Mother’s Day dawned wet and dreary, with a windy chill in the air. I was exhausted from my girlfriend getaway I’d just returned from, and I felt the let-down Sunday usually brings. I was greeted with gifts and cuddles from my family, which I appreciated, but I just can’t stand the expectations of this particular holiday.
We went to church and I lurched out of my funk quickly upon seeing Alistair, my three-year old son, singing a song about mothers from the stage. He waved proudly and then sprinted to us before the number was over.
But when we arrived home the tiredness and gloom settled upon our apartment again. My husband wanted to nap and Alistair needed a nap, so I just joined them, knowing I’m a ‘bad napper.’ I usually wake up feeling guilty, not refreshed.
This proved to be the case. I woke up disoriented, feeling sad about missing my own mom (who is in a long term care situation over 4 hours away) and guilty about all of the Mother’s Day chocolates and feeling that, as predicted, this holiday wasn’t living up what it ‘should’ be.
Alex took Alistair to the grocery store to thoughtfully by the makings of my favorite dinner. While gone, I contemplated laying on the couch and eating chocolate. But I knew I’d feel even worse. I needed air, no matter how wet.
I proclaimed I was going to go work out. I arrived at the YMCA to find the place deserted, especially of women. But I felt an immediate lift just being there, knowing I was going to do something.
I contemplated this blog and thought, “This is a win. It’s a small win, but I’m here. I’ll photo chart my journey and write a post about the magic of the small win.”
I was even in my favorite shirt at the moment- Perfect Is Boring.
I began in earnest, pushing myself as I racked up some cardio.
But it was HARD, much harder than my usual trips to the gym. I only managed 20 minutes and a mile.
And the darn machine timed out before I could even photograph my stats (see above) I tried some weight machines but was intimidated by all of the dude-bros.
The lack of any other women started to get to me. “They’re all having a great time with their families, and I’m here with a pathetic mile to walk.”
I’m not generally pessimistic, and I’m not generally gloomy, but this was SUCH.A.GLOOMY.DAY.
I went to the exit, mopping my brow with a towel and then wondering why, as it was a torrential down pour at this point.
A man came running up to me with a bracelet. “Is this yours?” he asked. It was. And one of my favorite pieces, purchased from Top Shop in Edinburgh with an emotional attachment.
Something about his thoughtfulness cheered me up.
I was incredibly hot, and decided on a whim what I really wanted was stand in the rain.
So I did. I let it pour down on me as I slowly walked to the car. I did the cliché thing, putting my hands out and letting it drip over me while I looked up in to the cloudy sky.
I jumped into my car damp and shivering, a few tears springing to my eyes as well. I couldn’t place them. Relief tears? Missing-my-mom-on-Mother’s Day tears? Tears celebrating my teeny tiny win on the elliptical? I wasn’t sure.
I drove home and felt a release. The release of the expectations I’d put on myself and others. The release of the longing for my own mother, so far away in too many ways. The release of the idea that my small win was the one mile at the gym.
Because my small win WASN’T the work-out. It was letting myself feel what I needed to feel, and not feeling guilty about it.
It’s important to celebrate the small wins, for sure.
And after I pulled in to park the car at home, I realized my face was a mixture of rain, sweat and tears.
I took this photo to document the ‘Small Win.’
Later that evening I contemplated the amazing weekend I’d had in Winnipeg. I thought again about Alistair waving to me from the front of the church. I thought of the delicious meal my husband prepared to celebrate me in my role as a mother.
I almost felt selfish for my earlier cry. Until I reminded myself….. THAT was my small win of the day.
Sometimes we need to remind ourselves of the good things, but we ALWAYS need to remind ourselves that we are human.
Rain, sweat, tears and all.
Flowers from Winnipeg.