Eight weeks and two days have come and gone. Days in a blur and nights endless. There have been marathon nursing (and Netflix) sessions, meals enjoyed with one hand, oatmeal-crusted hair, neck cheese and a heart overflowing.
And tomorrow that will all end.
To say I'm dreading it would be the understatement of the century. With Miles, I felt ready to go back to work. I had struggled with post-partum depression and breastfeeding and though it pained me, I was sure the daycare provider was better-equipped to care for him than me.
Silas has been different, though, with Mark and I both remarking that our bond has been much stronger. We are attached in every way and my love for him settled into my heart more quickly. The reasons are myriad. I co-slept with him early (mostly because I fell asleep nursing); breastfeeding has also been more successful thanks to one-on-one sessions with lactation consultants; and it's been just the two of us for the majority of the eight weeks with Mark's paternity leave limited.
As I work my first day, it will be Nana and Silas – not Mommy and Si.
Rather than let this day feel like mourning, I decided that we would celebrate. I considered a few options – camping on the couch, napping and eating whenever we wanted; wearing leggings as pants but going sans bra; shaving my legs; doing last-minute chores that seemed to go unchecked during the eight weeks; or visiting friends.
But then I thought of something, my favorite thing to do these past few weeks. Si and I would take the long way to the neighborhood coffee shop/cafe for an iced decaf Americano and slowly walk home.
Wanting to get in a run this week without pressure or rushing, we headed for the park to get in a 3-miler before stopping at the coffee shop. Our pace was brisk and I told myself to start slow as I taught class this morning and there's no rush to drop pace. Savor the run.
Just after noon, the temperature was warm but cloud cover and a nice breeze made it some of the most tolerable weather we've had. It was more reason to take our time.
But as we got to the first mile marker, I noticed we were just around a 10-minute pace – and it didn't feel bad. I wondered whether we could go sub-10 for the run, a barrier that is (somewhat) frustrating me. I picked it up and felt good. Strong, even. It seems things are starting to click as I have been told. I focused on hitting each quarter mile in less than 2:30***. One section at a time, it's all I needed to worry about.
That and iced coffee. Of course.
Inside, we were greeted with a display case filled with from-scratch desserts. There's cheesecake and cookies, brownies and scones. I've thus far resisted temptation but decided today was the day.
Confetti cookie! It lasted about three blocks :)
As we walked the sun began to peek out, as promised by the forecast. The wind blew and I felt a slight chill. I started to reach for my AMR 26.2 sweat shirt in the stroller basket but resisted. It felt good. I felt good. I was/am still a bit sad about leaving Si ahead but I know we made the most of our time together. We will find a new rhythm, a new routine. We will find ourselves but appreciate our time together.
We will live on the bright side.
*** A few notes that didn't seem to fit:
• I also had to focus on not hitting a group of teenagers on the path. Today was the last day of school for Fort Wayne and either the kids were skipping or had been let out early. But that's neither here nor there. They were not paying attention, playing around, and one guy began walking from the grass toward the path. I started to yell, "Runner coming. Watch out. WATCH OUT!" But he didn't look up. In fact, he didn't notice me until I was less than 6 inches from mowing him down. I was annoyed to say the least.
• I saw two members of the track club while I was waiting for my coffee. I love how running has given me that sense of belonging and community.
• As I tried to leave, backing up to open the door while holding my coffee and cookie, a mom offered to help me out. I told her that I was OK and I'd manage. She insisted, though, grabbing my iced coffee and walking out with me. She remembered those days, she said, and gave me a smile. Far too often, I think people are more likely to gawk and become annoyed rather than help and empathize. It was refreshing and appreciated.