In Kelly’s Words – Paddling Like Crazy!
Over the long holiday weekend of July 4th my daughter Nell asked to go for a bike ride early one morning (“Go bike? Bike now?”). She is 2, so what that looks like is her walking on her balance bike while I walk (roll in my wheelchair) next to her. I agreed to go even though, to be honest, I didn’t really want to; I would rather have sat inside drinking my coffee.
But I was really glad I did. I felt a great appreciation for the slow down and calm that I felt as we slowly walked down the dirt road in the stillness of the cool morning air, the only sounds the crunch of our wheels on the dirt and her sweet voice jibber jabbering about who knows what (stopping every 20 feet or so with “This way?”). In the craziness that is my life with two young kids and working full time across 2 jobs/passions, I have come to really appreciate these quiet moments.
Many who have followed my story since my spinal cord injury in 2006 and who read my blog regularly have a pretty good sense of what my life entails these days. Kids, KBF, nurse practitioner, some time for Zeke every once in a while. But, being the open book that I am, I thought for this blog I would share a bit more of the hectic nature of my life, rather than just the calm and/or excitement that many see through my blog or on social media. In the saying: be like a duck, calm and unruffled on the surface, and paddling like crazy below. This is the look into the “paddling like crazy”.
My girls are 2 (Nell) and 5 (Dylan), so just their energy keeps me busy. It still amazes me how infrequently they just sit still and don’t move – they are constantly playing! We have them both in full time childcare, Nell at daycare and Dylan with a mix of preschool and a nanny who watches my sister’s 2 kids (ages 5 and 7) as well. This has been a really nice mix for us but also takes a lot of management and focus. Just last week our daycare was closed for the 4th of July week and our nanny hurt her hand so needed to be off and we were left scrambling to watch the kids and still get our work done.
Dylan is starting kindergarten in the fall, which is such an exciting milestone but also takes more management (and worry!). Even now, we are trying to get her on a schedule so she’ll be ready to leave the house to get to school on time and we never seem make it. I’m hoping the adrenaline and excitement of the actual day will get her moving more quickly, but it’s hard to leave it to that day to know for sure.
Nell turned 2 in March and we are squarely in the terrible twos. She is not having epic tantrums and throwing herself on the floor, but we are seeing that she is really strong willed and wants to do it her way. This is very different from Dylan so I don’t feel like I have good tools that worked with Dylan to manage this behavior. One thing that has become clearer the last few months is how much more challenging this behavior is for me compared to Zeke. When Nell won’t do something or isn’t cooperating, Zeke is able to just pick her up or do it for her. Even though she is only 2, this is often not possible for me. I don’t have the strength to lift her or force her to do something if she’s fighting me and I can’t chase her when she runs away from me. As with anything, I’ve gotten better at finding things that work for me, but the feeling of frustration is real.
But Nell’s strong-willed personality isn’t all saved for tormenting me (thankfully!); she also has some great qualities because of this. One of these is her determination and resolve as she is learning new things. Like I discussed above, she loves riding on her balance bike. She will fall off, but she just gets right back up.
Dylan turned 5 in April and it has been really fun to watch her blossom into a little person. She is starting to be able to do more things that Zeke and I do and we are very close to doing things as a family. This winter Dylan could ski much more of the mountain. We could go up most lifts and find a green or easy blue that we would all ski down together. She loved chasing her cousins through the woods as well. This was another challenge for me because I couldn’t easily ski in the woods with her. I’d usually ski on the trail where I could still see them while they were in the woods with another adult we were skiing with. It was really fun for me to watch her experience this fun part of skiing as a kid, but it was hard for me to not be right there with her.
Zeke and I are both working full time. I split my time as a nurse practitioner and working at the KBF. Over the last 5 years or so I have increased my time at the KBF and decreased my time as an NP. I feel as though the 50/50 split I have right now is a great balance for me and has been really fun to be even more involved in the KBF on a daily basis. This has been even more important as Edie (our new Executive Director) and I build our working relationship. Zeke started his new job in February this year, which means he’s busier than ever learning about this new industry (low income housing development and property management) as well as continuing his involvement on the KBF board of directors, leading the ski racing safety initiative, and supporting the KBF team as a volunteer. Because of our passion for the work we do and the nature of the industry, our jobs don’t stop when we leave the office. Very often we are discussing KBF in the evenings or weekends and we find the brainstorming and dreaming about possibilities endless. These are fulfilling opportunities, but never enough time!
In those calm, quiet moments while riding my bike or walking with Nell while she rides hers or riding up the chairlift with Dylan (actually, that’s never very quiet!), I try to appreciate the craziness that is my life. When I really think about it, I don’t think I’d have it any other way. It can be exhausting at times, but I love it all. I still use activity as my outlet and I love seeing my kids do the same thing. And when Zeke and I get to ski together or get out on the lake in the evening, that’s just an extra cherry on top.