Carry On

img_1017.JPGimg_1017.JPGI’m an NPR addict. This morning I was listening to an interview with Michael Apted who created the series 7 Up which follows a group of British children over time. They start at age 7 and come back to revisit these folks every 7 years. This year they are 49. I haven’t seen it but plan to look for it on Netflix. Apted talked about how many key personality traits of these people were visible at age 7 and haven’t changed dramatically since. The basics of who they are were there from an early age. As a Mom of a 6 year old this interested me since I really love so many of Eden’s qualities now and I’m hopeful that her curiosity, empathy and kindness remain in the forefront of who she is forever.

Apted mentioned too how the surprising thing about this series is watching how these folks react to the uncontrollable “curveballs” that come at them in life. No one could predict these things (traumas, losses, etc.) and the reactions people have are variable. I think about this issue a lot as I feel like our family has had so many of these “curveballs”. First, our second daughter Meg was born in 2003 with microcephaly and now is very developmentally delayed and has multiple special needs. This isn’t what we expected or wanted of course but we’ve “carried on” as a family and still enjoy our time together without reservations or hesitations. Then, there was Dave’s lymphoma diagnosis in June 2006 and it was if suddenly our family, which had reinflated almost to “normal” again, was pricked with a pitchfork and deflated once more.

This triathlon is about “carrying on”. It’s about living as normal as you can when life is not giving you “normal” anymore. I read somewhere that a great sign of good mental health is flexibility – not the physical kind but the personal kind. Taking the blows life gives you and going on. We did not choose these unfortunate events but we can, to some degree, choose how to respond to them. I want to enjoy our family life, enjoy my daughters, my husband and the time that we all have together. No one knows what is coming next. I can be sad and upset about all this, but I cannot let it stop me from appreciating and enjoying the time we have. So I will swim, bike and run and feel good about it and go home and hug my family.

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