Well That’s A First!

This past weekend was filled with new experiences. I guess you could say it was a weekend of “firsts.”

For example, it was my first time eating at Qdoba Mexican Grill. Move over Chipotle, you were just replaced. (Cue Homer Simpson drool face.) I don’t know if it was the perfectly seasoned chicken or the three cheese queso sauce, but I’m pretty sure I had the honor of consuming one of the best burritos on the planet. Lest you think I’m exaggerating, even my oldest son, who is a notoriously picky eater and swears up and down that he doesn’t like tortillas, inhaled his chicken and cheese quesadilla and then announced that this was his new favorite restaurant. Needless to say, “We’ll be back.”

I also had my first, and probably my last, experience of having my eye brows waxed. I’m still not quite sure why I did it. I suppose it was the casual, and apparently effective, question from the gal washing my hair at the salon. I haven’t stepped foot in a salon in about 10 months. Not because I have anything against haircuts, rather, I just haven’t made the time since my daughter came along.

Well I finally decided my unruly strawberry mane could no longer be neglected. I guess the intoxicating power of being out of the house with no children, and actually doing something for myself, got to my head. I went a little crazy! YES! You can wax my barely visible strawberry blond eyebrows. Can you dye my translucent eyelashes while you’re at it?

Okay, my eye lashes will just have to settle for their daily coat of mascara. However, my eyebrow enhancement seemed entirely within reach. Maybe the time had come to permanently lay down those tweezers and the painfully slow process of shaping my own brows. It might be worth paying a professional to get the job done…

My first reaction when I saw my newly waxed brows was pleasant surprise. Who knew that my barely there brows, could suddenly look so much better?! But a lot can change in twenty-four hours. For example, you can start to have unexplained swelling above your right eye while breaking out around your left eye in the exact areas that recently underwent a slightly painful beauty procedure at a salon the day before. Coincidence? Maybe I won’t retire those tweezers after all.

So I had one great first experience, followed by a slightly disappointing one. But my third “first” of the weekend is by far my favorite. I got to go on my first three-mile run of the year and got to do so with my husband and three kids.

Before you think I’m a running fanatic, let me explain. The truth is, I haven’t run consistently since my track and field days in High school. But this summer I decided that I was going to start running again. My husband had done a half marathon last year and was considering doing it again this October. I’m not quite as ambitious as he is, but I had planned on running a 5K with my MOPS group and maybe working up to a 10K at some point.

We have both been pretty good about getting out and running individually. Up to this point, however, we have never really run together. Well that’s not completely true. We tried running together once when we were newly married. It didn’t end well. I guess you could say that the competitive side of me did not like the fact that I couldn’t keep up with my husband.

Somewhere along the line as I was gasping for breath and trying desperately to keep up with his mammoth strides, he felt the need to “encourage me along.” I perceived this encouragement as unsolicited pressure to do the impossible and took that very opportunity to scream at him for being an insensitive jerk. Immature? Definitely. But I still contend that it was “all his fault!”

Thankfully our weekend run did not end with any angry, undeserved, crazy outbursts. Instead it was a fun and relaxing family experience. A new adventure, so to speak.

As we headed out, our oldest son was the leader of our pack. He took off down the sidewalk, furiously peddling his red Lighting Mcqueen bike, complete with road scuffed training wheels. Chad motioned for me to go next, but I declined. Whether he knew it or not, I would feel the pressure of having him behind me. My husband is a big guy and as already mentioned has a much bigger stride than me. I didn’t want a deja vu experience from 10 years ago. Instead I happily allowed him to move into the middle position. He was pushing our youngest two kids in the jogging stroller and took off at a pace that I didn’t’ even try to match.

As I brought up the rear and found a comfortable gait for myself I couldn’t help but smile. First of all, I had a great view of my husband’s hot buns. But, I also kept thinking of a line from one of the children’s books that my boys love to read called “Grandfather Buffalo.” Grandfather buffalo was the biggest and oldest buffalo in his herd. He was also the slowest. When the herd moved from place to place, to find greener places to graze, he was always the last to arrive. He couldn’t move at the same pace, “but as long as he could see the others, he was still a part of the herd.”

As we ran down the sidewalk, over railroad tracks, past numerous homes with freshly mowed and some overgrown lawns, we made our way to a nature trail that I have never run before. The path winded through trees and swampy marshes. We could hear the rustling of leaves, birds flitting from tree to tree, and the humming of insects and frogs in the water. As I ran in this mini wilderness within the city, I was overcome with gratitude. What a blessing to experience this new adventure with my own little “herd.”

I am so grateful that God has blessed me with the amazing gift of my family. What a joy to do life with these four special human beings. They teach me so much about life and about myself. Each one of us uniquely gifted, with our own minds and strong wills, and sometimes quirky personalities. We are far from perfect! In fact, there are days when I think we would make some of those loony sitcom families look normal. We have our good days, and we definitely have our bad days. Most fall somewhere in between. But despite our differences and the ups and downs we face, we have one thing in common: we belong to each other. We are bonded together through the ties of love, faith and commitment. And I wouldn’t want it any other way!

Life is filled with firsts. First steps, first days of school, first dates, a first house. The list could go on and on. I am looking forward to experiencing a million more “firsts” in my life time. Some of those will be things that I have to experience on my own. But if our weekend family run taught me anything, it’s that I can’t wait for the many new adventures that we are sure to embark on together.

How about you? What are some family adventures that you have experienced and how has it impacted you?

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