100mph… that is the speed at which I travel. I never slow. I’m a single mom with a progressive disease; I don’t have time to slow down. I wake up at 3:30 a.m. It affords me an extra hour to accomplish more. I can leave by 4:45 a.m., which allows me to speed for only one hour, to get to work by 6 a.m. I leave by 3 p.m., so that I can race home hopefully by 5 p.m. Once home, I rush to change, so I can hurry to the gym, lift, jump, pull, and run, fast, fast, faster. I quickly head to the shop, helping my father with his business. I can’t wait to hold my baby, but it’s time to scarf down food, speed through suds to get my daughter and myself clean. Then, I pass out some time after 9 p.m.
I’m trying to get a nonprofit off the ground, with my own time, my little money and all the love I can muster. I blog when I can, and train as often as possible. I manage my disease, by simply not having time for Parkinson’s, which affects the speed and ability of ones movement. When I try to sleep, try to rest; my body is so tight and rigid. It’s not from my disease, but rather stress that I have difficulty relaxing.
This weekend, God, not so subtly demanded I slow down!
Wednesday night as we (my daughter and I shower together to save time) were in the shower, she began complaining of stomach pains. I immediately blamed it on her poor eating habits, and said, “Suck it up Buttercup!” That was until in the midst of my shaving, she began throwing up. For 12 hours she heaved. I had the trashcan by her side of the bed and by the third hour of every 30-45 minutes, I was most certainly perfecting my ninja skills. I would throw myself across the king sized bed to grab the trashcan, hold her hair, all while rubbing her back and whispering apologetic mommy words. The following day, my schedule was amuck, but I still made it into work to assist with a project.
By Friday, exhausted, I was dreading the weekend. We were to take a day trip to Dallas (an 8 hour round trip) for my nephew’s birthday on Saturday and had tickets to the ballet Sunday. I called to remotely run payroll during my lunch break when my dad’s girlfriend answered his phone. Very calm and quiet, she said they were in the ER, because my father cut his finger on the band saw. Luckily, he only needed stitches. By that evening, he was in too much pain to trek across the state. I didn’t have the stamina to drive alone.
Now that my Saturday was free, I saw it as an opportunity to really train with only two weeks left before NBC’s American Ninja Warrior. I was feeling great, until my body went one way, but my ankle didn’t follow. POP! I rolled my ankle! I haven’t had an ankle injury since I was 12. I was mad, because this interruption didn’t fit into my schedule!
I limped into CryoTexas, a cryo therapy salon to seek relief when a beautiful silver haired angel approached myself and my girlfriend and awe-inspiring ninja, Charlotte Eccles. “You must be the ninjas!” she exclaimed.
My angel, a 75-year-old woman who is a National Senior Swimmer, DeEtte Sauer began talking. I immediately found myself in tears as soon as she began telling me her story. Her daughter died in a car accident at 18. Sauer said, “Luckily I found God a year before that, or I would have drank myself into an oblivion.”
I empathetically replied, “I’m so sorry. I wish I could take that pain away. That’s what I wish for my nonprofit; to heal the world!”
“Who are you,” she said abruptly, “to take over for Jesus?!” I was shocked, yet soothed as she continued, “A tremendous burden is lifted when you allow God to rule the Universe.”
Wow! Just those words opened my airways to breathe easier. Who am I? But, I didn’t slow down. I headed back to the gym that night, with a swollen ankle. I then gained a sore shoulder.
That night, I tossed and turned wincing with every move, feeling road rage at the traffic my life was in.
Sunday, I slowly got ready for the ballet, anticipating more time than I actually had. We were late! We had just enough time to get there, but how would I park and hobble in the theater in time? AHHH! I need gas! I should have gotten gas last night!
I exited and hugged the shoulder of the frontage road, until BAM! The shoulder turned into a curb and my right tire hit it! I pulled in the gas station to fill up and survey the damage. My rim was bent, and while I don’t know much about cars, I knew I couldn’t continue with another “sprained ankle.”
I called my dad, who suggested I take it to a body shop to change out the tire with a spare. When I asked inside the gas station, I was met with a laugh, as “it’s Sunday. Ain’t nothing open on Sunday in this town.”
My dad offered his AAA card, but I knew they would require his presence. Then, I remembered what Discount Tire told me last month when I bought all four new tires. “Michelin offers free roadside assistance, just for buying their tires. They’ll change your flat or even tow you, no questions asked.”
I Googled “Michelin Roadside Assistance” and there was a 1-800 number. In disbelief, I called and was promised the service was free! I decided at that moment, the Michelin Man had to have a single mom develop this angelic program.
As my daughter and I waited, in our Sunday best, I looked at her with heartache, disappointment and anger at myself for making such a careless mistake and told her we wouldn’t make it to the ballet.
With more maturity at not quite seven, than her mother at almost 40, my little angel said, “it’s ok, Mommy. We have each other!”
After a 20-minute wait, a burley man with wings in a tow truck arrived. I showed him where the donut was and he began jacking up my car. I asked angel Mark Miller, of Miller’s Towing if my rim could be fixed and if so, where to take it? After taking the tire off the car, he inspected it. Then he walked over to his truck and brought back a hammer. He hammered away until the rim was seemingly perfect and put it back on my car. He said the tire wasn't damaged and all I needed was a new hubcap. I paid him with a hug, and away he went.
I realized, very loudly, that while I’m a Strong Mom Ninja, I’m not God. It’s not my job to save the world. I don’t have to do everything on my own. I’m not perfect, nor am I impervious to pain. I learned that if I don’t slow down, I will be forced to. I learned that there are angels, lessons and blessings in each day. I learned I will only buy Michelin tires from now on. And when I see that angelic glow in my rearview mirror, I will always check my speed and say, “Thank you God.”