Have you ever had one of those moments?
One of those Oh, shit moments?
Like when you’re in Disneyworld with your kids for the first time. And your first born, the precious child who made you a Mom, looks up at you with his bright blue eyes and his adorable toothy grin.
And he begs you to go on the Rockin’ Roller Coaster with him. “Please, Mommy? Please? We have to go on it. Together! Please?”
And your heart catches in your throat. And you say, “With you? I’ll go anywhere.”
And you ignore the butterflies in your stomach because you’re so focused on the magic of this moment and the memory you’re making that this child of yours will cherish for his entire lifetime.
He will write about it in his 4th grade Language Arts class. He will call it “My Favorite Spring Break Memory: The Time my Mom Rode the Rockin’ Roller Coaster With Me”.
And you wait in line, watching him talk animatedly. You nod your head in agreement and raise your eyebrows every now and then at what he’s saying. Even though you’re unable to hear a goddamn word over the roar of the roller coaster.
And then a car pulls up and stops directly in front of you. And you smile, squeeze your child’s hand and think, “Oh, boy, it’s our turn. We’re doing it. We are making a memory.”
And then you see something on the seat of that car. You tug on your eager child’s hand to stop him from sitting on it as you wonder, “What is that? It’s not gum. Is that a burrito?”
And the dude who is working the Rockin Roller Coaster suddenly whistles shrilly in your ear and yells, “Wait for the next car! Somebody puked in this one!”
And you hear your husband say to your Dad, “YES! It must be a good one! Somebody puked!”
And you remember that, since you’ve had kids, you can’t even get on the swingset in the backyard without feeling like you’re going to regurgitate the contents of your stomach. And forget the carousel at the mall. No chance you’re mounting one of those plastic ponies unless you’re prepared to barf into that plastic bag from the Children’s Place. All over your youngest son’s brand new tie.
That’s the moment.
The exact moment you think Oh, shit.
There’s no backing out. So you wait for the next car, squeeze your son’s hand, and pray you don’t boot all over him. And hope that you can enjoy it.
Oh, and that Language Arts essay you had high hopes for? It will now be titled “My Favorite Spring Break Memory: The Time Someone Puked all Over my Mom’s Seat on the Rockin Roller Coaster.”
And so it goes.
On April 1st, I received an email announcing this contest. A few hours later, I received the same email. This time, it was forwarded from my friend, Schuy (pronounced Sky). She had written, “This looks like fun. Want to do it with me?”
I replied, “Yep.” Or something prolific like that.
We had two full months…plenty of time…to get creative with our submission.
Factor 4 kids into the mix. And the madness that is the end of the school year. Toss in a few family birthdays. A husband who’s tackling a new gardening project. One boy running spring track. Another playing lacrosse. Same two boys dedicating an entire weekend in April to appear as extras in a music video. A few self-imposed writing deadlines. Some family commitments. An unfortunate encounter with a heavy jump rope that landed me on crutches. And Schuy has kids. A husband. Dogs. A store.
Which is how we found ourselves in a panic…without a word written…on the eve of the day submissions were due.
So, we put pen to paper, created some cartoon avatars, submitted our contest entry, crossed our fingers, and waited.
Our texts in the following days looked like this…
Schuy: “I hope we make the team!”
Me: “I know! I can’t believe we have to wait 10 more days until we know for sure!”
5 days later:
Schuy: “I really hope we make the team! I think it will be fun, don’t you?”
Me: “Totally! Totally hope we make it. And totally think it will be fun!”
4 days after that:
Schuy: “I’m nervous! I hope we make the team!”
Me: “Me too! Do you think my avatar’s boobs are too big?”
I set my alarm for 5AM the morning of June 10th. Because that’s when the email would come.
We didn’t make the team.
We didn’t make Dimity’s team.
But Sarah hadn’t announced her team yet.
I set my alarm for 5AM the morning of June 11th. Because that’s when the email would come.
“WE MADE THE TEAM!” I looked over at B&B’s side of the bed. And found it empty.
I wasn’t kidding about the gardening project.
I waited until I couldn’t wait any longer.
At 5:42 AM, I texted Schuy, “WE MADE THE TEAM!”
I waited until I couldn’t wait any longer.
At 6:02AM, I texted Schuy again, “How can you possibly sleep at a time like this?!”
While I waited for Schuy to text me back and share in my excitement, I decided to take a gander at the fine print of the relay. The details. The course. The mileage breakdown. The training plan.
Oh, shit, people.
There it was.
My Oh, shit moment.
It was my holy shit on a shingle moment.
I sent Schuy an email with the mileage breakdown. Titled, appropriately and so very eloquently, “Oh shit”.
Schuy and I will join 10 strangers…all Moms and runners like we are…to run a 197 mile relay that begins in Cumberland, MD and ends in Washington DC.
We will each run three legs. One of those legs will likely require a headlamp and reflective gear. Because it may occur at 3AM. At 3AM, I’m usually sleeping. If one of my kids wanders into my room at 3AM, I bitch to B&B the next morning, “What the hell was he doing wandering into our room at 3AM?” Because 3AM is the time for sleeping.
When the race is over, each member of our team will have run between 13 and 22 miles.
I am nervous as hell.
I am also much more excited than any sane person should be.
I am thrilled to be on the team with so many inspiring women. Each of them strong. Determined. Adventurous. I’m eager to make memories with them. Memories that will last a lifetime.
I can’t wait to meet each and every one of them. Especially Sarah and Dimity, whose book, Run Like a Mother, I enjoyed so much that it graces my nightstand. Right alongside the pictures of the four people I love most in this world.
Running has seen me through my share of Oh shit moments.
And so I will run. A lot. To get me through this one.
Hopefully, after the race is over, I won’t write a post titled, “The Time I Puked Running 22 Miles”.
Fingers crossed, it’ll be titled, “So What if my Avatar’s Boobs are big? We Rocked Ragnar!”