There are days when I don’t want to do it–at least once a week, when the thought of springing out of bed, throwing on my sweats, sneakers and t-shirt, packing up my bag with clothes for work, a book to read, enough food for the day seems like too much work. When I look down at Jaime, sleep coffining her eyes, and Sonny, bundled in his sleeper next to our bed or right between us, chubby, happy and simply beautiful, all I want to do is angle myself back into my side of the bed, without waking either of them. I want to feel their warmth, my arm cocooning the baby, Jaime’s arm draped over my back, the three of us a small island no one will ever discover, except the cat kneading the blankets tangled at our feet and the dogs, their wet noses tickling us from the bed’s edge.
But each morning, I always get up. I always throw on the clothes, pack the bag, start the coffee, root through the fridge for whatever leftovers Jaime has ziplocked me, measure out the chia seeds, soak and mix them in juice and head for the gym, only after I tickle that little boy’s cheeks and steal a few kisses, equally hoping I don’t wake him up and hoping he does wake up and gives me one of his perfect smiles before falling back asleep. I do the same to Jaime, though her smiles lack his toothless perfection (Sorry but you know it’s true…) and she falls back asleep much more quickly.
Some days I’ll get to that train station and want to turn around, just a few blocks from more love, more sleep, more of the both of them close to me, but I never do. I get on the train. I drink the coffee. I find wherever I last left off in whatever book I’m reading (Currently, Nicholson Baker’s “The Anthologist.”). When I get to my stop, sometimes I think about heading over to the other side of the tracks and going right back home. I could call-in sick. I could miss a day of working-out. There’s always tomorrow.
Then I think about the graffiti I pass on my walk from the train station to the gym, which I saw my first day back at work–and back to my regular work-out schedule–after my seven-week paternity leave, blood red spray paint blazed across the white wall.
Over the last eight weeks, this has become my mantra, a serendipitous fortune cookie paper taped to the wall of my brain. If I want to reach my fitness goals, my life goals, and become the person I want to be, the revolution starts with my willingness to change myself, which means I can’t do what I did before when I didn’t see the results. I have to keep pushing myself out of that bed and farther away from where I want to be right now, with Jaime and Sonny, to be where I want to be for the rest of my life, happy and healthy with both of them, but for longer than I would have been if I hadn’t pushed in the first place.
When I finally make it to the gym each morning, I know I’m changing myself, and when I get to work, I look at Sonny’s picture on my desktop and smile. Occasionally, Jaime will email more or little notes about how he rolled over, or was licked by Lulu, or farted so loud during tummy time he scared himself. I can’t be there for all of it, but when I am, I’m thankful for my family and our small island of blankets and warmth.