Friday, October 24, 2014


People do things in life because it is important to them. People are typically motivated to do things, if they know the answer to the question "why". If the "why" is strong enough, people can do amazing things.

I often have people in awe over the fact that I exercise regularly. It is nothing unique with that, many do that. What surprises many is that I do it in crisis too. Many of my dear fitness instructors and friends follow Jacob's journey. They know when he is inpatient and there I am lifting weights or doing jumping jacks at 5:30 am in the morning. My PICU nurses and attending doctors look out the window to see me running around the hospital during morning shift change. They all wonder what has gotten into this sleep deprived mom in crisis.

And this is the secret. I had years with Jacob when I literally never knew if I would end the day in my own bed or in a hospital bed next to Jacob. His health was so shaky, and he got so very sick out of nowhere. My life was out of control. The one thing I could control was to do something good for me. Find an hour in the day when I worked my body so hard that the pain in my legs and the heavy breathing became more present than my worry for Jacob. An hour that gave me more energy than sleep or food. An hour dedicated to me. An hour that made me a little bit better as a sleep-deprived, worried, and often very sad mama.

I remember one specific occasion very well. I had given it my all in an early spin class. My tank top and bike shorts were cold to my body from the sweat. All I wanted to do was to change clothes and jump in the shower. Jacob had other plans for me. He was having a grand mal seizure when I entered the house. I quickly called 911, and shortly we were off in an ambulance to Children's. Due to Jacob being so unstable, I was told to sit up front. They didn't want me back in the ambulance with Jacob. This is something I don't allow any longer, but I didn't know I could negotiate that back then. As we were cruising down I-25 in rush hour with the sirens on, I was deadly cold in my black workout clothes. I started to shiver from being cold and not knowing what was going on with Jacob in the back of the ambulance. I had to greet all the doctors and nurses in my very fashionable outfit of the day. The hair wet from sweat in an impossible ponytail, and knowing that I smelled...I don't remember how I finally got out of the clothes, but I do think my husband came to the rescue eventually and brought in some decent clothes...

Over the years, exercise has become my go to outlet for stress and remembering myself in the middle of giving it my all to my child who needs me every hour of the day. I do something good for me. If you know me well, you know I get cranky if I don't get my workout fix.

And from a place of survival, I found a love. A love I can share with my hubby and friends. Showing my daughter madly in love with volleyball that her mom can carry 70 pounds of her brother  anywhere he wants to go.

In Jacob's room we have this painting from Jacob's preschool Bal Swan with the saying "He is not heavy - he is my brother". And that everyone is my "why" I exercise at crazy hours of the day. "He is not heavy - he is my son".

Love, Maria.

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