2013-04-04 18.58.56
Chick Norris

Me: What’s that smell, something smells orangy.

Ethan: I’m peeling an orange.


And so it goes, as I begin and continue on in my descent into Mom of Teens, the role which you never saw coming and hits you swift and sure.

Charlie has this app on his ipod that is high-pitched beeps that supposedly olden people can’t hear. It’s been interesting (hilarious is too strong a word) to watch the other boys falling into a puddle begging for mercy while I stand around and perform my daily tasks unawares.

“Please! STOP THAT!” beg the boys, and I’m all “what’s going on? Why are ya’ll having fits?”

I can hear most of them, but one or two of the beeps at the very top of the spectrum are literally off my radar. I don’t mind, I guess?


Our guests, in for the Masters Tournament, came and went. It was a success, I think. This is our first time hosting non-family humans and all in all we survived. No major brawls broke out in the front room during their stay, no other significant forms of weirdness or anti-social behavior emerged. Victory!

So the good news is if you’re ever in the neighborhood, we now have a two bedroom option for you and yours. The bad news is the whole “we have five boys, and a total of six children.” The Ritz Carlton this ain’t.

(But I do have a Vitamix, so I could whip up a mean smoothie.)


Today as I was leaving Target I spotted a woman that I’ve seen running around town. I actually chatted with her a few years back when I ran into her at the grocery store. “Hey,” I said at the time, “I see you running on our way to preschool.” The lady, it turned out, has seven daughters and had just taken up running and consquently lost all kinds of weight and found a new form of endorphin-fueled happiness.

Today, there she was again. So I decided to say hello.

“It’s my favorite running lady,” I said. And then I mentioned that I thought I saw her at the adoration chapel a few weeks ago and didn’t realize she was Catholic? She is, and then she recognized me from my column. Anyway, none of this is relevant except that’s how our conversation went.

I told her that once again (wuh-woh) I tried to train for the local half-marathon and just couldn’t get it together. Like the last few years, I’d get to mile seven or eight and then either have a week of bad weather or get a cold or have to travel. Or hey, just get busy taking care of my six kids. That minor detail.

If you’re sensing some disappointment and personal frustration you would be correct. Each time I make the decision to throw in the towel on my quest for A Half, I feel a sense of relief but also a little frustration. Why can’t I get it together? What’s the big deal?

I was kind of (in shortened form) explaining this to my new runner friend but also admitting that my children are still little (some of them anyway).

“How old is your oldest,” she asked.

“Sixteen,” I said, “and my youngest just turned three.” See, in my mind my kids are so big. Gone are the days of four babies five and under.

“Wow,” she said, “so your kids are still really young.”

She told me her oldest was 31 and her youngest 14! And she just started running long distance five years ago. And that made me feel so much better. Like I can take a breath, and be happy with where I’m at. I don’t need to set the bar so high (but people who do are AWESOME don’t get me wrong!). It’s okay to embrace the challenge of today, the pace and intensity of right now. Just because life feels a lot easier than it did two years ago doesn’t mean it’s the time to start trying to mark all the things off your list.

And so I say the same to you! Don’t forget that where you are, doing what you are doing, just might be enough. Oh yes, have goals for yourself. Work and train and achieve — but love yourself too. Don’t think so much about what you could be doing better; see all that you are doing right now, in this moment today.


  1. Oh lawdy. How I needed these words today. Thank you, so much. If you ever stop writing, those two bedrooms will become mine permanently. Xo

  2. I laughed a little to myself. My oldest IS five. And I think he is so very big (and he is bigger than his little brothers). But I will get frustrated, and feel like I should just have it all together by now. Thank you for the reminder that this is still early days in family life. I will run more and farther and meet other goals. There is time for all of these things.

  3. Aunt Catherine says

    haha… Isa’s pic could seriously be part of a fb meme I saw the other day with Chuck Norris! Classic.

  4. So you met Barbie Schneider! Awesome lady! She takes prayer requests for her runs. She told me that she won’t read the request that is written on a piece of paper, but she will pray for the person and whatever their request is! She always briefly runs into the Adoration Chapel at St. Mary’s every morning when she does run. She’ll also stop and pick up trash along the way and find a can to put it in, even if it means backtracking. I can’t say enough good things about her. She also became a grandmother for the first time this year!!

    • Jessica Z says

      Oh my gosh, is her oldest daughter Angela? I just stumbled onto this blog for the first time today and am pretty sure I know this particular Schneider family…my sister belongs to the Sacred Heart Sisters and I grew up going to their Girls’ Camp and met Angie when I was about 13…I haven’t been in touch with her in the last couple of years but I know she had gotten married and imagine she might have had her first baby by now!
      What a small world!

  5. I know that lady! She runs ALL OVER Augusta! Really. I see her everywhere. And when she is going up hill she runs backwards to work different muscles. It’s so inspiring!! I just learned a new trick today, since I am in the embryonic stage when it comes to running: Music makes a whole lot of difference. I can actually continue running when the good songs are playing (like today, just when I was about to stop running and start walking, and “your grace is enough” started playing! I figured that was my cue to not give up!! I put in a little latin mix with some merengue and the rhythm just keeps you moving! You probably already know this, but just sharing … :0)

  6. Mom of six as well. After my fourth, I was determined to become a runner. Trained and got to mile 7 as well, but I could not keep up with the nutrition and hours it takes to train for a half. Someday, someday. Thanks for your encouragement on this “running a half marathon thing”. Besides, I hear woman runners at an older age perform better in races. Her mental stamina has surpassed her physical to get her to the finish line. These days, I’m grateful for 2 miles!

  7. I love “….no other significant forms of weirdness or anti-social behavior emerged.” Ha, ha. Because as moms of teens/boys/kids in general, we should always be open to the fact that it WILL happen!! So glad you made it through! That is a success! Love it!

  8. Oh, Rachel – this is SO, SO true!! I look at my freinds who still have little tinies, and think “whew”, my life is so much easier. But then I look at my friends who have only kids in middle school and up and think “whew”, my life is so much harder! It’s all about where you are in the moment and just getting through THAT phase. My oldest is 23, I have two teenagers, and two in elementary school. It’s a finger in every pot!!

  9. I voiced out loud for the first time on Sunday that I’m thinking about training for a half next spring. then Boston happened. Couldn’t go run today.

  10. I love this:

    “She told me her oldest was 31 and her youngest 14! And she just started running long distance five years ago. And that made me feel so much better. Like I can take a breath, and be happy with where I’m at.”

    Ah, the ongoing lesson for us all!