I am gearing up for the Tour de France, running from July 3rd to July 25th. Last year I watched every bit of the last two-thirds of the race, and I was into it. Sometimes this amuses me since, growing up, I abhorred all sports save the two weeks of Olympics of which I watched as much as I could. So what happened? Well, babies happened. Any mama who has nursed a newborn knows just how much time you spend sitting on the couch milking. For those of you who haven't nursed newborns, the answer is A LOT.
With Nathan, I whiled away the hours by getting into golf (one of the sports I loved to hate as a child; isn't it funny how time changes us?). For Daniel, the sport was cycling. (Stephen keeps hoping I will pick up football as the next sport of choice; I told him we'd have to have a lot of kids, running out of other eligible sports for that to happen. In fact, the only sport I find more distasteful than football is fighting.) I watched these men push themselves to the limit, as I was pushed to the limit with a newborn who cried a lot, nursed a lot, and slept very little.
I didn't know that my own challenge would continue, day in and day out, for over a year. Actually, Daniel slept eight and a half hours without waking up last night. Unfortunately, I couldn't fall asleep until after four, only two hours before he did wake up. Yes, I am tired. But what's new?
Anyways, watching the Tour provided a much needed distraction for me. I was inspired to keep going, even as I had to keep going. After all, if these men could push themselves until their lungs were gasping for air and sweat dripped off their noses and fogged their sunglasses, when they didn't even have to, I could keep stumbling to the crib every two hours to feed and soothe my precious baby who depended on me for everything. So day after day, they fought to wear the yellow jersey, and I fought to keep going. It was the perfect sport for a time when I needed to see others persist through hard stuff.
So this year, as I watch, I will be cheering for more than my favorite cyclist. I will be celebrating getting through an impossible year. I will be celebrating the possibility of sleeping more this year. I will be celebrating Daniel, who is healthy and curious despite his skin disorder. I will be celebrating the Lord, who has carried me when I could not keep going on my own. I will be celebrating the prize that lays before me, and striving for it. I will be celebrating the joy of being a mother, the longest endurance marathon I can think of.
Oh yeah, and if my guy wins, I'll celebrate that too...