The man at the Whole Foods checkout counter looked at me with confusion. Clearly, he thought I needed a bag to carry out all my grocery items this morning. I had two cans of pumpkin puree (why not make another chocolate chip pumpkin loaf today?!), a large container of baby spinach, a birthday card, a four-pack of yogurt, two cucumbers, a dozen eggs and a gallon of whole milk. Oh, and a non-fat chai latte, too.
But I have an aversion to using disposable bags, even paper ones, whenever possible. (I do live in Portland, after all!) And I was too lazy to walk back to my car and get my reusable bags. So I loaded up my arms with all my goodies, grabbed the milk with one free hand and my latte with the other. As I walked to my car, I was again thankful for my minivan's keyless entry so I didn't have to dig through my purse for keys. I only needed one finger to pull open the door. (And, yes, I do drive a minivan. I had to sell my Subaru wagon to become a minivan-driving-soccer-mom and have never looked back...thanks to keyless entry and the DVD entertainment system. Don't judge.)
After driving home and putting things away, I finished (yet another) load of laundry. While carrying the clothes hamper three flights upstairs from the basement laundry room to my third floor bedroom, I also picked up three stuffed animals, two discarded pairs of footed pajamas, a baby blanket and a pair of boots. I deposited everything in the various rooms where it all belonged and then began the process in reverse -- bringing towels and linens to the basement and picking up things along the way.
I'm not sure if it is a mom trait or a female-only trait but sometimes I feel like I have more arms than my husband. Or maybe than all men. I remember walking up the stairs of my house, carrying my almost 2 year-old on my right hip and carrying a 4 month-old in my left arm while she was breastfeeding. I'm pretty sure my husband can't do that. (No offense, honey!)
I got to thinking this morning about the things we carry.
We carry groceries.
We carry laundry. Never-ending loads of laundry.
We carry kids. Both before and after birth.
We carry backpacks and soccer bags and dance costumes and school lunches.
We carry briefcases and work laptops.
We carry endless plates of food to/from the table and in/out of the dishwasher.
We carry donation items to Goodwill and other charities.
We carry cooked meals to our friends and neighbors when they are in need of some extra help.
We carry flowers to our own moms and Mother's Day and to our kids' teachers on Teacher Appreciation Day.
We carry our husbands/partners when they are going through difficult times at work.
We carry our parents when they are too old to care for themselves.
We carry our girlfriends when they are going through tough times in their lives.
We carry the fear that something will happen to our kids.
We carry ourselves across the finish lines of marathons or to the gym to squeeze in a workout.
We carry the guilt that we are never doing enough -- as a mom, as an employee, as a wife, as a neighbor, as a runner/cyclist/exercise-enthusiast or as a homemaker.
I oftentimes struggle with being a stay-at-home mom. I lose my patience almost daily with my toddlers. I crave the social camaraderie that comes with working in an office. I miss feeling like I'm using my brain and education to their full potential. I fear that I am going to fail. I feel that I am lacking an identity.
And then I start thinking about all the things that I carry on a daily basis. I try to imagine my family without me in it. And it makes me feel important and necessary once again...and proud of my little arms. (It also makes me think I must have more than two of them!)
|The most important things I'll ever carry...|
Of course, none of this would be possible without my family and friends carrying me when I need it.
And special thanks to this one...
What do you carry in your life? Do you struggle with your identity?
I really was going to post today about the fact that my foot injury -- the one that kept me from running all summer long -- seems to be back again. But talking about it might make it a reality. So I'll just continue to be in denial for a little longer and hope for the best. In the meantime, I had a great track workout last Friday (6 x 800 in the middle of a six mile run), an easy 7 on Saturday and a hard 10 mile progression run early Monday morning. I was just starting to feel like I'm getting back in shape ready to kick-off Boston training and now I'm not sure how my foot is going to handle the increase in mileage and effort...