A year ago the world was a very different place.
Things were scary, weird, unsettling. The only constant was this persistent, off-balanced feeling like the other shoe could drop at any time.
We wore masks and couldn’t hug and had to constantly wash our hands and not ever, ever touch our faces. Ever.
There was one constant, though, in my life. Well, aside from my family, of course, and that was that I could count on outdoor CrossFit WODs* at the park. Come rain** or sunburn-inducing shine or bite-y ants or pushy yoga classes that tried to manifest destiny their way INTO OUR PRIMO SHADY SPOT, there would always be a workout — and more importantly, my two buddies would be there. We didn’t always have a real-life coach, depending on what stage of lockdown we were in, and sometimes others from our box would join us or I’d bully one of my kids into coming (even if it was virtually). But a lot of times it was the three of us—well, four because one friend’s amazingly patient 2-year-old would play in a pop-up tent while we sweated.
Am I really THAT into exercise? Hells no.
I am not at all self-motivated when it comes to exercise. The last time my husband and I shared a gym membership (and this was BK, Before Kids), he would try to shove me awake at 5 a.m. and I would hold my body rigor mortis still, hoping he’d give up and go back to bed. Just the other day, I eased down onto the floor with the sincere intention of doing some sit-ups. Instead, I sprawled out my arms and legs, shut my eyes, and snoozed for about 20 minutes.
So, no, it wasn’t about the exercise — although that hot-ass day we did 150 walking lunges, carrying dumbbells and I had to tamp down both tears and vomit was A TON O’ FUN.
No, it was that sense of camaraderie that kept us all coming back.
Friendly but still mostly strangers before the pandemic, the park glued us together. We struck up conversations, sometimes shallow, sometimes deep, about the surreal state of the world. We shared hopes, triumphs, frustrations. We baked — and shared the results in blue-lidded Ziploc containers that recycled among us. We swapped recipes and confidences, and we found ways to find the light in those dark times. And we laughed. A lot. In fact, it made us realize we needed to laugh A LOT MORE if we were going to emerge from this with our sanity intact.
We’d send each other videos of people dropping 750-pound barbells on themselves (trust me, they’re funny) and goofy jokes. That insatiable desire to giggle is what drove me to write a second book so soon after the first. I wanted to be able to give them, and others who needed it, an escape, even if was only for a little bit, and a laugh, even if it was only the wee-est chuckle and not an outright spit-take.
Besides, what else was I gonna do?
I didn’t have much work or even parenting to do since it was summer and my kids were sleeping 23.5 hours a day. Writing was my mission, and I chose to accept it and “That.” happened. It was short and sweet, and the goal was to raise money for the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona’s COVID-19 relief fund. So far “That.” has contributed a modest $280. Sure, I could have just dashed off a check with a lot less effort — but it wouldn’t have been nearly as meaningful. Or fun.
The past year and a half was awful. A nightmare. Too many lives and experiences and holidays and hugs lost. Yet good has come out of it, too. Pretty sure none of us will take seeing family or friends for granted or hugs or going to school or just plain grocery shopping without head-to-toe protective gear.
I’m so incredibly grateful for my newfound BFFs, either of whom could one day be on the other end of my one and only phone call*** to spring me from jail (Lacy, Becca, you are officially on notice).
And I’m even more grateful for that recipe for banana whoopie pies with salted peanut butter frosting.
*Psst, if you’re not in the know that is Workout Of the Day or more accurately, Workout of Doom.
**There was that ONE day when it was merely sprinkling and our coach deemed it too wet, but we were so dedicated (read: obsessive) that we caravanned south until we found a park that had the one patch of clear blue sky above it. And we made it, finishing before the rain hit.
***I would call either of them before my husband who is waaaaaaayy too slow and/or inconsistent responding to phone calls and texts.