RunningAs I type this post I am in a hospital waiting for my mom to come back to her room. She is undergoing extensive testing to determine what is going on with her health. In addition, she sustained some injuries from a fall. Ever since she had her stroke in September 2013, life has been rough. She’s done her best, trying to push through all of the challenges, both physical and emotional, but it’s no easy feat. She is struggling. I see it everyday, and my heart aches.

The day before her hospitalization, I completed a 5k in Baltimore. I ran in the Baltimore Women’s Classic last year and it was fun, so I signed up again. This year, I also signed my 4-year-old son up for the kids fun run. He had a blast, and he was so proud of the medal he won. It made my heart smile. As we prepared to head to the race that morning at 6am, my son asked me so many questions about it. It made me realize that for him, seeing me workout has become a part of his norm. He expects it. He often asks me if I am about to workout in the evenings after putting him to bed. Often, the answer is yes. As tired as I am I hit the treadmill at 8:30pm. Making my health a priority is no longer negotiable.

One of the things that motivated to make my health a priority was witnessing what the stroke did to my mother’s life and knowing that I have a strong family history of stroke. I knew that this could not be my fate. I would not allow it. I needed something different for my life. Now, although this still remains a major motivator, my children have become my primary motivation. I strive to be well, not just so I can watch them grow and enjoy life with them, but because I want to inspired them and make fitness a regular part of their lives.

The most important thing about this journey is being real with myself when it comes to my expectations. I don’t expect perfection. I fall off the wagon quite often. I eat too many sweets at times. I miss a workout or too if juggling everything becomes too much. I actually gained 3 pounds in the last week. However, gaining a few pounds doesn’t mean I am completely off track. It means that I am human and that large milkshake I had last Wednesday was just something I felt like I wanted to make it through that crappy day. The struggle is real and it never ends.

So I will continue to stand strong by my mother’s side, remembering that her current struggle does not have to be my future struggle, and I will continue to motivate, encourage and inspire my little ones because I am one of their biggest examples in life. Through watching me, they learn how to live. I want to teach them how to be happy — how to live well.