It may seem that I have fallen off of the map and disappeared — or drowned — but I promise that I haven’t. I’ve just been all over the map these last few weeks. And I’m not finished yet. I will rest easy on May 15, 2016. Until then it’s full speed ahead to Ironman Texas on May 14, 2016. I get winded just thinking about it all.
A little over two weeks ago, we found ourselves in Palm Springs, CA. Friends of ours have a vacation home there and they loaned it to us for the kids’ spring break. We were a little hesitant to go because of the amount of work it takes for us to travel but we decided to be spontaneous and go for it! Rob and I flew with our bikes which are way more of a hassle than flying with kids. I cannot tell you how much gear needs to be packed when we travel. Think traveling with infants. Or triplets! Or a traveling circus might be more like it. So. Much. Stuff. Just getting to the airport was a huge production.
California was beautiful and so worth the effort! We laughed so much and the time away from our daily routine was nourishing and filled us up. It’s been a long time since we’ve been away together.
Palm Springs also turned into Team Malionek Spring Training camp. We knew that it would. But we did our best to balance fun and exercise … and a little down time too … not enough down time.
Zoe, Brayden and Elias brought their swim gear along because they were in the final countdown for their championship meet in Florida. We got some beautiful swims in an outdoor pool!
After six nights away, we came home for four days — just long enough to celebrate Easter with long trainer rides, candy and a late night jet-lagged-family movie.
Rob headed out again for work in Florida this past Wednesday. The kids and I left on Thursday for their swim meet in a different part of Florida. Before we left, I had to get in my long trainer ride which was scheduled for Saturday — I wasn’t bringing my bike on this trip! I am certain I have been running on sheer adrenaline. Or determination. Maybe both. Some days my mind feels so full of things I need to remember, writing them down doesn’t even help because I’m too tired to look at my list.
After a four hour car ride on Friday, Rob met us at the swim meet. He made it two minutes before the first event which happened to be Elias’ very first 200 freestyle!
All swimmers swam and raced their hearts out. Our kids are on a new swim team this year which afforded so many exciting opportunities. Their team brought home the Championship Trophy for the whole meet and our three swimmers brought home an exciting array of medals and ribbons.
We even celebrated Zoe’s 13th birthday while we were there! All this while Rob and I juggled our own training. We were squeezed into the smallest room which eventually stank like a locker room. What can I say …
And now we are home. Finally. Hitting the ground running … or maybe just hitting the ground and hoping for the best — I think that’s about right. Here we go. Diving into state testing, baseball for Elias and soccer for both boys. And yes, swimming continues.
For now we’re making it work. It takes friends helping out along the way. Like my friend, Becca, picking my kids up at school — while I watched the final minutes of my ride tick by — so we could make our departing Florida flight. And my friend, Jahaneen, and I coordinating kids’ swim event schedules, meals, sunscreen and torrential rain storms among a zillion other things — plus sitting through their races for 14 hour days. Sure, we can get by on our own, but I keep discovering over and over again that it’s so much easier with help. I’m continually surprising myself by asking for it and offering too!
Life stretched us these last few weeks. Heck, we stretch ourselves. We start by simply showing up and once we do that we can surprise ourselves by finding fulfillment in what we may have initially started with some hesitation. Lately, I am repeatedly shocked by my own resiliency. When I look at all I need to accomplish, I get worried that I won’t be okay but then I rediscover on a daily basis that I am. I am okay. And when I feel like I’m not, I have to check myself to see if I’m triggered — usually I am. I’m getting better at recognizing my triggers and staying in the here and now instead of in the past. I’m finally understanding that I am a capable grown-up in charge of my own living. And you know what? It’s exhilarating. To me this feels like choosing to let go and be engaged at the same time. I love that. There is so much freedom in that.
I’m doing the best that I can which truthfully is a damn good job considering how fatigued I am and the life-stress we have. I’m not perfect and I’m okay with that. I don’t expect to be perfect anymore. I’m simply being my best-self in any given moment. Sometimes I yell. Too often I swear. And occasionally I panic. But not as much as I used to! I’m learning that if I can stop drop and roll — take a momentary time out — I’ll be better than I could have expected.
I’m also truly understanding that I get to have needs and I’m allowed to take care of myself in addition to the people under my charge. One does not negate the other — and if I neglect myself, I have less room for the people I love.
This seems so obvious. Like the sign above, reminding us: “When Flooded Turn Around Don’t Drown.” It’s ridiculously obvious. In fact when I saw it, I stopped dead in my tracks and stared in disbelief. Then I laughed — which actually hurt because I was so tired — and I thought, “It’s hotter than Hades but I need a picture of this. It pretty much says it all.”
This upcoming Monday, Rob leaves for more business travel. On Thursday there is the changing of the guard while we swap off and I leave for training camp in Texas with my team. Stay tuned …
Trust yourself. Pay attention to your wise inner voice and don’t ignore the obvious. Often what we need is right in front of our own two eyes. We just have to be willing to see it. And maybe even more than that, we have to decide that we want to go after it for ourselves. To dare greatly. To be brave. And to keep showing up. If we feel like empowered grown-ups, making choices that fill us up and bring us joy, navigating life feels like a choice that is manageable. Most of the time. But when we do things out of guilt or obligation, life feels hard because it’s disingenuous. It’s not authentic. We aren’t taking care of ourselves.
As my heart opens and I continue on this journey of self-discovery and authentic living, I continually surprise myself of what I’m capable of. Life is full of surprises. Just pay attention to the signs and then leap with all your might. Why not?
Much love. Take care.