Racing against worry

One of my son’s favorite books is a poem written by Jamie Lee Curtis and is illustrated by Laura Cornell — “Is There Really a Human Race?” My mom got it for Miles when he was five days old and it is pretty fantastic.

Here’s a few excerpts of the poem, the first portion spoken by the child and the second the mom.

“Is there really a human race? Is it going on now all over the place? When did it start? Who said ‘ready set go?’ Did it start on my birthday? I really must know. Do I warm up and stretch? Do I practice and train? Do I get my own coach? Do I get my own lane? Do I race in the snow? Do I race in a twister? … Why am I racing? What am I winning? Does all of the running keep the world spinning? … And why do I do it, this zillion yard dash? If we don’t help each other we are all going to CRASH!”

“Sometimes it is better not to go fast. There are beautiful sights to be seen when you are last. Shouldn’t it be that you just try your best, and that’s more important than beating the rest? Shouldn’t it be looking back at the end that you judge your own race by the help that you lend? So, take what’s inside of you and make big bold choices. … And make friends. And love well. … And make the world better for the whole human race.”

I can’t read that book and not get all gushy inside. It is a beautiful reminder of taking a breath and remembering what is important.

Like the little guy in the story who anxiously asks a ton of questions, concerned about the race, I can get carried away with my anxiety.

And being a mom is a race, a marathon really. And not one of those little 26.2 mile ones either (ha-ha), but I’m talking a lifetime; millions of miles.

It’s long, and it is so sweaty and messy. This race takes concentration, endurance, focus, muscle — everything you have.

So when I let myself get bogged down in anxiety and worry, that race that is already so challenging and difficult begins to feel impossible. I can’t run it well.

Instead of keeping pace and jumping over the hurdles with ease, I get tripped up. I get cranky. I get cranky, most often, with my poor husband. I’ve let all those worries — Is Miles eating well enough? What about all these bills? Am I doing a good enough job at work? Am I ever going to get pregnant again? — weigh me down.

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This story, it reminds me to SLOW DOWN.

I need to drop off that baggage so I can race well, and by well, I don’t mean fast — I mean doing my best. And I certainly can’t do that burdened with a lifetime of anxiety and worry.

So, here’s me, taking what’s inside of me and making a big bold choice — I’m going to do the best I can and leave the worry behind. And most importantly, I’m going to “love well” and do my part to “make the world better for the whole human race.”

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