05 October 2009

Adventure Training - Team JJAM - Live Strong

Training regiment this weekend:

  • Friday, 2 October 2009 - 2:15 - 3:05 - bike ride with John to the top of the Ravennel Bridge.
  • Saturday, 2 October 2009 - early afternoon - kayak ride with kids (in tow at points) to the bend at Bowen's Island and back.
  • Sunday, 3 October 2009 - early morning - 6 mile walk (leisurely for at least 4 miles) looking for shells on Morris Island.

This weekend my children decided our family motto would be live strong. It began after I had a mini-epiphany. Last weekend, I participated in the Folly Beach Triathlon, (only the biking portion - 8 miles on the beach) having only practiced 4 times. I worked a lot on focusing my mind. I chanted mantra's in my head like, "ride your race Melissa" and "focus, rhythm, pedal." I also thought my standard, "peace, love, joy" and I even added for cadence, "health." However, with at least 3 people my age whom I know personally battling breast cancer right now, and my brother battling colorectal cancer, I also started the chant, "Fight Cancer." The problem with that final mantra was that it assumes I have cancer to fight.

As I was hitting my speed bag, trying to keep my focus, chanting, I realized, I can't keep thinking fight cancer, or I'll be fighting. I want peace, love, and joy. So I started thinking about Lance Armstrong, and Live Strong, and I realized, yes, that is the difference, not fight hard, not destroy anything, but live, and live healthy and strong. So yes, I want that to be the motto for my children and me.

So Friday's bike ride was very fun with John, followed by a very delicious homemade organic pumpkin pie. Saturday's kayak ride could only be better. We were all getting ready, my children were excited, Abbey has even talked about training for the triathlon herself. They would be riding in their own kayak's and John and I would be paddling our matching stealthy and speedy Perception touring boats. We carried tow ropes just in case they couldn't make it.

On the way out the dock, Abbey noticed a school of stingrays feeding in the low tide pluff mud. I lured her away telling her this would not be the best thing we would see today, just the first. I think something about the stingrays in the same water that she was freaked her out, so the journey begins with Abbey saying she absolutely can not do this; she wants to go home. The trip continues with whining and complaining until it's end.

Jake paddles rambunctiously, every direction; we are headed into the wind, so we decide to attach him to us. He resents this, as he is perfectly content, so his whining begins, and also never ends. Dolphins are within 2 feet of his boat, but he's so consumed with getting unhooked he never sees them. I whisper loudly, trying to get his attention; he misses the live sea world display.

Despite the constant negative noise, the paddle is wonderful.

The kayak experience, sheer beauty coupled with constant complaining, plus the new motto Live Strong, equaled the need for a family meeting. These are our family goals:

1) live the best life we can possibly live

2) get a good education

3) be responsible for our stuff / own our actions

4) stay positive / treat everyone with kindness

5) give more than we take

6) work together / help each other

7) eat healthy

05 June 2009

Where to Start

Last night Abbey didn't sleep. On the way home from shopping, I asked her if she knew her daddy was going to die when he did. She said, "yes, (brief pause) well no, I knew he was going to die, but I thought he was going to stay sick like he was for a long time, and we would just take care of him."

I asked her if she remembered the weekend before he died. She vaguely recalled. She knew where she was, at her Kiki's house. She knew Betsy picked her up. She told me they drove around a little when they got to Charleston. She remembered getting a Webkinz.  It was widely believed in our house that if we acquired enough Webkinz it would cure cancer. Then she met me in the driveway. I told her and Jake that they would be coming in the house to see their father, and this would probably be the last time they would speak to him alive. I told them they would spend the night with Betsy. Abbey said she remembered going in and trying to tell him goodbye, but it was like she was seeing a stranger, someone she didn't know. She told me she felt shy. She was the last person he spoke to. He said, "I love you too sweetheart," although it was fairly inaudible. Jake was afraid of him. His body, only a shell of the strong man he was merely four months earlier, decayed and hollow. Abbey recalled hospital people in the room, although I think she's mixing memories. We were alone, my two children and I, as I tried to help them find a way to say goodbye to their father.

Why did I ask her this last night?  My poor sweet child aches in her heart, and rather than remind her of the joy of her father, I encourage her to recall his death. She hasn't done much grieving. She still sees a therapist. Initially, she changed the subject, laughed inappropriately, but never, never cried.

I must write.  My genius has always been inopportune;  I'm doing this on my terms.