Yep. That’s me. Soaring over that fire like I was made to do it.
But it didn’t start out that way…
Just Mom. That’s who I had become. We’ve all done it. As moms we get so lost in the world of kids and wife that we completely lose sight of who we are. There are some who are able to keep a healthy balance, but I was not one of them…
From the moment I first held my oldest daughter, every part of my world became all about her. Even my relationship with my husband suffered. My children became my everything. And before I knew it, I looked in the mirror and had no idea who the person staring back at me was.
Sure, that girl was put together, but it was clear there was something missing in her eyes. I always wanted to be that mom who had it all. The one who could handle anything the world threw at her. The mom who had this whole parenting thing down.
It wasn’t happening.
I was falling apart on the inside. I had no real identity anymore. I didn’t recognize the woman in the mirror. Before kids I was so strong and independent, and now here I was – food giver, bather, cleaner, butt-wiper, laundry service, horsey, playmate, sleep buddy – everything on my shoulders. On the shoulders of a woman I didn’t know. I was so much more than just a mom.
I broke at that moment (though, this is the first time I’m admitting it to anymore).
I still to this day remember looking at that woman – asking her what happened to her dreams, what happened to taking on the world? I was stuck. I knew something had to change. I needed to find a way out.
The Photo That Changed My Life
Then one day on Facebook my friend Michele posts this photo:
Yeah. That one. That photo changed my life. Changed my husband’s life. Heck, it changed my kids’ lives. I saw that photo and knew instantly that I had to do the same. I wanted to jump over fire.
I said to my husband, “I want to do that! I want to jump over fire!”
His reply … “this is just another crazy thing you want to do that you will never actually do.”
Remember those broken pieces from when I stared in the mirror? Well, they instantly came back together and a flicker of the old me came out.
“Well, with you or without you, I’m going to do it. But it would be awesome to do it with you.”
At this time in my marriage, things weren’t the greatest. We were more like roommates. It was miserable. We were miserable. Both of us were teetering on was this worth saving or should we just bail out now. Only now do I realize that we were both lost, we were both confused in our roles as parents, and neither of us knew how to help the other.
Months passed by and I started doing research on this thing called Obstacle Course Racing. I realized I’d gotten myself into something more than I could handle … but I knew I couldn’t back down.
Finally my husband had agreed to do the race with me, “One and I’m done. That’s it. I’ll do this with you because you want me to, but I won’t be doing this every weekend, this won’t become my life.”
(It always makes me give the evil laugh when I remember him saying those words…… bwahahahaha….)
What REALLY Happened Race Day
My stomach was in knots. My body was transformed (I lost a total of 20 lbs that first year of training!!!). I had done all the research and knew what to and not to expect.
But… what I didn’t know… what was going to happen AFTER the race.
The course was physically difficult. We “ran” (by ran, I mean I hiked) up, down, around, across Blue Mountain, had to swim in a lake, climb walls that were easy five times my size, carry sandbags, jump on logs. I asked myself a million times why I had done this. I wanted to give up.
My husband, though, held my hand and talked me through it. He was my strength. Remember when I said things weren’t the greatest? You would have had no idea out on that mountain we were having problems.
We were one again.
We worked together and supported each other in a way we had yet to do in our eight years together.
But the biggest change came after jumping that fire and crossing the finish line. I had tears in my eyes.
Spartan race has a saying “You’ll Know at the Finish.” And it is beyond true. I came off that mountain, jumped over that fire, and realized instantly who I was – who I wanted to be – not only for myself but for my family and my husband. It was as if I’d crossed a magical flame that answered all the questions I’d been asking the woman in the mirror.
I found the missing piece I was so desperate for.
This first race was just one of many to come. My husband who said he was just “one and done”… we didn’t even make it back to our car when he was asking when our next race was. 😛
It changed who we were as a couple.
It changed who I was as a mom.
I now know my strength. I know my weaknesses. I know how to use each to my advantage. I can show my two young daughters that women can be strong. I can do things physically many people wouldn’t fathom.
I realized just how strong I am, how worthy I am, how much more I am.
I can clean boogers like the best of ‘em … but I can also take on a lot more. It’s helped me to become a better mom. A better spouse. A better person.
I found my passion. And with that, I found the missing piece.