To the woman parked in the Astro minivan next to me at the YMCA, try to remember what I told you: This is why God invented wine! Poor dear was having one of “those days.” Anyone who’s been in possession of a child for more than six hours knows what “those days” are. She was just sitting in her van when I went into the gym, and she was still sitting there when I came back out. In her van. Windows up. Sitting.
This seemed sort of strange, so I tapped on the window and asked if she was okay, pointing out that you really don’t get the benefits of your workout if you don’t actually get out of the vehicle and go inside. She said she wasn’t there to work out. She was hiding. Okay, that was alarming. But, she reassured me it wasn’t her that was in danger. Her toddler, on the other hand, was pushing his limits. The identified toddler was home with dad. And mom was just hiding in her van in the parking lot.
I use to “hide” in the parking lot of the high school. It was a clever enough disguise; anyone driving up would assume I was there to pick up my child. In fact, I was sitting there reminding myself that one day my child would actually go to high school if we both survived that particularly challenging day. So hang in there minivan mom!
To the YMCA, thank you for putting the sign on the front window in three languages explaining that fire arms and weapons of any kind were not allowed in the gym. This gives me a greater sense of safety for those times when I realize I still have another 15 minutes left on the treadmill and start screaming, “Are you kidding?! Can someone please just shoot me!” that someone won’t actually do that. Despite the level of conviction that goes into the delivery of that statement at the time, I probably don’t really want to be gunned down at the YMCA.
If you think about it, this is probably why minivan mom chose that parking lot. Right there on the window is a reminder that, as much as you think you’d like to kill your kids – and we’ve all thought it (usually more than once) – it’s frowned upon. At least at the Y.
I’m realizing that there comes a point when suddenly in the battle against your body the tables turn. You no longer have the upper hand that lets you do whatever you want, eat whatever you want and be completely neglectful without consequences. There comes a point when that all ends, and your body announces that it’s payback time. For me, that time is now. And paybacks are hell.
After being out of the gym for several weeks, I stormed back in and hit the weights with the enthusiasm reserved for killing snakes. My brain, that seems to be lagging about 20 years behind my chronological age, really didn’t see a problem with this strategy to make up those missed workouts with an extra effort now. I think it will take me about 20 years to recover, thank you very much. My body has let me know, in no uncertain terms, who is in control, and, yes, my brain is stupid.
I had soreness that rendered me just short of paraplegic status. By the time I got home from the gym on the second day, I was completely incapable of simple tasks requiring any participation from my muscles, like undressing. There is a horrifying moment when you realize you may be trapped in your sports bra because your triceps are too sore to pull it back over your head.
I found myself in my bathroom wondering if this situation warranted a 911 call, except I’d have to face some paramedic with the Jaws of Life or a volunteer fireman with an axe. That seemed extreme. Asking the nice Bangladeshi man who was mowing my yard to help me also seemed to peg out the Scale of Inappropriateness. I considered finding some scissors and just cutting myself out, but I paid $20 for that sports bra! There had to be another, more affordable answer! I thought about just showering in it. Kill two birds with one stone: I’m clean, the sports bra is clean. Of course, I’d then just be stuck in a clean and now dripping wet sports bra and that didn’t seem to be an improvement in my situation.
I ended up taking a couple of Advil and reverting back to the Lamaze Breathing I was taught to manage the pain of childbirth to finally get it off. I think I also learned my lesson that, at my age, it is NOT better to look good than to feel good!