It shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that we are a family of 6, four of which are children. Our drive and passion to be active and healthy is mostly driven by these four children. As parents we want to be a good example of health, balance and fun. And heck, not to toot our own horn, but I think we are doing fairly well.
Has it been easy, is it easy? Definitely no! With four kids, there is always the struggle of time management, spending quality time together, listen to each other's interests and goals, and of course babysitting. Thankfully, we have an extremely supportive extended family that encourages us and are there to help us when they can.
However, an even bigger struggle for us as parents and as a family as a whole has been our littlest little guy who is now a one year old. Asher, is his name and he is a pure delight. Almost always happy, smiling, but Asher has his challenges. He spent most of his first year struggling to be "healthy" in many different ways. He spent time in the hospital, was subjected to many tests, pokes and prods, and shots. We were on the search for answers as to why our youngest wasn't growing both physically and developmentally. All that took its toll on our family unit. We had to rethink what healthy and active meant to us; and we still are rethinking. It is a process that seems to always be changing. Our identity as a family was "we all run", "we are all active together", "we are healthy". Asher was not following along those "mottos" we created for ourselves, especially when it came it active events we always participate in as a family.
We try to do as many things together as possible, to spend time as a family. We try, there are some instances it is not possible, but the effort is there. When it comes to runDisney events that is where we put the most effort to register all six of us for running events. The older boys enjoy running the runDisney 5ks and look forward to graduating to the 10ks possibly next year, the four year old loves the kids races and has expressed interest in doing the 5ks (we will see next year) and we participate in the half marathon distances. Asher is no different and we register him for races too. Yet, we registered him for kids races before we knew his full health/development profile. When we went to his kids race in August it was difficult and I admit I fought back tears. It was hard to see babies months younger than him crawl or walk across the finish line. I had to bounce him across the floor. Who cares, you might ask? It is not about caring or comparing. It is difficult to explain. It is just the wish for him to be able to have the ability. As we head into runDisney Avengers race weekend next weekend, I know it will be hard again. We will once again move him across the finish line. Will it still be a happy and fun memory? Of course, but it is just one example of how we are rethinking health and fitness when it comes to Asher. it is just another instance where we are learning how to be fitfam6.
A huge part of changing has to do with me, as his mom. I'm going to be honest, I deal with a lot of guilt when I go out for those runs, when I ask for 20 minutes to do yoga, or time to do any training. At Asher's young age, he is very dependent on me, beyond the typical mommy attachment most children have at his age. Due to his health issues, and there are plenty, I have become a little thinking machine when it comes to him. If he has a sniffle in the morning I can already predict what breathing issues he will have by noon, 5pm and 8pm. I have the amount of food he is suppose to eat each day down to ounces and times I have multiple techniques to get him to eat the same food he might have refused five times in row, just to get those calories in him daily. Our refrigerator and two bathrooms are stocked with medicines just for him, some of which he takes almost daily. I schedule all his therapy appointments and it's not easy since I work full time out of the home. It is a science and I feel completely tied to him beyond the role as mom.
Therefore, it goes to follow that working out for myself has completely changed. Figuring out how to workout or run has always been a challenge with children, we include them with our workouts a tremendous amount of time. Asher has added a new factor and I would be lying if I didn't share that it has changed the amount of time we have as parents to train and workout. Many nights when myself or both of us are supposed to run or strength train, we skip. Yes, I said skip, because Asher is having trouble breathing. When that happens, we sometimes do not workout for 2-3 days because of lack of sleep and it takes that long to get him back to healthy. So again, rethinking, readjusting, evolving our fitfam6.
So, this weekend I am traveling solo to Orlando, Florida to participate in rundisney's Wine and Dine. I almost backed out multiple times. I didn't care that I dropped a ton of money to do this race. I didn't care that it was my Coast to Coast race. I was in panic mode about everything and anything that had to do with Asher. How was he going to sleep at night? Would he refuses to eat? Would he lose weight? We CANNOT have him lose weight. My husband, bless him, encouraged me to go and enjoy myself. So I got on the plane this morning and spent most of my air time looking at pictures of him and writing this little piece to share a small glimpse into a more personal side of our family. I am going to have faith that everything will be okay. I know my husband and extended family are more than capable, but when you have a child who has medical and developmental delays the world feels like it is on your shoulders and that feeling is very heavy on the mind, body and heart.
During the "worst" of it all, Asher was and is still happy.
Asher and his brothers. They love each other beyond words. Best friends for life!
Asher Micah today. He has gained weight and nearly 17lbs at 16 months old. He is still learning how to sit up, but doing well and making lots of progress.