This past weekend was a weekend filled with tremendous, heart-busting joy. It was also one of the most personally disappointing weekends of my entire life. My head is spinning a little from the existential contradiction that this represents.
I took the brood to Disney World, and one of the objectives of the trip was, of course, to have a good time, and having a good time at Disney World is not a particularly difficult thing to do, what with the spinning teacups and fireworks and pirates and flying carpets and pixie dust and all, and so to say that we – and more importantly, our coterie of pixie-loving badgers – had fun is to understate things dramatically. But having fun was not the only objective of the trip, nor even the primary objective of the trip. The primary objective of the trip (which saw us drive from Toronto to Florida in a vehicle provided by GM Canada) was me tackling the Disney Princess Half-Marathon, aka the Tiarathon, as the first race in my year-long quest to run 100 miles for Tanner. I’ve been training since last year to do this run and all the other runs – runs that will cover a total distance, I hope, of 100 miles – to follow. I had my tiara and tutu packed and ready.
I never got the chance to wear them.
The night before the race I had a series of dizzy spells, the last resulting in a nasty fall while carrying Emilia – herself a little broken from falling on the monorail off-ramp – across the resort grounds. I wasn’t badly hurt by the fall – just sore knees and neck – but the fact that I’d been dizzy enough for black spots to distort my vision and skew my balance and send me careening to the ground, child in arms, was enough to sound the warning bells. “You’re not running,” Katie said, as she helped me back to the room. “I will stop you.”
In hindsight, I can speculate that my dizzy spells and my fall and my consequent failure to run was due to a lot of things that were more or less beyond my control. Doing a week-long long-distance road trip with small children who do not sleep prior to running a half-marathon is, perhaps, something that I could have controlled – simply by not doing it – but then we wouldn’t have had our adventure, and who’s to say that it was the seven nights without sleep that brought me down? It also might have been the Florida sun, or the food (Mickey-shaped waffles have been proven to cause light-headedness in tutu-clad lab rats), or the fact that I’m only about a month past a bout of pneumonia and have bad lungs and ignored all of that when I resumed training a few weeks ago and didn’t pay any of that any mind while carrying a 35 lb toddler through the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom and Epcot Center under the decidedly un-Canadian sun for two days. It could have been due to a lot of things, most of which were almost certainly my fault.
Which is why I’m having a hard time clinging to the joy from this weekend. The smalls had a deliciously wonderful time, chasing Space Rangers and splashing down mountains and racing race cars and goggling at pixies zipping through the sky, and their joy was contagious but still: we were supposed to do all this – we were supposed to be pursuing joy and chasing pixies and princesses – for Tanner. I was supposed to do this for Tanner. And I f*cked it up before I even got started.
It’s kind of hard to not hate myself for that.