How going to the gym made me feel good today

Sometimes in my life it may feel like I have to look far and wide for something to make me feel special. So much gets lost in the routine of my days, especially lately. My husband comes and goes, a ship to be passed occasionally as he sets sail on business trips and myriad work deadlines, especially as he nears the all important year-end, when promotions and bonuses are decided.

School and activities have set in for both children so the hugs from them are fewer and farther between. In the place of hugs are demands, I need food, I need my pencil sharpened, I need you to check my homework, I need you to get me to practice now, we’re late. Our families are a thousand miles away so support is harder to find as well.

All of this takes a toll. It’s hard to feel good about yourself when your whole life seems spent in the service of others.

In the quest for self affirmation, it turns out I didn’t have to cast the net wide at all. I just had to set sail for my gym around the corner.

Since the girl is now in preschool everyday I have been trying to get over to the gym after drop-off. Some days I say I might skip the gym, then I look in the mirror, with two children’s worth of baby fat staring back at me, weight not lost even four years later. Damn stubborn fortysomething metabolism but at least it’s motivating and gets me to the gym.

So I went. I had aspirations of running a couple of miles, or maybe getting on a bike or stairmaster to really sweat the weight, the tell-tale mommy flab away but today that was not to be. Instead I simply ran a few laps around the track, walked for another 40 minutes and that was pretty much it. Even my workout lately has been uninspiring. I didn’t even get a runner’s high. Instead I felt really low, wondering if I am ever going to lose the weight, can I ever go back to pants without elastic waists, those with buttons and zippers.

On my way out I stopped back at the desk to return the locker key I had borrowed. Before I could hurry away onto my next demand the clerk paused and said, “What a beautiful ring you have on.”

Of course I immediately thanked her.  She went on to comment how sparkly it was so she noticed.

I immediately felt the high my workout did not provide. In the western suburbs, a land of sparkly engagement and wedding rings it was nice for mine to stand out but it was so much more than that.

I paused too and looked at the rings. For one thing, they still fit. That alone is an accomplishment, 12 years later. I smiled.

I looked again at my hand and this time, I saw more than chipped and broken nails. I saw a symbol of a relationship that was anything but.

Twelve years and my husband and I are as strong as the diamond in that setting. We’ve weathered all kinds of storms, sickness, death in the family, infertility, recession, job insecurity, a cross-country move. You name it, we have faced it and persevered.  That’s more than I can say for the resort in Dana Point where he put the ring on my finger as it closed several years ago.

Her compliment gave me a passport to go back to that balcony, if only in my mind, to see him against the sunset on the Pacific Ocean even it was lunchtime in Central Standard Time.

Creating a family is hard work and in the day-to-day of keeping the kids alive there are going to be times when you don’t feel like your best. If anything that simple compliment at the gym today reminded me what a wonderful thing we have going on here, all four of us but most especially the two that started it, all those years ago in a meeting room at business school and the forever promise we made when I accepted that very ring she complimented. We’ve only grown stronger since then. And that makes me feel so special, the luckiest girl in Chicagoland really.

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This is a Blogapalooz submission for September. Each month the ChicagoNow bloggers are challenged with a topic and have exactly an hour to write and publish. Tonight’s topic is “write about a time somebody made you feel special”.

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Tags: MBA Dad

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