Tag Archives: running

These Shoes Are Made for Running

This is a post that comes from a deeper place than my post the other day. But … first … let’s start with shoes.

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These are my work walking shoes, my “second string” because they’re old and worn out. The big toe on my left foot peeks out at me as I lace them up. And the heel on my right foot is pretty much rubbed through.

I keep these well loved shoes under my desk — a tool for my lunchtime walks, when my (super-casual-cuz-I-don’t-do-heels) dress shoes won’t do. They’re also a reminder to myself to use my lunch hour for my health. Mental. Physical. Emotional. I’ve found that making myself/my health a priority has been really tough. And some days, my lunch hour is all I have.

Take this morning, for example. Mr. B moved my spin bike upstairs for easier access. (Which, by the way, was no easy task — have y’all ever tried to lift a remarkably heavy spin bike up two flights of stairs?) I was so excited for my 4:45 alarm so I could get in a ride before work. But, as soon as I rolled over to turn off my alarm and get out of bed, Little Man also rolled over — and attached himself firmly to my nipple. So … no workout for me since I was busy serving breakfast.

That’s why my work shoes are so important. Some days, that’s the only Kimi time I get and the only exercise time I’m able to make for myself. At least in this season.

“So, Kimi,” you ask. “What’s the real deal with the shoes?”

These shoes are a reminder of something else for me, too. They’re a reminder of “when I used to be a runner.” Most importantly, these stinky, worn-out, probably-shouldn’t-be-wearing shoes are a reminder of Penelope Joy.

You see, I wore these shoes in the last half marathon I ran. In April 2013. I was three months pregnant — and clueless about the path we would soon be asked to walk.

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Crossing the finish line at the Gazelle Girl Half Marathon in Grand Rapids

I had spent several years getting myself in the best physical state I’d ever been in for my entire life. I had run a number of half marathons; I had happily trained for and completed a full marathon; and I was working out regularly.

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Three months pregnant and just starting to bust out of my running jacket — about 7 miles into the race

Then the bottom dropped out. And we heard the worst news any expectant-parent should hear: “I have bad news.

Soon after that, I was told not to run. I was told to keep my physical activity more limited — walking and swimming would pass, but that was about it. Because to do anything more vigorous could risk the baby’s life. So I stopped.

And, I never really laced up my shoes again. I tried. I really did. I tried to find my legs and I tried to get back out there. But it never stuck. It became increasingly clear that it’s more than a time issue — although, as I’ve said before, I’ve pretty much been pregnant or nursing since January 2013.

In the years before getting pregnant with Penelope Joy, I had spent a lot of time and effort getting myself healthy enough to carry a baby without risks. And my body betrayed me and I was classified as “high-risk” with a baby who was given a pretty low chance for survival. In a small way, I blame myself. I blame my body for not providing a healthy growing environment for Penelope Joy. Even after therapy and two very healthy, happy babies, I’ll probably always carry some guilt — warranted or not — for what happened to Penelope Joy.

To be honest, that mental barrier has been really hard to get over. And something as simple as running carries with it some painful emotions. For anyone who says your mental, emotional and physical health aren’t linked, gimme a call — I have a lot I’d like to share with you.

I will tell you this — I’m getting the itch again. My legs want to run. My heart wants to run. I just need to get my brain on board. I know it’ll be a long, slow road back. I am in no shape to hit the trails like I used to. It may not won’t be tomorrow — or even next week — but I’ll be back out there. Because, inside, I’m still a runner.

But I think I’d better get to the shoe store first.

 

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The First Step is Always the Hardest

It’s been a while, little blog of mine. Life with an infant is … well … busy. And exhausting. It’s also thrilling. And beautiful. And educational. And exhausting. Oh, wait, I think I mentioned that one before.

Sleeping baby

(For all you people wondering, no, Dottie is not sleeping through the night yet. In fact, she quite enjoys her middle-of-the-night time where she gets Mom all to herself. I’m OK with it — for now — because the snuggles will only last so long.)

But, Mr. B and I are settling into a lovely routine. A lovely, family-oriented, we’re-getting-older routine. For the most part, we’re as happy hanging out on the floor or on the front lawn with Dottie Lou and Piper as we are going out in public (where it’s so loud!).

Family Time

Mr. B and I did manage to steal a few minutes for breakfast together without Dottie Lou this morning, and it was quite lovely to reconnect over bacon, coffee and kitschy décor.

We’re also each managing to settle into our own routines — with work, volunteering and even squeezing in a little “for me” time along the way. Mr. B fills his free time with fly fishing and getting out for a run now and again. I’m having a little bit of a harder time finding time for me where I’m not worried about Dottie or work or family things. And I still struggle with balancing all of the demands in my life: work, family, friends, volunteering, leisure. It’s a daily struggle. But the balance is getting easier.

In fact, I’ve recently started running again as part of my “me” time. Though, my running is more like really fast walking with some bursts of “speed” for a few minutes at a time. And, yes, sometimes I look at where I’ve been and how much endurance I’ve lost. (My body feels fine while running — and even after — but I can tell my cardio’s got a long way to go.)

I haven’t run-run in a long time. At least nothing regular. I ran and worked out through most of my pregnancy with Penelope Joy — until the doctors told me to take it easy. And then she died. And I was sad. Really sad. And it was winter. And my grief did a really good job of convincing my body that I wasn’t ready to run — “just not yet.” And so, I took a lot of months off. To just be sad and miss my baby girl. Because I was broken, and that’s what I needed to do in that time.

And then, I started running again that following spring. Slowly. Surely. Until May, when I found out I was pregnant with Dottie Lou. And after everything we went through with Penelope Joy, I was terrified of running. And, so, I stopped pretty much in my tracks. No running while I was pregnant with Dottie Lou. Just walking. Slowly. And a little stretching now and again.

(Because no matter what the doctors or the websites or the experts say, a part of me will probably always blame myself for what happened to her — even though that’s most likely the furthest thing from the truth. And I was so very determined not to jostle or jiggle or bounce or startle Dottie Lou unnecessarily while she was still inside of me.)

But, it’s time now. It’s time to get back on my feet and rediscover the love I once had for running. And I did — boy, did I love it. In the rain. In the snow. In the sun. In the shade. No matter what, it brought a smile to my face. I think it’s because it was all about me and the open trail.

I’ve been testing the water with a few run/walks lately. And it’s hard. It’s hard to put one foot in front of the other for a 14-minute mile when I know it was just a couple of years ago that I was running a 6:30 mile (I mean, just once, but still …). But I can feel it coming back — that joy that running brought into my life. And the completeness it made me feel.

This time I’m determined not to get faster and faster (and thinner and thinner). Rather, I want to run for the pure joy of it. Running, like writing, is my outlet and my way to process so many things going on in my life. And, boy, is there a lot to process these days!

(On that note, as I was running this morning, my desire to write started coming back. So, hopefully — if Dottie cooperates — you’ll see me back here once a week or so.)

I can’t promise the process of finding my running legs again won’t frustrate me, and I am going to try to look forward instead of looking backward. And I’m going to try so hard to remember that there’s only one way to run, and that’s one foot in front of the other. Even though that first step is the hardest … every single time.

The first step truly is the hardest.

The first step truly is the hardest.

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Running for the Heart of It

Next weekend I’m going to run my first race since Dottie Lou was born. Well, my first race since I found out I was pregnant with her. If I were being honest, I’d also tell you that it’s also the first real run since finding out I was pregnant.

Actually, this time last year is when I ran for the last time — this very same race: the Fifth Third River Bank Run 5k. And it was just a couple weeks before that faint pink line appeared.

ALZ StarsLast year I ran to raise awareness for Alzheimer’s Disease in honor of my dad who, at that time, was just beginning to slip into the stage of the disease that would take his life.

You see, running makes me feel good about myself physically and mentally. Running for a cause that’s as near and dear to my heart? Well, that’s just good for my soul.

This year I am — once again — running for a cause that’s important to me: Mended Little Hearts of West Michigan. This year, I’m running for Penelope Joy. And I’m running for the 1 in 110 babies born with a congenital heart defect (CHD).

Penelope Joy Scar

Penelope Joy

If you’ve been following my blog for very long, you know that Penelope Joy is our oldest daughter who was born in 2013 with a number of serious birth defects — among them, several heart defects, including a hypoplastic left ventricle. She had her first open heart surgery when she was four days old. And she lived for a mere 38 days.

We had learned about her special heart at a 20(ish)-week ultrasound when we were given the news that would forever change our story. I won’t talk too much about that part of our journey — because those stories have been told before. What I do want to talk about is how important Mended Little Hearts became to me as I faced something no mother should ever have to face: the death of her child. At the time, her only child — the one who made her a mother in the first place.

mlh logoMended Little Hearts is a national group with regional chapters made up of people — in West Michigan’s case, mostly women — who offer support, encouragement and education to families as they face the realities of CHDs. I first learned about them through a pamphlet I picked up at the heart surgeon’s office during one of our prenatal visits. (Gosh — who ever thinks they’ll have to visit a heart surgeon for a prenatal visit?!)

After I reached out to them, it was like some sort of balloon popped — one of those really cool, fancy balloons filled with all sorts of beautiful confetti. Except this balloon? It was full of amazing women with beautiful souls who reached out to Mr. B and me in our most desperate time of need. We were immediately surrounded by love and support and prayers. In addition to information and messages of love on social media, the women brought us food to the hospital — and they ate with us. They didn’t try to make us feel better — because when your child is dying, there is no “better.” But, by being there for us — and somewhat understanding, or at least appreciating, what we were going through — they helped us immensely.

Since Penelope Joy died, they have served as a support group for me in a way. While it can be difficult to attend some Mended Little Hearts events — because “why couldn’t my Penelope been one of those kiddos running around, beating all odds” — it’s so special to be part of a group where I get to be surrounded by all those little superheroes who are stronger than their years. And don’t even get me started on their parents and other family members who’ve been through … well … you know … and back.

The group offers so much more than support and yummy food — though, to a person staring down the line at a hospital cafeteria, that might be the most important thing! Mended Little Hearts also provides a number of helpful resources and services by:

  • Providing peer-to-peer support to parents and caregivers of children with congenital heart defects
  • Providing peer-to-peer support for children and adults with congenital heart defects
  • Offering educational and health resources related to congenital heart defects
  • Raising awareness in the community about congenital heart disease to help others understand the disease and increase research funding
  • Providing support to expecting families through our Prenatal Information Pack distribution program
  • Providing support to families through our care bag distribution program at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital
  • Advocating on issues that help improve the lives of those living with congenital heart defects

By choosing to use my (very slow) miles to raise money and awareness for Mended Little Hearts, I hope I can make even a tiny sliver of the difference for someone that this organization made in my life.

If you’re interested in learning more about Mended Little Hearts and the services and support the organization provides, please visit the website. And, if you’d like to support me and MLH-WM as I run my first race since Dottie Lou was born, you can make a donation here — please don’t forget to select my name (Kimi) from the dropdown menu. (Special shout out to all of those who have already supported me in this run — financially and spiritually!)

And, if you’re so moved, please say a little prayer of strength — physical and emotional — as I make my way toward the finish line on May 9.

Our final family photo with Penelope Joy.

Our final family photo with Penelope Joy.

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Reflecting on the Boston Marathon Bombing

It’s been one year since the Boston Marathon bombing. In one year a lot has happened. I reread the post I wrote about the bombings — and how I was trying to process it; how I was struggling with bringing a child into a world filled with so much hate and so much sadness. But, ultimately, I remembered — with Mr. B’s help — that those were perfect reasons to bring a child into this world. Because a child is love. And the world needs a lot more of that.

So much of that post I wrote still rings true. But there is a difference now. Because this year? I have a better understanding of loss. A much more intimate understanding of loss. And a better understanding of just how much difference love does, indeed, make in the world.

Penelope Joy taught me that. And that all the bad stuff? It was made better because there are shining moments of light and hope and joy in them. Just as — amid the chaos and terror and sadness — the “helpers” brought hope and joy to an otherwise unbearable situation. They were the moments of light. It won’t take away the loss. Or the grief. But it will make the load lighter.

And, in the end, that’s all we can ask for.

My post, “Trying to Process What Happened in Boston” is copied below:

As we all know, I ran a half marathon on Saturday.

Ready to race

Getting ready to race.

A half marathon that I was having a lot of mixed feelings about, truth be told. I sat down a couple of times Sunday to write my recap of the race. But, I was having trouble finding the right words to describe it. “I’ll write it Monday, once my hips stop hurting,” I told myself. (Because, heaven knows, you can’t write when your hips hurt.)

And then …

… Monday happened.

And, as a runner, a marathoner, I felt like someone attacked my family. Runners have come to be a huge part of my community, of who I’ve become. Some of my dearest friends and supporters are runners. As a group, they’ve changed my life. And those spectators? Cheering at the finish line? They’re the ones who pull us through. They’re the ones there at every single race, cheering our names, clapping their hands and bringing us home — whether they’re our family and friends or total strangers.

The unthinkable had happened.

I was in shock. I think, maybe, I’m still in shock.

To sit down and write a race recap for my own half marathon seems … I don’t know … silly. If I couldn’t find the right words before, I am now completely speechless. All I can think about when I try to write about my half marathon is when I ran across that finish line.

As a distance runner, when I see that finish line, something inside of me lets go. All the pain from the miles before, all the exhaustion of the months of training, all the worry about the race … they all just disappear. And a sense of happiness and pride and relief spreads through my body. I melt. And then, at the finish line, I see Mr. B’s smiling face chanting “Go, Kimi, go!” And my friends and family cheering me on — right under that clock that says “You did it; you’re here.” And it’s a feeling of pure and utter elation that takes over. Oh, yeah, and there’s love — knowing that my friends and family are there to celebrate that moment with me.

Mr. B and me on race day

My support crew — and my biggest cheerleader.

That finish-line memory was still fresh for me, is still so fresh for me. And that makes Monday’s tragedy even harder to comprehend and process.

All I can see in my head is those runners running toward their families and friends at the finish line in Boston — a smile on their faces because they’re there, they did it. For some, a lifelong dream just to be on that course. For others, a chance to do better than the year before. Weeks, months, years of sacrifice — for the runners and their families. And I see their friends and families — smiles on their faces, so proud and full of love for their runner. All that love, pride, joy and excitement.

Stolen.

To have all of that taken away in an instant. It’s heart breaking. And confusing. And … so many other things.

I couldn’t stop thinking about it, crying about it. Thankfully Mr. B was home. We watched some news. I cried. And then, we turned off the TV and left the apartment. I needed space; I needed air.

So, we went to pick up my race charm from Saturday’s race.

Saturday I ran for Pickle. Always for Pickle.

Saturday I ran for Pickle. Always for Pickle.

I expressed to Mr. B that I’m so sad that these types of things happen in the world. Added to a difficult hate-filled experience earlier in my day, it was a lot of hate and sadness for me to take in for one day. And I told him I’m scared about the world we’re bringing a precious, precious child into. As usual, Mr. B’s wisdom was just what I needed to hear:

“This is exactly why we do need to bring a child into this world; this world needs another kind person.”

And, so it is on this that I try to focus. Even amidst the horror and tragedy and hate, there is beauty and kindness. And givers. And sharers. And helpers.

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me: ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'” ~Mr. Rogers

What’s more, there is always running. There will always be running.

There is always running.

There is always running.

Tonight I laced up my still-muddy-from-the-race shoes and ran. Well, as much as Pickle would let me. Not because it was on a training program. Not because I needed to burn some calories. Tonight I ran because I can. I ran because it is a gift. I ran because I had to.

I ran because that’s all I know to do right now.

Sans watch. Sans GPS. Just me and my thoughts. I have no idea how far I went, though I could hazard a guess, nor how long it took me. All I know is I ran.

(And walked a little, too. Pickle likes that better. We’re compromising.)

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The Truth About Alzheimer’s Disease

My dad doesn’t talk about his disease very often. Well … really … ever. So, when he does, we listen.

“We need to find a cure. Because I’ve got that.”

It was a simple enough statement, said to Mr. B, who works in the activities department with Alzheimer’s and dementia patients at a senior-living facility. And it was quiet — most everything Dad says is quiet, barely a mumbly whisper. But, at the same time, the statement rang loud and clear.

We told Dad that doctors and researchers are working so hard to find a cure.

But none of us said what we know: Dad will die with the disease. Right now, everyone who has the disease dies with the disease.

“Are there any drugs?”

Well, yes, there are. We tell him he’s taking them. But, what we know — and what he can’t understand? They won’t cure him. They will only temporarily slow the symptoms of the disease.

That’s the thing about Alzheimer’s Disease that I don’t think people understand. The ugly, dirty, gritty part of the disease that is about so much more than being forgetful. Nearly daily, I hear stories from my mom about scary — and progressively scarier — things happening with my dad.

Some days, the stories are as simple as Dad not being able to get his britches on anymore. Other days, the stories are about icy falls and angry words and actions.

Recently, Dad took a tumble on the ice. When they got to the urgent care facility, Dad couldn’t pinpoint his pain. In fact, he pointed across the room and told the doctor that it hurt him over there — in an inanimate object. This is just one of the many reasons why Alzheimer’s Disease is so scary.

My dad is a victim of a cruel, cruel beast. But, Mom? She’s a victim, too. Because he was supposed to be her partner and, now, she’s his caretaker. 24/7 — around the clock.

There are 2.5 times more women than men providing intensive “on-duty” care 24 hours a day for someone with Alzheimer’s.

There is no vacation time. There is no hazard pay. And, for the most part, it’s a pretty thankless job. (Though, I hope she knows how thankful all of us kids are for all she does. And I hope she knows I pray for her — and for my dad — every single day.)

Due to the physical and emotional burden of caregiving, Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers had $9.3 billion in additional health care costs of their own in 2013. 

My mom and dad are my rocks — and the foundation upon which so many of us have been built. And it is painful to see that crumbling as Alzheimer’s takes its toll on our family.

But, we are not alone. More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s Disease. That is a huge number of people. If you multiply that to account for spouses, partners, children — that’s millions and millions more people affected by the disease on a daily basis.

There are days I feel hopeless and helpless. Like what I do or say or think about the disease doesn’t matter. Because it is still, I would wager, one of the most misunderstood diseases out there. And my voice? What good does one voice do?

But, here’s the thing — if all of us “one voices” stopped talking, the silence would be deafening. Instead, we have to speak up. We have to tell our story, our families’ stories. We have to do what little we can to move the efforts forward.

And, so, with what little bit of endurance I have left after a very tumultuous year, I will be joining my fellow Alz Stars again for the Fifth Third River Bank Run to raise funds and awareness for the Alzheimer’s Association of West Michigan. Because, every penny I can raise is another step closer to finding a cure. It won’t save my dad. But, it might save someone else’s dad. Or mom. Or brother. Or sister. Or child.

http://act.alz.org/goto/kimijoy

Oh, and one last parting tidbit? According to the Alzheimer’s Association, every 67 seconds someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s. And, that, my friends scares the crap out of me. 

Alzheimer's Stats

— Facts and figures from the Alzheimer’s Association

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Finding My Running Legs — Again

Since I started running, that has always been a safe place. It was where I went to process what was going on in my life. It was where I went when I needed “me” time. It was where I celebrated victories and mourned losses.

And after Penelope died, I was certain running would help me heal. And, once I got the A-OK from the doctor, I was so excited to get back out on the trail.

But, then something happened. I got back out there. And it was different. It didn’t feel like my safe place anymore; it wasn’t comforting to get back into my old routine. Rather, it was emotionally painful — almost to the point of being physically painful.

I periodically went for walks, and I tentatively returned to the gym. At the gym, the same thing happened. It just wasn’t the same. And no amount of T2.5 “counseling” time could fix it.

So, I turned away from it. I learned long ago that if something wasn’t good for my soul, there was no way I could make it good for my body or my mind. 

So, I took some more time off. Some more frustrated time off. For a while, I couldn’t figure out why I was having such a hard time returning to my routine. But then, in the middle of writing Penelope’s story, it dawned on me. 

Those things? The gym. My favorite running path.  They were exactly as I had left them when the doctor told me I needed to back off the running and weight lifting. But me? I was different. Very, very different. 

And I needed something different — healing in a different way — from the gym and from running. But I wasn’t ready for it yet.

You see, the last time I’d done all of those things? I was carrying Penelope. And the grief was too fresh, too raw to be able to fully put myself back into it.

Then, I started writing a book. A book about Penelope Joy and all of the amazing things she taught me — taught all of us — in her short 38 days. And it was cathartic.

And, slowly, as I wrote the words and re-read them over and over, my healing truly began. Then, I returned to the gym to hit the treadmill for some short run/walks, and I started lifting (lightly) weights again.

And one cold, cold Saturday morning I  bundled up and strapped on my running spikes. And I went for a cold run.

A Saturday run

Scenes from my chilly Saturday morning run.

I had the trail pretty much to myself that day — it was that cold. And step after step, I found my running legs. I wasn’t as fast as I once was. And there were a lot more walking breaks that I’d have liked. But I was out there. And it felt so good.

As the “Polar Vortex” hit, I was sent back indoors for my workouts. I don’t enjoy the treadmill — never have — but it was better than nothing, and the routine was nice.

Then, January Thaw came for a visit. And it got a bit warmer. Which meant I could head back outside. So, yesterday, joined by a friend, I hit the trail again.

I felt every single muscle as they compensated for the uneven, icy trail. But between chatting and enjoying our time outside, we ended up getting in just over 7.5 miles. It was definitely a run/walk — I still have a long way to go — but it was just what my body needed, just what my soul needed.

And, so, I’m starting to feel that old passion return. Even Mr. B sees it — commenting on the dopey grin I had on my face for most of the day after my run yesterday. My excitement was clearly showing.

Running is starting, once again, to feel like a safe place for me. It is not an unchanged place; it’s different now. I am different now. I have different goals as a runner than I used to have — just as I have different goals for myself, my life.

But, for now, I’m just going to enjoy being back out there, taking it step by step.

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Because Babies Should Have Grandpas

Saturday is the Fifth Third River Bank Run. The 25k is the one local race that still remains on my bucket list. This was going to be my year to cross it off the list. More than the fact that I was ready, one of the charity partners is the Alzheimer’s Association of West Michigan. And, as you know, raising awareness and trying to fight this awful disease is near and dear to my heart. So, this race? This was my chance to tell my our story and do good while doing something that brings me peace and happiness and pride.

But then, something incredible happened. And Mr. B and I are going to be parents. In October. I’m 19, almost 20, weeks pregnant. (Still waiting for that “glow” to appear, though.) And, while I’m incredibly blessed to still be able to run while carrying Pickle, I realized during the half marathon a couple weeks ago that running long distances like that while pregnant is hard on my body.

Finish Line

Exhausted as I come up on the finish line during the Gazelle Girl Half Marathon.

And I just couldn’t see myself happily — healthily — making it through 15.5 miles. So, with a heavy heart, I switched to the 10k.

But I didn’t quit.

I will be there. Shoes will be laced up. Bondi Band will be on. Mr. B will be on the sidelines. Because this run is important. And it’s so much bigger than this one pregnant gal carrying herself over 6.2 miles to cross the finish line.

This run is about babies. And parents. And siblings. It’s about family. And friends. And caregivers. It’s about loved ones. And people we’ve never met.

This run is about every single one of us.

Because Alzheimer’s Disease knows no strangers, and it knows no boundaries. And, not to scare you, but the situation isn’t getting any better as time goes on. That’s why fundraising runs like this one are so important. Because, one day, a woman — not yet 30 years old — will see a short text on her phone from her mom. A text confirming a diagnosis she so feared: “A.”

“A” is for Alzheimer’s.

“A” is for Alzheimer’s.

“A” is for Alzheimer’s.

And she realizes that no matter what she does or how hard she fights, her dad is going to slowly forget who he is, forget who she is. And he’s going to become a shell of the person he once was. And her family will never, ever be the same. And it’s going to break her heart as everything she knew with 100 percent certainty fades into a world of gray. And she’ll have to stop thinking about the “what shoulda beens” and start thinking about the “what’s gonna bes.” Because all she can do is move forward.

To put it simply, Alzheimer’s Disease changes your life. Nothing is ever the same for the person diagnosed with this disease and for the people who love them. And, once you hear those words, “Alzheimer’s Disease,” there’s no going back — and going forward is hard. But all you can do is wake up every morning, smile and thank God for the moments you have together and get on with your day, taking it all one step at a time — together. ~”Running for a Cause

I quickly realized that I needed to talk about it. I needed to tell my story. Because that is how I fight. And unless I fight and raise awareness and raise money, so many other people are going to feel this pain. And sadness. And anger. And fear.

So many people are, like me, going to wonder whether their soon-to-be-born baby will ever get to know his/her grandpa the way he should be known — as the funnest Papa any kid could ever have (just ask all of my nieces and nephews — they’ll tell you). Luckily, and thankfully, Pickle will get to know his/her Papa. It will just be oh-so different than the picture I used to have in my head of my child playing with Papa in the orchard.

So, Saturday, when I head out on that course, I won’t be running for myself. I’ll be running for my dad. And for my mom. But, mostly, I’ll be running for Pickle.

Because babies deserve grandpas.

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