Lost and Found

{by Deb at Missives From Suburbia}

“Have a good day,” the guy says, as he pushes the button and closes the hatch, securing my groceries, my husband’s SCUBA gear, and a cacophony of motherhood-related paraphernalia that whispers to me about who I’ve become.

That guy — the one manning the drive-through grocery pick-up — doesn’t know what or who I once was, and it doesn’t matter. But the summer breeze carries the memories he doesn’t, and today it chides me. “I matter,” it says.

Even as I forget to take the long way home and avoid the lake traffic (such a simple thing to remember!), the vaguest details of my prior life waft through the open car windows and dance with a flurry of dog hair that springs from my dashboard. They badger me to go. Go again. Go now. Go fast. Just go.

My carriage, so natural then, still comes easily, but it’s a more practiced, more mindful pursuit, not quite forced. The cadence of my breath is an outpouring, no longer a meditation. Creaks and cricks pulse where none existed before. All as it should be; after all, I have run only once in the past four years.

I never liked the heat and how it smothered me, coaxing me to quit, snaking its way around my chest and daring me to take another breath. Today is not hot. Today is, in fact, perfect, and my shoes call to me.

I have cheated time. Yes, that’s a confession. A toe-touch away from 40 and a newly-minted mother to two late in life, I still have a runner’s build. The muscles return with little effort; they are not as twitchy as they once were, and they lie hidden under a layer of loosening skin and last night’s pasta, but they are still there and still formidable when pushed. Absolute truth be told and modesty aside, I’m not built much differently than I was in my late-20s, even if my body doesn’t fully remember those days and its accomplishments. But the trials of birth and mothering have armed me with a deliberate strength I never had before, a resolve that bridges the gap between what was and what is.

There are few photos of my previous life’s hobbies. I showed up on race day, sleep still in my eyes, did what had to be done, then puttered home to resume my normal life, with my hamstrings a little tighter and my mind a little freer. I went alone, because crossing the finish line is a solitary pursuit, and I have never had much interest in sharing my wins and losses. All but the most prized t-shirts have been discarded, along with a different marriage, a long career, and vast time to spare.

It will surprise some people to learn that I’ve run marathons. It seems laughable that I can’t remember how many, when they once represented so much to me. In that gap of memory, it seems that I’ve forgotten who I once was and what I did, no more knowledgeable about myself than the guy at the grocery store. But the breeze off Lake Calhoun reminded me today, and when this cough disappears (yet another affront to my youth), my body will remember, too. Even if I have to make it.

Read Deb’s blog, Missives From Suburbia
Follow her on Twitter @MisSueBurbia

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4 Comments to “Lost and Found”

  1. Your post resonates with the angst I face remembering day-after-day of kickboxing and the guilt I felt when I missed ONE day! Where did that girl go? I am not giving up, either- I KNOW I will have to make mine remember.

  2. "Lost and Found," by @MisSueBurbia featured on @storybleed Magazine today. http://ht.ly/3bCgt

  3. Surfer Jay says:

    A big toes width away from forty with buns of a 20ish-er huh? Now that I would like to see…I mean uh, yeah, well you know what I mean. And your boy is around 4 right? And when did you stop running? ‘Round 4 years ago? Yeahhhhh.

    Hey, I use to surf. Been 28 months though. Odd, because my boy is 28 months old now. And I’m a toes width past my late twenties, now equipped with the buns of a toes width away of forty. Lame.
    Surfer Jay recently posted..Ahh shit I hate pooh

  4. Go, Ridgely, go!

    Jay, the sad part is that post was written when I was in the second best shape of my life and AFTER my second kiddo was born. I have slipped since then. I fear I’m more like an average 35-year-old now. I’m ashamed!
    Missives From Suburbia recently posted..Story Bleed