Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tweedle Dee Rocks

My 11 year old daughter, Emma, started an acting camp last week. Her first one. She will go to camp for nine days, then perform Alice in Wonderland at a dinner theater with a bunch of other amateur kid actors. For some reason I’ve always hated Alice in Wonderland. I find it weird and annoying. But, that’s just me. I didn’t tell Emma that.

On day two , the instructor would be assigning everyone their parts.

Emma (after day one): “I just want to warn you. It’s possible I’ll be assigned the part of a tree.”

She seemed worried, almost embarrassed about the fact that she would be a tree. She had no reason to believe she would be a tree, but it was as if she was preparing us – like we would be so disappointed to have a tree as a daughter. As if we would never be able to look her in the eye again. Mostly because all those damn leaves would get in the way.

At first I didn’t say much, just reassured her that she’d be given the part that was best for her and not to worry about it.

At dinner, the subject resurfaced.

Emma:I know I keep saying this, but just so you know I could be a tree in Alice in Wonderland.”

I sat there thinking, why is this bugging her so much? Why does she think we will be so let down? Have we made her feel as if we can only accept her if she is in the spotlight, if she has the biggest and best part out there? Oh God. We’ve failed her as parents. Therapy here she comes.  I wondered what type of motherly response would fit best in this situation.

Me: Well, if you are assigned the part of the the tree, then be the best damn tree you can be!

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What is most important is not that we are the star of the show: the fastest runner, the most popular kid on the block, the top-paid lawyer in the firm. The point is that whatever we do, we do it 100 percent. If we are a 12 minute per mile runner, then we should be the damn best 12 minute per mile runner out there and not apologize for it. Sure, we can aim to be a ten-minute per mile runner, but until we get there, we shouldn’t waste our time wishing away who we are. The joy comes not so much in the task we are tackling at the moment, but the fervor and drive we use to apply ourselves to the task of 100 percentness.

Even if where we are at this moment is not our ideal, it is given more meaning when we take it seriously, when we see it as our challenge.

I am a middle-aged recreational runner (MARR).  That’s where it is for me. I could sit around wishing I were a spring chicken with perky breasts who ran a 7 minute mile. I could put my energy into beating myself up for not making the top three at any race. Or, I could embrace where I am and be the best damn MARR I can be today. Maybe that means someday I’ll get on the podium. Or, more likely that means I won’t (unless only 3 people show up in the 45-49 age group). But, regardless I’ve done my best.

What I find is I am infinitely more happy in my job, my role as a parent, my marriage, my friendships and as a runner when I accept where I am, welcome it and be the best damn runner, friend, social worker,writer, wife, or mother I can be at that moment. It becomes less important that I am the  fastest, most important or richest and more important that I devote myself to greatness in the doing what is simply before me - what is real for me. The joy comes from the pride in taking ownership and doing it well.

Emma was not given the part of the tree. She was given the part of  Tweedle Dee. My guess is that when I watch her perform this week she’ll be the best Tweedle Dee I’ve ever seen.

 

SUAR

31 comments:

  1. LOVE this! I struggled with self confidence myself and it's been something I've really been working on. I have decided my intention is to be the best me I can be and if no one likes it too bad for them! Congrats to your daughter and I have always Alice... I think I relate a little too well to the Mad Hatter!

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  2. At least she's not Dum. And it's better than being second lobster at the Nativity.

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  3. GREAT post!!! Love it so much. So true.

    Thanks- I love your blog and your heart.

    Kelly in Michigan ( a fellow MARR)

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  4. WONDERFUL POST!!!
    thank you so much for sharing---its JUST what i needed to hear today!!

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  5. Thanks!!! I got hurt this past spring trying to be a faster runner because I was feeling bad about slow running. Little did I know an injury would totally end my spring running season and that I would gain a few pounds and lose my running fitness level. I am back at it still nursing my injury...totally not worth it.

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  6. Oh my gosh, this post is fantastic. I think we could all use a dose of being comfortable with where we are and not pushing to be somewhere we're not today. (Reminds me of what I'm always being told in yoga class.) Thank you so much for sharing this!

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  7. My daughter's been in therapy for over a year now...I always blame myself. But that's a different topic! :)

    Emma's going to do fantastic: tree or Twiddle Dee. You've raised a very bright, thoughtful daughter. She's going through that phase where they're learning what they're made of and she doesn't want to disappoint anyone - including herself. Oh how I can relate!

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  8. Love this. I was just thinking about this, because I noticed that reading running blogs about faster runners was both inspiring and depressing. I started doubting myself, whether I'd ever get *that* fast. Then I saw a quote from an accomplished cross country runner (forgot the name), who questioned why we worship runners who can run around in circles faster than everyone else, no matter who they are in life -- even if they have no joy in their lives, or any other good qualities or abilities. Basically his point was to love what you do and do it well (or to the best of your ability).

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  9. Love it and live it. You're so right!
    I love your blog, it's the first and only I have ever followed.

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  10. Thank you so much for this post. Hello my name is Kim and I am a tree!
    I am ALWAYS beating myself up for being slow even thought I only started running 2 yrs ago at age 40. I celebrate others for who they are right now at this moment, but don't often extend the same courtesy to myself.
    I needed this reminder. Go Emma Go!

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  11. Great post, love that you can take what's happening in your kids lives and relate it to running.
    And it's so true! I'm a 12 minute miler MARR, taking on my first full marathon and taking on track/speed workouts. Your blog is a great inspiration, thanks!

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  12. What a wonderful post and such a great lead in to loving who you are and where you are in life. We all need a little reminder now and then.
    As for Emma, I can relate. I was a Penguin in Mr. Poppers Penguins which wasn't too bad. The bad part was that the costume assigned to me was missing an arm.

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  13. So, so true! I'm definitely a MARR and closer to a 12 minute miler than anything much faster, and I'm good with that. Great advice to Emma, and great advice to all of us!

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  14. Thank you! Such perfect timing. I am a teacher who recently relocated for my husbands job. I can't find a single teaching position and have been working as a nanny in the meantime. I beat myself up over the fact that I have a million student loans and I'm doing something I did before i got my degree... But I'll keep trying to be the best nanny I can be!

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  15. Aww this is gold! Especially for this 11ish minute mile runner.

    I think that is a great part for her knowing (through your blogs) the humor and personality she displays

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  16. Saw a tee shirt in the Delia's catalog today that said "Be-You-tiful" on the front. I'm buying it for my 12 y.o. daughter no matter how much it costs.

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  17. Thank you for this post-ive been struggling with my continual search for perfection and your writing this helps me see how my thinking is causing me to miss out on things.

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  18. Absolutely in all regards. Tough lessons to learn, tough to teach. I'm finding I'm not my speediest these days and I'm also finding that I'm ok with that (big change for me). I'm not settling, but I'm not going to throw everything out of balance to change it either.

    BTW--my 7-yr. old did drama camp a couple of weeks ago. Lion King at the end of it. Seriously one of the most hilarious productions I've ever seen. But she rocked it!

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  19. Great stuff. So many people make themselves miserable wishing for what they don't have instead of being happy they have so much. Whether it's a yacht and designer clothes or a 7 minute mile pace marathon -- do you really think that will make your life complete?

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  20. Hey! Good for her! And really good advice.

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  21. aw, great post! Your kids always sound so fun. Way to go, Emma!

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  22. I totally needed this post, thank you. I'm also a MARR and while I just qualified for Boston for the first time, I've actually had thoughts that my time of 3:42 is so slow compared to others in the blogging/running world.

    Don't worry, I've since snapped out of that mentality and am very happy with my race because I worked so hard for each of those miles and earned that time through a lot of painstaking training, and for that I'm proud.

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  23. I am a new runner (MARR- ha!) and I am so happy to have found this blog. I've already discovered that in the World of Runners it is too easy to compare yourself to others and forget how great it feels just to push your body to a place you never dreamed you could go... no matter how slow!

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  24. Congratulations to Emma! My daughter has taken acting, dance & voice for years. She is very talented, but she has come home from auditions crying. I remember 1X she cried about getting the part of a 'magical' fish. She was the absolute best fish ever!

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  25. Thank you for the wonderful reminder to always be the best we can be! I find myself constantly comparing myself to other runners and wondering why I can't be more natural (and faster) at it but in reality I just need to stop and be myself!

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  26. You've got it in one! This is exactly what we should be teaching our kids AND applying to our own lives.

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  27. So true. Now I'm not a parenting expert, but if you're telling your kids what you're telling us, you're doing a darn good job. Too many parents tell their kids they're the star....or SHOULD BE the star....instead of telling them to be the best tree they can be!

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  28. Once again, Beth, you've helped me accept, and EMBRACE, who I am: a 12-minute MARR! Thank you SO MUCH!

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  29. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this post! It puts everything into perspective:)

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  30. Parenthood

    We start off early watching television and then envisioning our American dream. As a child, we play with our babies, doll houses, and writing in our diaries. We start at the tender age of 4 or 5 looking for our prince charming to marry. Over time, we replace our crushes of princes and other Disney characters with real boys. Sometimes it is the boy that sits next to you in class or a movie star. Either way, it is getting you ready for that all important task called LOVE.........

    http://www.richlymiddleclass.com/parenthood

    Thanks

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  31. we ALWAYS tell kindergarteners in line who inevitably want to be FIRST- "It's all right wherever you are"- they learn the chant. "It's all right where ever I am" at an early age and hopefully it follows them them rest of their lives!

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