I’m Doing the Best I Can

One step after another, I trudged up the steep hill.

I counted—one, two, three—all the way up through twenty, and then I changed the position of my foot strike from mid-food to tip-toes. One through twenty, and repeat. It’s my trick for getting up the big steep hills. I’m forced to train on these mini-mountains at the tippy top of the Appalachain Mountains.

Mid-foot, toes, mid-foot, toes, mid-foot, toes. Always counting.

Eventually, my perseverance gave way. I finished the current count to twenty and dropped back into my heel walk. I checked my heart rate. I walked slowly until it dropped back out of peak range. Then I power-walked.

And then I ran again.

This happened three separate times on that particular training run, the dropping into a walk. Up the giant, monstrous hill, back up a steep incline just after my turnaround point, and near the end on another steep incline that felt much easier to run down near the beginning of the run.

During the walking portion after turning around, I felt defeated. Running in July is no easy feat, especially up these non-stop hills. Over and over. Between the heat and the uphill both ways, it’s easy to feel like you’re getting nowhere. Slowly.

I quickly started repeating my running mantra over and over.

“I’m doing the best I can. I’m doing the best I can. I’m doing the best I can.”

— __ — __ —

A series of events resulted in our oldest son sitting on the ground in our reading nook, shooting me dirty looks from across the room. His repeated mistreatment of his iPhone case resulted in the complete disintegration of a Lifeproof case. Apparently they’re Lifeproof but not BigBrother proof. When I informed him that I wasn’t running out to replace the case and that he couldn’t use the phone without a case, and as such, he couldn’t have a phone for a month… well… the tween emotions ran high.

I’m doing the best I can.

— __ — __ —

“Mommy, do you want to play Mario with me?”

I need to finish up this work.

“Mommy, do you want to play Animal Crossing with me?”

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I’d love to, but I need to start dinner.

“Mommy, all you do is work.”

I’m doing the best I can.

— __ — __ —

My daughter sent me a series of texts during a difficult day recently. I don’t quite have Tween Boy issues down yet, so sometimes Teen Girl things escape me. I offered some ideas, gave my support. I don’t know if it helped; I only hope it didn’t make things worse.

I’m doing the best I can.

— __ — __ —

My husband’s grandmother fell recently. I have tried to be a supportive wife and granddaughter-in-law. I hate seeing my husband worry, seeing him hurt. I hate knowing the reality that, with my grandparents gone (save for my possibly immortal great-grandmother), my husband’s grandparents will not be with us forever. It hurts almost as much as losing my grandparents.

I’ve been trying to keep the house together and care for the boys and work and help clean his grandparents’ house. But I keep letting balls drop; laundry, clutter, my energy level. I don’t feel like I’m doing enough.

I’m doing the best I can.

— __ — __ —

I still haven’t quite figured out why my best never feels quite good enough. I always feel like I’m falling short in approximately nine thousand ways. I need to run faster, longer. I should be a better mom, a better birth mom. A better wife. The house should be cleaner. I shouldn’t make mistakes at work. I should have written the freaking book by this point. Never. Ever. Enough.

But maybe.

— __ — __ —

I finished the run that day. Somehow, between running, walking, 20-20 stride combos, I logged my fastest 4.5 mile run this training cycle. It’s still not fast, but it shows improvement.

I’m doing this.

I’m doing the best I can.

 

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