratitude in her life, in the big and the small ways, in the beautiful and the tragic, and yes, even when her children drive her nuts like Tarzan did with me today. It’s an incredible read.
As I ran today I hunted and pecked, raptor-style, for my own lost gratitude.
I began to count and create my own “runner’s eucharisteo” — the large and small gifts, extraordinary and everyday — brought into my life.
1. The warm sun on my face.
2. The Colorado Rockies in the distance.
3. The tranquility after the emotional “storms” (such as today’s)
4. Time alone with my thoughts, able to hash things out.
5. The endless blue skies above me and the slight golden changing of the leaves.
6. The sweat on my body (cleansing away my anger)
7. My Dayglo-yellow water bottles I carry on my fuel belt.
8. The delicious taste of cold water on my parched lips.
9. The friend who watched my son today while I worked.
10. A body fit enough to keep moving forward (and that took me to the Boston Marathon).
11. The sound of my feet striding on dirt and pavement.
12. People who read this blog and cheer me on.
13. The smile and waves of people on my path today.
14. Running partners and friendships.
15. My digital running buddies on Dailymile.com and Facebook.
16. Getting to witness other athlete’s stories, hard work and progress.
17. Feeling my muscles work hard and push.
18. Looking down at my Garmin and the surprise of seeing I’m faster (or slower) than I thought.
19. Enjoying a hot shower after a run.
20. The smell of cut grass by the golf course along my path.
I hope you see where I’m going with this … the gratitude began to drain away my anger and replaced it with … ta-da … joy!
Eucharisteo, runner’s style, pulled me out from the morning’s muck.
21. The fortitude to nurture a little boy with a penchant for pushing boundaries.
22. Participating in Kids Running America — a running program at my children’s school.
23. Running downhill, holding Tarzan’s hand, during a recent Kids Running America session.
24. Accepting his apology later today.
25. The strength to move past Krispy Kremes and Tarzan-o-saurus Rex. (Next time, however, I’ll pass on buying doughnuts.)
The day is over now and I have much more to be thankful for, then not.
A runner’s eucharisteo — I’m sure I could count to a thousand on my own list.
Give it a try.
Aging is inevitable, but growing old is a choice. Lace up your shoes, and let’s go!
Mileage today; 7; Mileage since 602.1