June 12th, 2007


Absence makes the heart grow fonder

Sheesh, I've missed you all something fierce. 
I just spent an hour reading back blogs. What a fine fix.

My excused absence, as you'll remember from my post on the 1st, is that my sister and family were cozied up with us in our bungalow for more than a week. (Insert countless exclamation points right here...)

The only moments not filled up with my talking were filled up with hers. 

Here's the thing. She and her family live in Tanzania. That'd be in Africa. So even when we do plan to phone or instant message, we're talking about a 9-hour time difference. One of us with a cup of coffee at our elbow, the other with a beer. 

This is the same sister with whom I shared a room for 10 years. Shared clothes in high school. Shared tent adventures and political rallies and babies' births.  Shared grandparents and the back seat of the Subaru on roadtrips and a mom and a dad.

As you might imagine, our current time/space disconnect can conjure up some serious grief, so when we get together we don't fool around. Or rather, we do. In a big way.

This time we celebrated my recent birthday at a spa (I actually felt too noodley to walk down the steps after my lavendar oil massage), took the kids to SeaWorld (now would be the time to admit that I cried a little at the Shamu show), picked pounds of peaches, ran the Danskin (registered as twins so that we could start and finish together), and swam in no less than six pools, lakes or swimmin' holes (it is summer in Texas after all). 

But the most vivid part of the week was seeing our children (her two and my two) falling deeper and deeper into each other. We call them matchies because BOTH times, our pregnancies overlapped. When my neice celebrates her birthday tomorrow, we'll have two 8- and two 6-year-olds between us. 

When they were wee, we brainwashed them with photos and phone calls so they'd know and love each other. But honest-to-pete, other than buying the airline tickets, our persuasion program is now officially over. They're enraptured. 

The younger set dressed alike and slept in the same bed and made up a secret language. All in a week's work. The elders are a boy and a girl and have less in common, but the myriad ways they work around that are so moving to me. If they create a "culture magazine" at my daughter's whim, the center spread will be about Tae Kwan Do to please my sister's son.  If the water in the swimming pool is too chilly for my nephew, my girl will push him about in an inflatable tube. If they can't agree on a puzzle or a game or a book, they'll get on their scooters and race to the stop sign and back. About 45 times. 

I grew up at a distance from most of my cousins, too, but our summers together -- kick-the-can and rag-tag, Jolly Good soda and Mackinack fudge -- taught me to support and tease and admire and defend and have a hoot with the folks I love. And they taught me to expect the same in return. As a grown-up, I've had all of this, in spades. My cousins are on my speed dial, if you know what I mean.

Nothing matters to me more than knowing my little ones are building (and are built of) the same strong stuff.

Somehow this makes it okay that my sister and her husband and my children's cousins drove away at 5 a.m. yesterday.
I'm all wrung out, but in a good way. 
Tired, pink and satisfied. 

"We danced on the drums of jubilation
Hot with the blood that made us one...."  -- Abdulkadir Noormohamed

C'mon and Tri

Are you girl, woman or crone?
Can you walk, talk and chew gum at the same time?
Do you live anywhere near Orlando, L.A., Austin, Chicago, Denver, New England, Seattle or NYC?
Couldja get there?
Do you like material that wicks and watches that get wet?
Do you look fine in muscles?
Do you wish you did?
Do you have girlfriends?
Wouldja do anything with 'em?
Wouldja do anything for 'em?
Do you like challenge?
Do you like fun?
Wouldja like to see breast cancer get beat?
Are you healthy?
Do you wish you were?
Do you have a mother or daughter?
Wouldja like to see them strong and smiling?
Wouldja like them to see you that way? 
Have you ever crossed a finish line?
Do you wanna?

I just finished my sixth Danskin Triathlon in nine years and the only ones I regret are those three I missed. 

YOU should do the Danskin next year. You and your mom, sisters, girlfriends, daughters, friends or neighbors. Find a swimsuit that still has some elastic in it, pump up the ol' bike tires and hit the trail. Women from 14 to 84 are doing it -- I've seen 'em. And you should, too. 

You'll be strong, happy,  inspired, giddy, proud, and all choked up. You'll be a part of something very energized, very woman-power and very big. Even in this day and age, there is something really moving about seeing whole crowds of men -- husbands, dads, brothers -- cheering on 3,200 woman athletes. In front of our daughters and sons.

As they like to say on the Danskin circuit, You Go, Girl.