One Step at a Time

I am the Volunteer Coordinator for our bike team that rides in the West Michigan Breakaway Ride for Multiple Sclerosis. This is a title that took me several years to settle into. When my Mother passed away in 1993, I participated in one more local MS Walk before I made the choice to ignore the MS Society and any event it had to offer. I had no interest in being a part of something that would remind me on a regular basis that this was a disease that took Mom away from me. I was angry, furious actually. This was not supposed to happen to the lady that taught me how to swim and climb a tree. She had three kids and a husband who still needed her and this disease could go “suck it” for all I cared. I never had a chance to know her as an adult. I only had her through my teen years, riddled with angst. My brother was only ten when she passed and my sister only fourteen. I would often feel guilty for being the oldest and knowing her longer.

My husband spent another several years gently persuading me to join him at one of the rides. He completely understood my hesitation and never pushed too hard. In the Spring of 2001, I quit smoking and that summer, I climbed Sleeping Bear Dunes all the way to Lake Michigan. I felt amazing and was looking for another kind of physical challenge. The baby step I took that year was the first of a very large step taken later. I had my daughter in the Spring of 2002 and wanted to lose the baby weight that never wants to go away. My husband and I would often discuss the love I had for riding my bike everywhere in my youth and it was then that I made the choice to become active with the MS Society again. That Christmas, I received a stationary bike that I would use to train during the winter, along with a homemade certificate stating I would receive a new bike in the spring and the registration fee was taken care of for the MS150.

I was a rider for three years before I found out that Wisconsin was having their inaugural fifty mile Challenge Walk in October of 2008. I  made the walk my new physical challenge and decided to head up our volunteer team for the Bike MS event. I don’t think that anyone ever truly realizes how far fifty miles is until they walk it. It was one of the most difficult and rewarding challenges I’ve ever faced and I’ve gone back to do it every autumn. This September will be my sixth year.

There is nothing in this world that will bring my Mom back. However, she continues to fuel me. She was a tough cookie. Faithful and stubborn. She was always looking for the next big thing that was going to cure her of the disease, some of which my Dad had to talk her out of because he knew they were gimmicks. With the memory of her battle, I have been given the opportunity to meet and become friends with some of the most amazing people a girl could ever find. Others with MS and those that support them, walk for them, ride for them, run for them, and fight for them. The same disease that surrounded my childhood in such a negative way has helped me through my adulthood in a very positive way. It has cut me open, torn out my heart only to help me heal all over again. I have watched so many people struggle with this disease. I have seen the heartache it causes and the triumph on the faces of those that have just concurred their greatest fear. Whether that be to get on a bike, climb a hill, or simply stand up out of their wheelchair. I have seen the look on a persons face when their legs begin to give out and the stubbornness that gives them the strength to continue or to listen to their body as they decide to sit down. I have allowed tears to stream down my cheeks at candlelight vigils during the Challenge Walks, yelled at the sky, run arm in arm across finish lines, and felt the pain of walking in bad shoes for twenty plus miles. I realize that not everything in life has to be a cause. I also know that some of us have it better than others. I have an outstanding family, terrific kids, a loving husband, and fabulous friends. I believe in spreading the wealth. My wealth happens to be love, a lot of sweat, a loud voice to cheer people on, and two legs that still work. I have been told time and time again how my Mother would be so proud. The truth is I don’t see it that way, for I am the one who is proud to be her daughter.

2011 Can Suck It and Other Rants for the New Year

I can honestly say that I am in no way sad or sorry to see 2011 go.  With the downs outweighing the ups for the year, I was ready to begin fresh.  If I’m being honest, there were several ups also, but those ups always seemed to have a bit of a shadow over them.   After reading about and talking to several friends and family members, 2011 seemed to be a year of unrest for a lot of people.  So,  I’m taking advantage of it being a new year and making some improvements on myself.  The cliches of resolutions have always bothered me a bit, because people never seem to follow them through. I myself am no better at it.  However, I felt a need to make a few this year.  I’ve been going on and on over the last couple of years about how I have to start writing more and then I post about it and then don’t follow through.  I talk about how I need to lose weight and I need to go back to school and I don’t seem to get anywhere.  I’m angry and tired of a job that continues to suck the soul out of me.  I hate picking up after other people and their children. People have become so blinded by their actions.  They wonder why their children act the way they do, but they can’t seem to see that teaching those children the basics of manners and respect help to shape them into compassionate and thoughtful adults.  What happened to the “you break it you buy it” mentality?  I remember my mother telling us kids to keep our hands in our pockets and to touch nothing.  We didn’t always follow those instructions, but we were gentle with the things we touched because we knew that we would be in big trouble if we broke anything.  With today’s generation I’ve watched so many parents let their kid run the show.  I see it all the time.  The parents ignore the kid while they trash items that they haven’t purchased and then just leave it with no apologies.  My mother and father would have had a fit if we had done that!  Now that I have completely gotten off topic, because really, my rants about my work place could go on forever, let’s get back to the reason I started writing this in the first place. It’s time to make some ch-ch-ch-ch-changes as David Bowie would say.  It’s time to turn a new leaf, suck it up and stop procrastinating.  The only person holding me back is ME and I’m ready to have a throw down.   Now that I have a laptop at my finger tips whenever I want, I no longer have the excuse as to why the hell I’m not writing.  I have a CLEP guide, so there is no excuse as to why I can’t get my ass into take the Accuplacer Test at GRCC.  I have warm gear for going walking and running in the winter so I have no excuse as to why I can’t lose weight.  I’m DONE!  BRING IT ON 2012! I’m ready for ya!

Feelin a bit sorry for myself

So, last week was my first week of Zumba and this week I didn’t go. This nasty bug has been kicking my ass.  Trying to ignore it seems to just piss it off.  I was in denial for at least a week, sniffled for another, had a fever off and on for the next two weeks and finally came into the cough portion of this shit. I went to the doctor yesterday just to make sure I didn’t have something worse. Last week I thought I could just sweat it out and be done with the BS.  I took a sick day yesterday and had today off.  Just so I didn’t feel like a total loser, I purged the hall closet and my cabinets in  the bathroom. My kitchen and office are the next two rooms to tackle. I hate being sick. I’m a brat and a whiner. 5k training starts next week bitch. Suck it up and get ready to go. Zumba, you’re mine next week! : )