Wednesday, February 18, 2009

3 Legged Disaster

Oh... The Relay. A 199 mile relay starting in Calistoga and ending in Santa Cruz filled with 5-8 mile legs that are all levels of intensity from flat across the golden gate or straight up hill getting into santa cruz. Family friend and coworker of my dads, mark s. thought up the idea of running it as a way to raise money for Batten Disease Research. The idea was so exciting! I should say, Is so exciting. The teams of runners have been growing each year since. There is even a team of girls walking this year. It went from Catie's Cops to another diagnosis making it Catie & Annie's Cops to more team members making it Catie & Annies Cops and Firemen and this year we have dispatchers and family friends walking. Maybe we should stick to something simple so we can actually fit the team name into the registration paperwork this year? like, THE RELAY haha.
Every year its so overwhelming to see how many people care. The group of people running and helping with driving, volunteering at different stops along the way etc. Its like getting a massive hug that squeezes so tightly that you feel as though you can't breathe. Every year! I love it.

The only reason I even thought about the relay was because Mom mentioned the dates to me yesterday. It has been on my mind for a while though thanks to my deep hate for craziness and lack of organization. The fact that the thought of driving down to santa cruz the saturday of the relay with all of my sisters, stressed mom, nonni and a car full of groceries makes my heart rate RACE might simply explain what the weekend is like without the need for details. It wouldn't be as crazy if the girls didn't have batten disease, but then we wouldn't be driving down anyway right? so this year in an attempt to simplify the weekend for everyone i suggested driving catie and annie down sunday for the end of the race. A brilliant idea if you've ever been a fly on the wall saturday night. I shouldn't care, but I do. Maybe its the control freak part of me. No I know there is more to it than that.

I'll back track since there is a reason for my anxiety and panic attacks over a trip to santa cruz.
I was 12 or 13 making Catie 10 or 11. She was completely blind and obviously slowing down but we didn't have her diagnosis yet so for all we knew she was JUST blind. psh. Being her sighted guide majority of the time(or at least in my world, it feels like it, i'm sure i'm wrong) I knew there was more to it. I didn't have a clue as to what but just cause your blind doesn't mean you can't memorize a song that you are singing. My mom paid to help her learn her songs, like a teacher ya know? and would get so frustrated because she couldn't memorize them and I didn't know how to help. Or her eyes. they used to roll and blink funny. No one else noticed it til months later when the became very obvious and she started having gran mals. anway, there was this event every spring with our homeschool group. It was called field day. A day that we all spent at a huge park in suisun and we'd all be divided into teams and play relay games and the winners would get a prize bla bla bla. I never told anyone but kyle about this day and how much it has affected me. I was so excited to go to field day, hoping i'd get put on the same team as my junior high crush and my closest friends. I did have a feeling I'd have to be caties sighted guide but hadn't mentioned it to mom. I had hoped that if I didn't say anything than I'd get out of doing it. I was always her guide at events, at least it felt like it. Church picnics and shopping trips. Sure enough, when we got there mom told me that she talked to Mrs Scwartzel and told her that catie could be on my team so I could help her. I was so angry, but felt so guilty for being angry that I didn't say anything other than "ok."
Now think of the last relay you played in. Not running relay but kid relay. It involves tossing water baloons back and forth to people, running through obstacle coarses with something in your hand, running through tires on the ground. How the HELL is a blind kid supposed to do that?! and how the hell does her sister who is her same size help her. Then throw in a bunch of controling and over competitive homeschool kids and you've got yourself a day that will scar you for life.
I did my best to get catie through the different obstacles but then finally we got to one that made me lose it. I still lose it when i think about it. You ever want to see me cry, mention the 3 legged race. They tied caties foot to mine and we had to race another team to a pole and back. I was trying so hard to explain to catie how it worked and what to do but she couldn't cognatively grasp it. "left, right" means nothing when you don't know the difference. We fell over a few times, and i couldn't even talk to her because of all the cheering, she started to just shut down from being overwhelmed. If you know batten kids you know that noise and craziness is too much for them. I remember looking at her when we were on the ground and she had the most determined face, like she wanted to keep going but didn't know how and you could see the fear and confusion in her eyes. She was squeezing my hands so hard trying to pull herself up. I can actually remember it hurting from her fingernails. I finally quit. I started crying and told one of the kids to go get my mom. I was done. it wasn't fair, she couldn't do any of it, i couldn't participate and the other kids were getting mad that they were losing. If only i could print the picture of her face that is embeded in my memory of the day. The thing that sucks is I still feel so guilty for being mean to her that day. for quitting and making her go hang out with mom instead of telling the other kids to go stick their fingers up their butts while we took our time.

Sometimes, when you try to save the world for a person that appears to need saving, you yourself are the one in need of a floatation device. Like when you're flying and they tell you in case of an emergency put your yellow mask on first. Every time they say that i think to myself, "are you crazy? what if catie was sitting here, she'd need it immediately!" EVERY TIME.

All that to say, the weekend of the relay can be rough for Catie and Annie. There is so much excitement and craziness. They don't do well when they are taken out of their normal world of eat, school, nap, eat sleep. The thought of them not doing well makes me not do well and that is why being the control freak that I am, offered to drive them down seperately on sunday so that they can enjoy the end of the relay with everyone without the 3 legged race-like day of driving.

I was asked to join the team of walkers and wanted to say yes so badly. I've always wanted to participate and always have the excuse of being too out of shape, or needing to help mom. Truth is I would feel like I'm not helping the girls by running. I'm gonna drive them down this year. Someday when they are gone though, I'm going to buy some running shoes and I'm gonna run it. For myself, not even for Batten Disease. It will be my "field day" or "homeschool relay" that I never fully participated in as a kid.

man the baggage. I'm almost positive that if I could let stuff go or at least talk to a professional that could teach me how to deal with it properly then I'd lose some weight without having to eat meat and veggies only.
I know that God gives us the life that we live, that He ordains each step even the ones that include others peoples feet tied to yours. It still hurts though and not because I don't have faith, but because God gave us emotions and He gave me ALOT of them.

2 comments:

Brazen Hussey's said...

There are a myriad of moments in our lives that strung together form that hyphen between your "born on" and "died on" dates on your tombstone. Not to sound too moribund, but that little hyphen is the drop in the bucket of our lives. It's funny how, when you get down to brass tacks, that little hyphen is really just a few punctuated moments that we carry around with us the rest of our lives.

The Day is coming when these tears will be wiped away by far greater hands than your dad's or husband's. Until then, Christ is there when you weep. I will say one other thing, though: I have anchors of guilt tied around my legs myself, and don't notice as I drag them along...until I try to run. Then I wind up with my face in the dirt.

I haven't any advice but Paul's: Cast all your cares on Christ, for He cares for you.

--JMH

ajallio said...

Reading this broke my heart. Seriously. I didn't take the time back then ask if you wanted help. I just cared about skateboarding and girls. I might not show it, or only talk about it when I'm drunk, but just so you know I really do live with that every day. I'm really sorry for that. Love ya