I don’t want to work out today. Yeah, it’s overcast and cool. It’s been raining for two days. But it’s more than that– I’m heartbroken.
My Cuddle Bug is 6 years old. In fact, he’s just two days younger than one of the sweet babies killed in Friday’s massacre in Newtown, CT. I was sitting with my Cuddle Bug, having lunch with him in his school cafeteria, when the AP bulletin came over my phone. I continued to monitor the reports throughout the afternoon. There was no way to comprehend the travesty of those ten short minutes that led to so much destruction, death, and heartache. Talker knows that a kid entered a school and killed some very young kids, and has seen a little bit of the news coverage. Demolition Man has heard some information on the radio, and has drawn the conclusion that a bad guy killed some kids, and assumes it was a high school so he isn’t concerned. Cuddle Bug is oblivious. And I’m happy with that.
Saturday we celebrated my 39th birthday. I don’t generally celebrate or even acknowledge my birthday, but I needed a distraction, and my mom insisted. One more year before I hit the big Four-Oh. I don’t feel almost 40. I’m just not old enough!
And then there’s Christmas, right around the corner. People keep asking me if I’m ready for Christmas. Uh. No. I’m not even ready for LAST Christmas! My boys will be all the way on the other side of the country, visiting family in Oregon with their dad. This will be the first time in 11 years that I haven’t spent Christmas with my tweedles. I know I’ll survive. Their dad has missed plenty of birthdays and other special days due to his job and the separation, and he’s managed to survive. I’ll get them next Christmas, unlike the mommies and daddies that have to figure out what to do with the gifts hiding in their closets. Gifts that will never be opened by the eager, pajama-clad blessings for which they were intended. I can do this. I can pray for the Tweedles’ safety, and be excited for their plane flight, and for their first Christmas ever with their Nana in Oregon.
But can I run?
My Asics stare at me. I can’t tell if they taunt or encourage. But they loom large.
I’m not one to get depressed over a news story. I used to be a news reporter, for crying out loud. This stuff doesn’t effect me. Except that every time I close my eyes, I see Cuddle Bug with an ashen face, and my heart breaks for the mommies and daddies who had to ID their dead babies. And I can’t breathe. Is this normal?
I did some Googling. I looked into PTSD and depression, and the role fitness plays into overcoming them. The Mayo Clinic recommends:
“When you have anxiety or depression, exercise often seems like the last thing you want to do. But once you get motivated, exercise can make a big difference.”
Researches don’t really know why, but they do know that exercise, even something as seemingly minor as gardening or washing your car, can help improve your mood and alleviate some anxiety.
Can I run? I guess I won’t know until I try. Should I run? Absolutely. Because me sitting in my room imagining the worst is not going to bring back the 27 people who lost their lives just a few short days ago. And because my favorite saying has always been:
“The tragedy in life is not that it ends so soon, but that we wait so long to begin it.”
Granted, 20 little lives ended WAY too soon. But that doesn’t mean mine has to end as well. I have three beautiful children to live for. And for me, running is a part of living. And so, I shall run.