Countdown to the Finish

“Life is always a rich and steady time when you are waiting for something to happen or to hatch.”
 E.B. White, Charlotte’s Web

I remember during my first marathon after I pushed through the wall at the 20-mile marker and finally saw in the distance mile marker 24. There was a sudden surge of excitement. The end was near. I was going to do it. Just a little more than 2.2 more miles and I was going to actually finish a full marathon and I wasn’t going to die trying. The adrenaline kicked in and the emotions started to take over. For the first time in my life, I was going to do what I thought was the impossible.

And here we are now. Four weeks away from the due date of ultrababy’s arrival. I’m still waiting for that adrenaline to kick in, but it feels more like I’m stuck at the wall at mile 20. And just like every mile along the way of my first marathon, there’s so much that I’ve learned about myself and my tribe during the longest and fastest summer of my life, and it humbles me.

I learned that while I can will my body to run 100 miles, I cannot will my body to gracefully roll out of bed, or tie my shoes, or get out of the car, or put pants on. I learned that “slowing down my pace” doesn’t mean slow down to a comfortable jog, it means to come to a screeching halt and rest. I learned that I wish I would have been kinder, more helpful, and more compassionate towards my sister and friends who had kids before me. I had no idea what the body goes through when it’s creating a tiny human. And despite the fact that I wasn’t really there for them, they are here for me, a thousand percent.

Somehow along the way, I was able to surround myself with some of the most amazing people in the world. They are kind and generous. They are compassionate and loving. They are true to their word. How do you live up to that? How do you show gratitude to all of those people who go out of their way to help you, check up on you, and to just be there when you need them? I don’t know. Tell me. My tribe is strong and I am grateful for them. And my daughter is fortunate to have all of these wonderful people in her life to help guide her and teach her how to be a warm and compassionate human being full of strength and courage. Perhaps she saw this village and that’s why she chose me to be her mother.

As the days get closer to ultrababy’s arrival, I can’t help but wonder what it’s all going to be like to finally hold her in my arms. I often hear that there are no words to describe the feeling that you get when you hold your baby for the first time. And with each passing day, I’m starting to get it. It’s something like seeing the beauty of the Grand Canyon in pictures, but the pictures don’t do it justice. You have to run from one side to there other, to experience the great heights and depths to understand and feel the beauty of it all.

Or hearing of a pilgrimage along the coast of Portugal to Spain and the stories of self discovery that comes with it, but the stories are just stories until you, yourself strap that backpack on and walk every mile from point to point, soaking in the sights and culture and confronting your own demons within during long stretches of silence and solitude. You have to experience it to understand the changes that happens from within.

Or hearing of this crazy thing called a 100-mile foot race and seeing runners cross the finish line broken and renewed at the same time and not understanding what has to happen to your mind, body, and spirit in order to accomplish such a feat. You have to experience it to feel the pain that radiates through your body, hear the argument between your heart and your head of whether or not you should quit or move on, and feel the fire in your belly as you hear the cheers of the crowd at the finish line knowing that you had the strength, courage, and shear will to push through when your body didn’t want to.

The anticipation of the experience that lies ahead of me is both exciting and scary, but I know that it’s going to be nothing less than beautiful and magical. Four weeks left (maybe less). The finish line is near. And so is the most incredible experience of a lifetime.