This is been an interesting and challenging week, not in a physical way but in an emotional sense.
Where do I start, well I guess Tuesday April the 8th is a good place to begin.
You probably know about the controversy surrounding the Olympic Torch in San Francisco. Dean Karnazes was one of the torch bearers, the controversy on what is the right thing to do is well discussed in Dean’s blog, and the answer is not always easy to tell.
I myself was torn. I sympathized with both sides, not sure I agree on violence but I am sure glad this issue is being reviewed, but I also feel sad about the athletes that have spend years of their lives training. Hans and I had our usual discussion on the way to his swim practice on Tuesday, the usual on how he was going to ask me to watch the Olympics on the TV when he makes it to the Olympic swim team instead of allowing me to come to the events. “ Mom, you will sure to embarrass me by calling me sweetie, honey, or worse when you yell really loud in Spanish, THAT is even worse” I always welcome this opportunity to tease and torture him further on how I could make it much worse that that, this time I ponder on what the right thing to do was. Boycott the Olympics or support the Athletes?
Being raised catholic my mom’s sermons where on how she expected us to do the right thing, in my mind I always assume the choices where going to be clear, “ to steal or not to steal?” but as I go along the choices become less clear. “What if I need to steal for my family to eat? What will it be the right thing to do? Luckily I have never had to make that decision. But life offer may choices some small and some big.
As I am preparing to go to Boston and planning future races I am bombarded with choices of what the right thing to do will be. “Settle down, is better for your kids” “running too much is not healthy” “Can’t you just enter 10K races like other normal people?” " haven't you run away from your problems enough?“After much anguish over, I decided that to continue to run long distance events is the right thing for me, at least for now.I am sure most people have the best intentions for me and my kids when suggesting this, even Scott Dunlap’s blog talks about running addictions and avoiding real issues. this is the kind of news and information that most people relay when they offer advice. I understand that to most people is strange to hear me be excited about the opportunity of putting my body thought so much stress. But my decision on whether to do some race or not are never based on how much pain I will be in, but in what new opportunities will it bring. Although there is a strong correlation, the crazier the challenge the more the opportunities it brings. That is how I make my decisions, I see the difference that the running has made in my life, I am potentially in the brink of fundraising a lot of money for the CNIB and that makes me smile everyday. Sure it will not be easy but just that I COULD makes me happy.
This is not your usual partnership,at least not in my community, ultra running and fundraising for the CNIB, but this relationship has strengthened the bonds I have with my kids by creating new opportunities for them. My ex-husband is bringing my kids to Boston to watch me race the marathon, although we have always put the kids first, this is truly the first time we are all looking forward to spending a weekend together, he is also taking them to Brazil when I go next January. Looking at my kids face when they heard about us hanging out together erased any doubts I had if I was indeed doing the right thing.
Here doing the right thing was not thinking directly related to me, doing the right thing meant for my kids. If increasing the rate and difficulty of my races results in more opportunities for my kids to be with both parents and new programs being offer for visually impaired kids because of the extra funds or exposure, well, let the games begin.
But there are some times doing the right thing is a very difficult decision to take, even thought it affects a very small number of people or because it affects a very particular member of the family.
My youngest cat Bella was hit by a car yesterday, she managed to make it home but she was in bad shape, it was hard to tell what happen just by looking at her, she looked OK, but I could tell she was in pain and she had hard time breathing. Bella was only gone for 10 minutes; she wanted to be outside while Jake, Lukas, Noah, Hans and Karl played in the snow. (Yes, I have 5 boys on the weekends, but that is an other story that needs to be discussed and analyzed on its own later)
The vet at the animal emergency services took x-rays, the news where not good, she needed extensive surgery if she was to survive, “all her organs are in her ribcage” “It will be expensive surgery, 2 maybe 4 grand” at this moment I had no idea of what to do, I had told my kids she was going to be OK, she was a fighter, if she had crawled all the way home she was sure not ready to go. I had 5 boys that where looking for my reassurance that she was going to be OK. I couldn’t believe what came out of my mind next; I have always made fun of people that spend a lot of money on their pets, but I found myself saying this “Can you do it for 2 grand? I don’t have 4, I can try to find 2; I can probably eat PB&J sandwiches for the next month” “Are you sure? That might not be a great idea” said the Vet.
Nadia was listening; she walked to my room and without judgment offer to pay half. “you can’t do that" I said both touched by her offer and embarrassed that she realized I wanted to pay 2 thousand to save my cat" is a lot of money for a cat” I continued, “Plus she is no even your cat” I told her with tears, still not believing what she was offering “it is a lot of money, but if it means so much to you and your kids I will pay half, plus she is my cat too, we are family remember” she said with as much grace as anybody can say to spear the other persons feelings of humiliation while offering money. Listening to those words I couldn’t help but to realize that I might not be sure what the right thing to do is sometimes, but I might be doing something right if I found myself surrounded by friends like her.
My mom was not that supporting, “No. this is a cat, not a child, plus there are no guarantees she will survive, and if she did, what kind of life will she have?”
The drive to the animal hospital was a long painful one, I still had doubts on what the right thing to do was, I mean Bella had crawled all the way home in pain. Bella trusted me to do the right thing, but I still didn’t know what that was. When we arrive, they brought Bella to a room to say our goodbyes. She was in a lot of pain; a lot of hours had passed since the accident and I knew at this moment I couldn’t afford to pay for the surgery. not if it she was not going to be OK, I am sure that if she lived it was just going to turn into a dinner story of how this friend of a friend once pay 2 thousand dollars to save a cat she had found on a shelter. But if she died, it will just mean I will paying interest on a credit card bill for a bad decision I took.
Bella stopped crying shortly when she heard my voice, because the injuries where only internal on the outside she looked perfect. Nadia held my hand as I requested the injection, the right thing to do at this time was to make her pain stop.
The next few hours I reflected a lot about the importance of decisions that I take or help take that might seem small gestures at the moment but have long lasting consequences. Like going to the shelter during one of the few times my kids are not with me to get an other cat.
There is no such thing as small gestures; I am convinced that doing the right thing is not always easy, sometimes it might not be what we want to do, or we are not sure what that might be.
I am not always going to get it right and just the same, I will never please everybody, but looking around the room in my house yesterday I realize I am surrounded but people that cared for each other, mom mom was there conforting my kids and if I have a friend that is willing to mortgage her home to save my small cat Bella, then my kids and I are doing OK.