Family

uphill climb

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On one of the few days I could sleep in I was awakened by my enthusiastic husband.  This is an anomaly; a blue moon.  Rare that my hubs is awake at 6:03 AM and lively at that.  I know what you’re thinking.  He didn’t rouse me for THAT reason.  He was attempting to get me up to walk; he just didn’t know it.  LOL.

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And so began our walk/jog journey in the community  we call home.  I drive these streets often but rarely take the time to notice the little things.  To the hubs’ annoyance I snapped shots of details I normally overlook in my rush to get here, there and everywhere.  It’s these things that make me appreciate the city we live in.

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An hour later we sat next to our duck pond (remember I’m trying to be more duck-like).  I watched the ducks squawk and shake their feathers; water spraying everywhere.  They are brazen as they approach us for food; expecting a free hand-out.  They merrily go along their way.    I envy them.

Why would my husband awaken me so early, you ask?

Yesterday our bedroom had become a war zone; clothes littered upon the floors.  Organizing, just this room, usurped a whole day and I finally sat amongst the mess of my clothes, in tears.  The hubs happened upon me; shaking his head in confusion at his weeping wife.  He looked at the piles of bags and clothes and asked why I was getting rid of so many of my clothes.  I have carried, this baggage, through 16 years of cross-country moves and it baffled him that, now, I would be discarding them.

None of them fit.  Thus, the tears.

But can’t you just save them in a box until you fit in them again?  he so casually asked.   Dejected, I sat amongst my wardrobe; the clothes of my life.  It is in this organization that I declutter the baggage; physical as well as mental.  It is the act of cleaning that makes me come to terms with things I deny; won’t accept.  Some of these clothes have sentimental value.  The outfit the hubs bought me in Corpus, Christi, TX, for my  interview for a job at Texas A & M Kingsville, the Christmas sweater from Virginia Beach, the Navy paraphernalia from various places we have been stationed.   The places I will never return.  Not only was I crying over my ill-fitted wardrobe; I cried for the things past; places I will miss, the travel.  Youth.

Soon after, I found the journals I kept from 1999, the year we returned to our home state.  As I turned these pages, lost in the archives of my deep closet, the memories assailed me.  I was wearing these same clothes in these pictures.  By throwing these articles of fabric away I am acknowledging the passage of time.  That person I used to be no longer is who I am.

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The smiling son in my arms is becoming a teenager in 16 days  (tears, sniff, sniff).  The picture with the double jogging stroller was taken of my younger sons next to the top of the trailhead I currently traverse in the early morning hours.  It is adjacent to my soon-to-be teenager’s junior high school.  The clothes I am wearing are in the discarded pile.  I long for those clothes, the shorter hairstyle.  I am crying for this time in my life.  I want to go back.  The waterworks begin again.

This is my uphill climb: aging, vanity.  It is these numbers that bother me the most.  Whoever said, “It’s all downhill from here” is a liar.

Our trek to the trail entailed a few obstacles.  This trail is closed through December 2013 and we came upon a 6 foot fence.  What should we do? I asked the hubs.  Should we turn back the way we came?

He bent and told me to place my foot in his hands.  He was going to hoist me over the fence.  Did I mention I have a fear of heights?  Six feet is tall enough for me.  Ten minutes later our obstacle was a thing of the past.  We continued the steep uphill climb.  I continued to encourage the hubs; just one more hill and then we’ll be over.   But I was mistaken.  MOST of this trail is uphill in the direction we came from.  Greetings were shared with older couples walking from the other direction.  By decades we were the youngest ones on this trail at this time of morning.  At this point, huffing and puffing, he wondered aloud why he chose to wake me up this morning.

As we continued to walk we recounted the various trails he and I have walked over the years.  It was humid and we remembered jogging in Meridian, MS, Pensacola, FL and Kingsville, TX.  I thought of the clothes by the door; the ones I’ll never fit into again.  I ended up getting the job at the university with that outfit.   The hubs chose to sacrifice his sleep time, and mine,  to encourage me to keep walking; to get out there and make the uphill climb.  You’ll fit in those clothes again.  You’ve done this before.  It is his firm belief that I do not have to spend money to get the numbers I want; only self motivation and discipline (things I lack).  Thus, the hubs has become my own personal trainer.

Two hours later we sat at my coffee house; flowers in-hand.  The hubs plucked them for me to put in my hair on our walk home.  The upstairs loft played jazz; reminiscent of our time in New Orleans.  We have three more days until our crystal anniversary and we plotted how we would celebrate.  If I could have every morning be like this morning, life would be bliss.  My mind conjured images of he and I, in retirement, walking more trails in our community; exploring.  He and I have many differences but in our core values we are very much the same.

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Upon returning home we chose to cool down; our eldest choosing to join us.  Daily, I gaze into this growing son’s face, marking its changes. He beckoned to our dog, hiding beneath the patio table.  Our dog is unafraid of white water river rapids but shakes as he nears our swimming pool.

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As I gazed at my son; the picture, as an infant, was what came to mind.  I immediately dug out the journals I found yesterday; having to find it.  This was the very, very first time I had exposed my son to water; at our local YMCA.  He was seven months old.  He swims like a fish now but he was unafraid of water; even then.  As I type the hubs continues to float with our dog; the son, above, typing behind me.

The battle with the numbers is my uphill battle; one I will not win.  As I declutter and organize my life I hope to find a way to gracefully accept this.  To be grateful for the experiences I have.  This is where Ann must help me.

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I will count my gifts, logging them each day.  I am seeking more meaningful things to care about, dig deeper in my faith.  With God.  With people.  In life.  I hope I can embrace this uphill climb, to change my mindset.  I am no, Job.  I have to hope that the downhill is out there for me.   To believe it.

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