This week I took my bike in to get a tuneup. I knew the tires were treadbare (is that a term? It should be) and I thought maybe the gears would need to be tightened or…or I don’t really know what I thought. When I got my bike back it was pretty much brand new – tires, rear wheel, brakes, gears, chain, chain ring, bar tape…
I took her out on Thursday all clean and shiny and I thought…I don’t really know what I thought. The ride was smooth. The gears changed so well. I had brakes, and control. But I still was chasing the ladies in my group that I’m always chasing because I’m still me. I’m still the one who powers my bike. My strengths and my weaknesses still determine how all those new parts work together. I didn’t exactly kill it on one particular hill that in the past has really gotten me but Thursday the hill didn’t kill me either. In fact, Tuesday even before before the overhaul it didn’t kill me.
Tuesday I was late. Sort of. I was actually very on time- in time enough that I over estimated how relaxed I could be about dropping off the monkeys and how long I could sit and talk. When I eventually did make it back outside to my bike, only the dirt bike girls were left. They pointed me in the general direction and the challenge was on. It was so fun racing down the first hill and then powering through the park at my own speed just catching a glimpse of my group often enough to reassure and motivate me. One particular spot on the trail brought me back to the fall and how similar that ride was to this one but how different it all was too. Still late, still left behind, this time no one was crying.
Not long ago a friend of my Mums asked me how I was doing. I told her that truthfully I was better than I’d been in 2 years. She responded that “you and those babies will eventually figure it out”. I know that she didn’t mean it this way, but for the next bit when the Hubs spoke in church leaving me to handle a brood I was so very clearly to everyone in the congregation unable to handle on my own; when library books were missing and Buster and the Lady were late for School and both babies thought they couldn’t not be held without screaming; when I took all 4 swimming and realized the spectacle we were to everyone as we dropped shoes and fruit snacks and tripped on the sidewalk and wrestled and wiggled and didn’t want to hold hands in the parking lot and 5 sets of towels and suits and bags and crackers and diapers…I thought “if I was only more capable, more clever, more organized MORE- I would have this figured out by now and I would be able to handle it.”
But some things can’t be figured out. Of course, some things can- it took me much longer to figure out that if I am in a hurry to get the boys dressed, I need to close the bedroom door so they can’t escape without socks and only one arm in their sleeves. But sometimes, Time just has to pass. Enough time has passed for the monkeys to know that when I drop them off in nursery they can have fun without me and that I will come back. The boys are bigger enough that they can trail behind me without leaving a trail of all they’ve ransacked. The weather is better and I can send all four kids into the yard together while I organize my thoughts and my home. And sleep. There are finally naps and occasionally extended night hours of uninterrupted sleep.
Last summer while Buster and the Lady were training I thought that I too would swim. I was slow and it was hard. It took weeks before I felt like I could “train”. And training was hard and none of it was fun. But the last time I swam it felt so great. Still not particularly fast and not quite “training”, it felt like a base had been set and I was ready to train, could train if only I was able to organize time and my children to allow me more alone space in the pool. And I was surprised- Surprised because in my years of setting and achieving or failing to meet SMART goals I’ve just now recently realized this : On paper the goal can seem Specific Measurable Attainable and Realistic but if the Time isn’t right, none of the other factors are possible. Getting more sleep, eating less sugar, taking Buster and the Lady skating, teaching aquafit and carrying around munchkins all help me to be a better swimmer and cyclist. I’m not going to win any races soon, but I can be back to a place where it’s fun again instead of just hard. Not because I’ve been specific in my goals but because my body has had time to heal.
Sometimes like my bike, the stress of day to day, changing gears often, peddling trough hard experiences turn the need for a tuneup into the need for an overhaul. But sometimes with all the work and thought and prayer we can put into healing a broken heart or forgiving a wrong or getting over a sore foot or taking kids for more park time or learning to play the piano or even reading all the books you (I) want to read- what we really need is time.
In a world of SMART goals and the need to be always working on something and towards something, it can be difficult to be patient and allow time for growth, for healing, for improvement, for all the other factors and pieces that need to fit together to finally fit together.
Sometimes instead of wishing we were More, we just need to allow ourselves more time. So that when we find ourselves behind, trying to catch up, we can also enjoy the feeling of our own power as we move through life, catching a glimpse just often enough of where we may someday be to reassure and motivate us. Then when the time is right, we’re ready.
When the hubs and I first got married and nearly every night was date night we spent a ridiculously large portion of our expendable income on enjoying good food, mostly it was prepared by other people and mostly enjoyed in restaurants. But we also spent a lot of time cooking together and experimenting with food. Once in a while we would make something so good we would add it our imaginary menu for when we opened our imaginary restaurant. These cheesecake brownies were the first to go on our dessert menu. They aren’t too sweet and the cheesecake is light and airy.
The last time we made them, we were busy with Sunday dinner prep so the Lady and Buster made them with only a little help from the Hubs.
After we had shared them with the Lady’s Sunday school teacher, she sent me a quick thank you and called them “restaurant quality”. Our imaginary restaurant investors rejoiced at the positive review from the imaginary food critic.
Raspberry Cheesecake Brownies
- 2 packages low fat cream cheese
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch (I use tapioca starch because it’s what I have)
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt
For the cheese cake part mix the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs and then add the starch, vanilla and yogurt.
In another bowl
- 2/3 cup butter melted
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup flour (I use an all purpose gluten free mix)
- 1/3 cup cocoa
- 1/2 tsp salt
Brownies: Melt the butter then add the sugar, vanilla and eggs. Mix until smooth. Beat in the eggs, then stir in the flour, cocoa and salt.
- In a greased 9×13 pan, pour in just enough of the cheesecake batter to cover the bottom.
- Drop in a several spoonfuls of brownie batter,nap acing them out then pour in the rest of the cheesecake batter
- Add the rest of the brownie batter in spoonfuls into the spaces and then with a knife, gently swirl to mix the two desserts just a little.
- Bake @350 degrees for 50-60 minutes. Cool and then refrigerate. Serve topped with raspberry coulis or jam.