One of life’s many pleasures for me is stretching out for a run, or one might not even be able to call it a run, as I am just now training again and I am slow-slow-slow. But soon I have a good sweat worked up and my body feels great and the blues are bluer and the greens are greener. A fellow in maitenance, working with two others putting football lines on the high school field, when I pull up to the track at a fair clip on the bike, he says, “Looks like you’re getting some exercise before getting some exercise.” He’s got long white hair and a big white beard and he’s skinny in work jeans and how I miss my father so much.
Another wonderful pleasure is later, slipping into a hot shower after a run and then pouring coffee. The kids wake up just as I’m about to duck out and join my sister for coffee (she’s heading back to Portland today) and Nels comes along. He and I both enjoy a toasted Everything bagel with cream cheese, some Superfood juice, and I sip coffee while he plays YouTube on my phone so Jules and I can talk (and talk and talk and talk). Afterwards he and I hit the store (pears, banana, pasta, a Hemplers’ ham) and I come home and make fresh vegetable soup for the kids and soon I need to rest as we’ve a dinner guest coming over at seven. After a simple dinner of Ralph’s creation (chicken piccata, roasted cauliflower, spinach and pea salad) we grownups take a walk over the scary clumpy sidewalks and pick up ice cream and talk to the Night People along the way; my mom picks up the kids for a date at her house, and Phoenix stays over. I’m seated on the porch and she comes and holds me and kisses me because she knows I’ll miss her but she knows she’s coming back. Her body feels lovely and substantial in my arms and her little boychick head of spiky hair smells divine.
Two days ago, for $10, I bought myself a lightweight jacket to wear on bike rides or running, and a $5 3-pair sock set. This tiny amount of self-care is harder for me than others may realize, but once done, I feel the better for it. Sometimes I think I should make a list entitled “self-respect” and see what I’d do for myself if I cared as much for my own body and heart and mind as I do for others. It’s a work in progress.
I like the idea of a “self-respect” list. Mine might include items that seem very far off financially, though (been dreaming of hot, hot, hot humid beach weather, tropical fruit, and the smell of Bain de Soleil Orange Gelee SPF 4, which is a very distinct scent from childhood and probably would lead to Extreme Skin Cancer if ever used again). Hawaii, anyone? I just have to console myself with the fact that somewhere in Hawaii must be a woman dreaming of fog and freezing cold, rocky beaches, and the Golden Gate Bridge, which I look at daily.
Running: was running daily before work and sort of fell out of the habit. There is a half marathon in Huntington Beach in February that I sort of want to try to train for both because it would commemorate my birthday and for sentimental reasons (I really haven’t spent time there since the summer I was 19). Currently, I am at the point where I go out for half an hour to 45 minutes and run about 50% of the time — so there is quite a bit of work to do between where I am at now and a half marathon.
I’m glad to see that you’re making a list of things that are your pleasures, small though they may be to others. It is, in fact, those small things that can be so pleasurable and mean so much to us. Mostly, though, I’m glad to hear that you’re taking pleasure in things you do for yourself. It’s important, this self-care thing, and we mamas don’t do it nearly as often as we should do or need to. Kudos to you.