Trail Run

Trail Run

Living in Iowa I am used to the varying temperatures daily-especially certain times of the year. Saturday was bitter cold (and yay! each kid had soccer games!) hovering somewhere around 35 when you factored in wind but Sunday was beautiful-closer to 70s.

Though I’ve never been a long distance runner (my collegiate track coach tried so hard, bless his heart, to push me into the 400-800 meter range but I was most comfortable in the 100-200 meter range) I do enjoy a good trail run from time to time. It just brings out the kid in me when I have to jump over puddles or logs.

After lunch on Sunday I asked the kids if anyone wanted to join me on my run and all 5 jumped at the chance. Admittedly I was kind of looking forward to a solo jog to find that meditative quality that can sometimes come but I’ve never been able to resist some QT with the kids and so off we went.


At church that morning our pastor talked to us about how God is in every moment, yes, but that in particular he’s in this moment.  That our past is often clouded in shame and our future is often draped in fear but in this moment, the one right. now. we can decide to be in it. To invest fully in this breath, and then the next one and then the next. Not remaining imprisoned by the past or captive of the future just here and now.

I don’t know what it was about that run but I was doing it. And it was awesome.



Watching the big 3 take off at a pretty quick pace and hold it the whole time reminded me how youth is wasted on the young (;)) what I wouldn’t give to hold that clip for 30 full minutes!


Dailah enjoyed running with her arms open wide, lifted to the sun. It looked like 30 minutes of gratitude, it was beautiful.


When I was talking to Bean’s Kindergarten teacher she said, “Bean exemplifies perseverance. No one perseveres like Bean does.” For kids like Bean who couldn’t walk before he was 3-years-old, perseverance is the only way they know how to live. I’ve found people go one of two ways when they’ve been dealt a hand like Bean has-they either give up or they fight like hell. My Bean is a fighter. I’ll never know what it’s like to run for 30 minutes on feet that have been operated on 3 times and still give me pain daily but I’ll know what it’s like to witness perseverance because I get to see it in my youngest every day.



Days like today-post 9/11, Newtown and Boston I am infinitely aware of how lucky I am to hold my 5 babes in my arms. To be able to run! And laugh! And see the first signs of spring! I’m able to really breathe in the now because the now just feels so. damn. good.




As soon as I had Dailah I knew I wanted a sister for her.


My sister, Kara, and I are just 2 years apart and though we weren’t always super close growing up (she looooved reading books by herself in her room, I looooooved hassling her to come play with me) our relationship is now one I rely on daily.


I see the boys interact with each other and want that for Dailah. She typically plays with the boys pretty well but every once in awhile I’ll see her alone in her room playing with Barbies having to shift from one spot to the other, changing her voice as she goes so that she can successfully act out a scene.


The boys ask for friends to come over or stay the night but not like Dailah does. Daily Dailah has a new note for me, “Mommy I know I ask all of the time but can (x) PLEASE come over and play with me?!?!?”


My girl is a social butterfly. When the boys discuss new concepts they learned in math or the book they read in english, Dailah talks about who said what and who got sent to the reflection room. She physically looks like Zach but behaves so much like me sometimes that it takes me back a bit. A few days ago Dailah told me she has resorted to developing an imaginary friend to talk to because Binyam listens really well but doesn’t talk very much.


I told Zach wanting a sister for Dailah was one of the reasons I wanted to be a foster parent. Of course it wasn’t the main reason but I thought it was a way that we could give her a person to play with (preferably a girl) and maybe, if it was the right fit and the child’s parents experienced termination of rights, we could adopt her. Zach told me it probably wasn’t a good idea to do anything just because I wanted a sister for Dailah.


Obviously he was right in the sense that it would be a pretty horrible reason if it were the only reason, but the reality is I love girls. Dailah is so much fun. Two nights ago Zach and I were going on a date night and, after seeing what I was wearing, Dailah went in to help Zach figure out his outfit as well. She helps me pick out all of my accessories too but she also loves to learn about cooking and fashion. Dailah is the only other girl in our whole family, she and I share a little something extra because of that fact.


Though our relationship can one day be like friends and confidants, I don’t believe it should be that way now. It seems unfair that the boys have each other-best friends in every sense of the word-right in their own home and she has no one.


I wish you could’ve seen how excited she was that we got a girl kitten. A girl. kitten. “We have another girl in the family, mom! Aren’t you so excited!” It doesn’t take much to excite Dailah, for that I’m thankful.


I think it’s safe to say having Miss A around has been kind of a wake up call for us both. Yes, she’s a girl and yes, she’s of age that they play well together some of the time, but it’s just not exactly what we were thinking.


Clearly I know no relationship is perfect but I’ve heard Dailah changing her tune a little bit, “Mom, I guess my friends at school are kind of my sisters, right? And Adley Sue and Tayehu (her cousins) are kind of my sisters, right? And Eli, even though he’s a boy, he’s like my sister because he’s my best friend.” Yes, Dailah, they are just like your sisters.



I told Zach I realize that I don’t want a sister for Dailah, I just want another Dailah. She is so much fun. If I could twin her I would. The three of us would get into some real shenanigans. But I can’t, so there’s that.


Last night I was thinking about my best friends. With a few exceptions, they are all my sisters. I have one biological sister but I have four sisters-in-law that I’m really close to. Close to in a way I didn’t think was possible before I married Zach. With my brother’s wife I often talk to her way more than I talk to him. Though I love him dearly, I’m often more excited to see her than I am to see him (only because she likes to talk as much as I do. heehee)


Zach’s sister is nothing but a soul sister of mine. I like to think of her as a better looking, smarter, taller version of myself. I’m not sure I would’ve stuck with Zach this long if his sister weren’t part of the package. 😉 (In below picture she is right next to me). The women Zach’s brothers married are equally amazing. I look forward to the days when we’re all together and can often be found “encouraging” Zach to make that happen. I love how easily we slip back into conversation even when we haven’t seen each other for a bit. I had no idea I would find actual sisters in my marriage, but man what an extravagant blessing.


I wish I could look into Dailah’s eyes and tell her that she’ll find sisters throughout her life and have her believe it. I wish I could tell her sisters are often not found in the family you grow up with but in the relationships you build throughout life.


As I look at my life I realize sisterhood isn’t a place you’re born into but a place you build. I want her to learn how to develop a sisterhood wherever she finds herself. I want her to learn early on how to encourage other women, how to build them up and root for their success. I want her to learn to invest her time in strong female relationships so she’ll always have someone on her side who will tell her when she’s being ridiculous but also tell her when she’s all she was made to be.


I love my sister with everything, but I also happen to believe even if we weren’t born into the same family we would’ve found each other anyway. Though we are two very different people, we work.


So I’ve taken the pressure off Zach and me (somewhere Zach says, “Hallelu!”) to provide this for Dailah. Because I know her and I know how smart she is, how funny and beautiful. Because I know everything about her I know she’ll have no problem finding a sister herself-she just won’t find it in her home. And finally (I think) I’m ok with that.