Monday, October 19, 2015

He Didn't Think We Could Do It


I consider myself to be many things, but never has any of those things had anything to do with running. However, I have realized over the past 30 (or so) years of my lifetime that something I have been naturally blessed with is the ability to be is a cheerleader for my family and friends (though never officially wearing a cheerleading uniform). So when last year, after completing the YMCA half marathon, Frank decided that we would all run the family 5K the next year together so that the kids could all get their own medal I was definitely interested.
I didn't then realize how impacted by the event our family and definitely I would be. The whole event was filled with such compelling literal and figurative life lessons. It was an experience that continually pointed me to the big picture of my and my families purpose on Earth. I know that we will continue to draw on the experience together as a family.
The first special moment I had came a few weeks ago. Frank had planned on waking up early on a Saturday morning and taking the kids on a 2.5 mile/run in preparation for the race. I needed to feed the baby before she would be ready to leave the house so they left without us to beat the heat. Frank told me where he was going to go on the walk and suggested that after I was done feeding the baby that I put her in the stroller and meet them along the way. They left and had been gone half an hour before I was ready to start with the baby in the stroller. The path they took was along the sidewalk path of the long canal by our home. The canal, with brick walls lining both sides of it, slightly bends and curves which makes it block a long distance view of what is ahead on the path. I could not see my family, but I knew they were there. I knew that eventually baby Ruby and I would meet up with them. Soon enough I started to hear what I though were the echoes of their excited voices but I could still not see them. Then after covering a bit more of the distance their voices became louder. Pretty soon I could see them. Then I began to hear them shouting, "DAD I CAN SEE MOM, THERE SHE IS DAD I CAN SEE HER!" Soon we were together again. They were so happy to have met us on the path and we happily walked the rest of the way back home together.
As I experienced this, my heart was moved to thoughts of the plan of happiness that Heavenly Father has for all of His children. That plan is family. He wants families to be together and work together to get back home to Him. He wants us to love each other so much that we cheer and run to each other on our pathway through life and help each other along the way. We can do that by having faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, repentance, keeping our covenants (such as baptism), and listening to the Holy Ghost.    
The second of many cool things that happened came with our oldest son Charles. He is a man of rules and finality. He heard the announcer at the race say that we would only have 2 hours and 20 minutes to complete the race before they had to open back up the road for cars. Not understanding time so much yet, being 6 years old, he panics and has great anxiety over being timed in any capacity. Hearing this news of having only 2 hours and 20 minutes struck fear in his heart. He told me later in the day, hours after the race was completed, "Mom I was so scared that we couldn't do it. I did not think that we could do it. I didn't think we would finish in time."
Knowing this about Charles made what happened to him during the race very interesting. He took it upon himself to run as much as he could. He being our man of rules knew that we had stressed that we wanted to stay together as a family during this race so no one would get lost, but he also knew that during all of our practice walk/runs that Frank would give him a landmark in the distance that he could run ahead to and then wait for the rest of the family. He asked Frank to set landmarks for him the whole way. He ran to them, rested, then was ready to run ahead to the next. His gumption inspired his older sister and younger brother to also run. Orson, the youngest at the race, had woken up several times the night before the race to ask me "Mama is it time for the race yet." So he was exhausted and struggling at first. But as he saw Charles' example he too wanted to run. He wanted to be fast and awesome like Charles. Maelee, not to be out done by her brothers was likewise inspired to run.
Then as Charles was looking back to us as he made it to the mile 2 sign he tripped and fell onto his knees. The road rash was deep and hurt him badly. (It was gruesome enough that he caught the attention of race staffers and right after they gave us our medals a man approached us and told us that they had already alerted first aid, and the EMT would be waiting for us.) He was crying and upset. He did not want to race anymore. Frank took him aside. He told Charles that he needed to make a choice. He needed to decide if he would let his fall ruin his race, or if he would get back up and keep going. Charles got up and ran, literally with blood dripping down his leg, to the next landmark. He kept it up and finished first across the finish line. 
To see Charles start out doubting, continue with determination, fall down, then choose to get up and carry on and finish first meant a lot to me. He could have asked to be carried. We would have done it. He could have decided to walk slowly and finish. We would have walked with him. But instead he got up and decided to keep running even if his knee was dripping blood. He made a choice and finished running. We all were very proud of him. 
Many other details and experiences of race day made it a worthwhile and memorable family outing. While I continue to agree with the old cowboys in the saloon in "Back To The Future III," who thought the idea of "running for fun" was a hilarious joke, I will now be an avid supporter of any future family races we can do together. From watching Frank guide and encourage the kids through the training and race day, to hearing Orson exclaim "MAMA I FINALLY GOT A MEDAL," it was incredible day for the Adams family.  

P.S. - If anyone ever wonders which parent Orson inherited his goofball smile from, all arrows apparently point to me.
P.P.S. - When Charles told me that before the race started he didn't think we could do it, I responded with the question "Well we did finish what do you think now?" He said, "we worked together as a family mom and we did it." Then I thought, "Is someone feeding this kid his lines or what?" #bigpayoff

Monday, October 12, 2015

Robbing Poor Newleywed's. The Joke Is On Them.

This Columbus Day 2015 will make it twelve years since Frank and I had our apartment robbed. We lived ultra close to the community college we both attended. Our apartment complex was nestled in a massive area of other apartment complexes. Tons and tons of all kinds of people living literally on top of each other. I was raised to be pretty cautious, so to help myself FEEL safer as I walked to the car each morning to get to my 6:45am math class I would carry a copper pipe. It was about a foot and a half long and roughly cut so both ends were jagged. I would walk down the stairs through the dark sidewalks and creeping parking lot to my car, holding the pipe in my hand up in striking position all the while looking around constantly and jumping at every shadow. My husband, who at the time was a plumber, had already left for work (that’s where I got the copper pipe, a tossed away piece from one of his construct sites) or I would have had him walk me to my car. Looking back now I surely appeared insane to anyone who may have seen me, and chances are if I was attacked the copper pipe wouldn’t have helped me, but I needed to feel like I was attempting to protect myself.

Sometimes I would also pretend to talk to someone on the phone. My Mom and Dad worked opposite hours when they were first married and she walked into her home one night alone to see the last half of a man’s body stepping out of one of her windows. Too afraid to walk back out her door and too afraid to be alone she called her Aunt Fern and talked to her, long after Aunt Fern hung up my Mom kept talking until my Dad got home. So using her technique I would sometimes have fake phone conversations on the way to the car through the early morning dark and creepy apartment complex.

The first fall we lived there, Columbus Day, I got a phone call from my husband at the salon I was working at. Our conversation went something like this.

Husband: “Did you leave the door open when you left for work today?”

Me: “No, why would I do that. Why would you ask that? Of course I didn’t leave the door open.

Husband: “Well it is open now.”

Me: “WHAT! Don’t go inside. Call the police.”

Husband (completely ignoring me and going inside anyway): “Well it looks like a wreck in here.”

Me (freaking out, screaming into the phone outside of the salon while the other stylists are out there on smoke breaks watching and listening to me): “DON’T GO INSIDE! CALL THE POLICE! WHAT IF SOMEONE IS STILL INSIDE?”

Husband (walking around apartment): “Yeah, we got robbed. They wrecked every room. They pulled everything apart. Yeah we definitely got robbed.”

By the time I got home Frank’s relative who worked then as a detective for the police department was there talking with him. This sweet relative was good at watching over us. Soon another officer arrived and he dusted for prints on the kitchen window that the robber(s) broke to get into the apartment. We went over with the officer the things that were taken, which was a very short list in regards to value, but a high cost in regards to our emotional well-being.

They pulled every drawer and shelf out in our living room, then moved on to the one bedroom in our tiny apartment. They stormed our closet. The burglars, showing their age, took Frank’s very old Sony Play Station, his Adidas shower sandals from his mission, and the small handful of souvenir hats he had bought in Australia on his mission. They quickly found my box with all my tip money in it from the past couple of weeks at the salon and my state quarter collection. They emptied my jewelry box out. I had no jewelry that was worth any money but I did have a collection of unique novelty wrist watches that my Mom had given me as Christmas presents over the past couple of years. They took any backpacks or bags we had in the closet and filled them with the stuff they took. One of the bags they took was my temple bag. They did not empty the bag out. The temple dress made from gorgeous white eyelet fabric that my Mom had made for me that I had gotten married in was in the bag.

The robbery totally freaked us both out. I was so scared to be alone in the apartment. I one can imagine after picturing me walking through a parking lot with a copper pipe raised in my hand, I went to even more extreme and ridiculous precautions for a while in my attempts to protect myself and feel safe. Definitely added to my natural paranoia. It was not a hard choice a few months later in regards to if we would renew our lease or not.

It is important for us to remember “the robbery of 03’.” And it is crazy to think that so many years have passed since I was walking through the parking lot with a copper pipe raised and ready to strike. It turns out that Frank didn’t need those really cool souvenir’s to remember the growth, change, and increase of faith he experienced on his mission to Australia. Not having my gorgeous homemade temple dress did not change the fact that my Mom took the time to make it for me and show me her love through that gift of time and talent. Going through that experience together made us a stronger couple. We saw quickly that stuff was stuff and once it was gone whether taken, lost, or ruined we still had each other. They never caught the thieves, although we have pictured them often wearing Frank’s Adidas shower sandals and Australian Cork Hat and my watch with a wrist band made out of basketball leather all while playing a very old Sony Play Station and admiring my state quarter collection. We are positive they have all our stuff somewhere still. It wasn’t worth anything, but it was surely too awesome to throw away.