Hello, Angelica! (3 miles)

Last Wednesday we found out that our lives are changing again: we’re adopting a baby girl, and we’re bringing her home later today.  In a few hours, Nat will have a baby sister, and we’ll have another little life placed under our care.  Its exciting and wonderful and terrifying all at once, and more than a little unexpected and nerve-wracking.  Nat’s adoption happened very quickly: we finalized all the paperwork for going on the books on November 24th, and we got the call about him on January 22nd.  Angelica’s went even quicker: we hadn’t even filed the paperwork when Linda at the adoption agency called us and asked “Would you guys be possibly interested in a little girl?”  A week later, we we met with the parents; today, a week after that, we’re going to meet Angelica for the first time and bring her home.

Part of me is concerned that I’ve forgotten everything I learned about having a newborn, but I know that’s silly — last time around I’d never had a baby, and things worked out fine, so I’m sure it will all work out.  What I am worried about is keeping up my running.  After Nat came home, I was so busy and tired that I just stopped running all together.  In 2008, I ran 1,175 miles; in 2009, I ran 180.  I pretty much just didn’t run from January of ’09 to June of ’10.  The big problem was that once I’d lost the habit of running, it was hard to pick it up again, since even when I was getting enough sleep I wasn’t used to forcing myself on my feet.  Over the last ten months I’ve steadily built back up to being a regular runner, and I don’t want to lose that again and have to start back from nothing.  I just need to remember last Friday night and how tired I was before I dropped off the car, and how fabulous it felt to moving alone, running through the dark.

So this mornings run was, in a large part, a stubborn insistence that I will keep running after late-night bottle-feedings and early morning diaper-changes.  And mother nature didn’t make it easy on me, either, since we had a nasty mix of rain, sleet, and snow spitting down all morning — all the better to temper my resolve, I suppose.  Since we had a rather hectic morning before us, I also took star with me, so I was running in the rain, with my dog: two things I’d rather not do if given my choice.  But much of life is about making do when you are NOT, in fact, given your choice, and if I’m going to keep running over the next months, it will entail fitting in runs at times I never would choose.  But that’s part of the zen of running: if you can’t have the run you love then love the run you’ve got, and the perfect run is the one you are on right now, if you can only realize that.

So I ran three miles in the snow and rain with my dog (for once) lagging behind, and it was slow and nothing worth writing about: but it was a run, and I thought about my daughter, who I have never met but who is out there somewhere, ready to change our lives, just as Nat changed ours, and about Nat and how amazing he is and how complicated this entire adoption process is with all the lives and relationships that it entails, and how it was cold and my feet were getting wet, and that the name Angelica was nothing either of us would have ever chosen and yet it seems to me the most beautiful name possible, and that my ankle sort of hurt after running with that heavy back-pack yesterday, and what a strange and beautiful and unpredictable thing life is, how my teenage-self, reading fantasy novels back in Oregon, never could have possibly imagined he’d someday be running through the sleet in the grey-dawn of Brooklyn, getting ready to bring home his daughter, along with his partner and son, who will be the world’s best big brother ever.  He’s already said that daddy should take the baby running.

Distance: 3 miles          Time: 28:42


About Chris Van Dyke

I am a 33 year-old high school English teacher and long-distance runner. I live in Brooklyn with my partner, our 3 year-old son and 1 year-old daughter and a growing collection of muppets and trains. Besides running and teaching I like to draw, read, write, cook, and play the harmonica. While I didn't get to run my first ultra-marathon on my birthday, I've got a few more I've set my sights on. You can follow my (seldom updated) twitter feed @aboutrunning. I also blog as part of the Run Smiley Collective.
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