Looking Over Your Shoulder


I’m very new at running, but not at writing about how I feel. Because I have a permanently stiff neck, meaning I cannot turn my head sufficiently to look over my left shoulder, I sometimes have to stop my running to check to see if there are any cars turning at the intersection I’m about to cross. I sometimes wish I wore my little mirror that attaches to my sunglasses for bicycling. As a result, there’s a little hiccup in my run at each intersection.

It’s OK. Life isn’t all that smooth anyway. I have often felt like I’m looking over my shoulder daily. Is my work meeting everyone’s standards? Does my blog hit the mark? Is the scale nudging south (OK, that’s looking down at the number between my legs, ugh.)? Is my hair OK? Most of the time the answer is yes. Sometimes it isn’t  and I make a mental note, a correction of sorts, to make sure everything is, eventually.

I also do this with my relationships. I had a talk with one of my daughters about a week ago, my 12-year-old brilliantly scientific and logical child. I told her I didn’t feel as though our relationship was the same as the one I had with my own mother, which isn’t a bad thing. I realize that relationships are unique threads linking two people. My relationships with my two daughters are vastly different, and it can be a real mind bender to make things right when Kid2 (fabulous artist) laments about the unfairness of it all. Of course, I do my best to explain to her that we are all so different and that no two people can be treated the same way.

I used to be in the military, where we were all treated the same, but we really weren’t. We all had our areas of expertise and everyone counted on each of us to do our part so the squadron operated smoothly.

That’s how it is with family, too. This family of mine, my husband and my two daughters, is different from the family I grew up in. My parents battled a lot. I couldn’t wait to escape and at 18 I joined the service, had a blast, dated lots of guys, and when I got to Hawaii learned to surf.

I met my husband at the newspaper on my second day on the job and I was instantly smitten. You know the story. When he said he wanted us to have children, I was reluctant. The only childhood I knew was not the best reference point for raising my own. But I vowed their lives would be better than mine. But what parent doesn’t think that? I hope all parents think that.

We have our bumps as a family, a lot of times it feels like we’re each on our own inflatable raft being blown about on the big ocean, desperately trying to hold onto each other, trying to keep our lives together. And then there are the other forces: jobs, extended family pressures, economics, car trouble, home repairs, crazy schedules, and commitments.

Things like that can really tug at a family. I don’t mind the challenges. When you get married you sign on to dealing with the crap the wind blows into the house. It’s that other stuff that really scares you. It’s the people who make you think to yourself that you need to look over your shoulder, hug your kids, and hold your husband’s hand a little more snugly. It also makes me think I better run, I better ride, I better swim, I better do all I can to keep from being a boring and dumpy wife.

I know it’s a little corny, but before every race or bike ride we give each other a kiss that means more than the eye can see.

By lavagal

Hawaii Kai wife and mom. Melanoma Stage 3a Cancer survivor. English Language Arts teacher, English Learners Coordinator, and Paraprofessional Tutor. Super sub teacher. Dormant triathlete. Road cyclist and Masters swimmer. Gardener. Mrs. Fixit. Random dancer. Music Curator. A teenager trapped in an aging body. Did you know 60 is the new 40? It is.


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