I see you. And I'm talking to you.
I'm talking to you, the woman standing behind me in the grocery store checkout line. Your shopping cart is overflowing with cheerios and whole milk and dinner ingredients for your family. I recognize so much of what you're buying. The baby shampoo and the diapers and the dog food. I watched you toss the latest issue of Vogue on top of your whole-wheat bread and chardonnay. Good for you. The circles under your eyes are dark and I bet your to-do list is long.
I'm talking to you, the man sitting next to me in afternoon traffic. Your windows are rolled up and I see your hand anxiously tapping your steering wheel. You likely worked all day, suffered through yet another mindless meeting after meeting, or schedule full of conference calls and I bet you can't wait to get home to your family.
I'm talking to you, the mom at the baseball game or football game or volleyball game. You're standing on the sidelines and you're cheering. You're nervous and you're stressed, but you're excited and you're proud. You're making time to be right where you are, with snacks handy for the hungry and tired.
And I'm talking to you, the woman at the motocross race. Your clothes have gotten dirty and dusty and your hair is pulled back in a tight ponytail. Your brows are furrowed behind your sunglasses, but your lips are tightly smiling underneath your nude lipstick. There's dirt under your fingernails. Your eyes are focused everywhere, on your husband headed to the starting line and on your little one who can't wait for the swarm of bikes to hit the first turn. You didn't just show up. You've spent hours and days preparing for where you are right now. And I know the work won't stop when the race is over because there's another race next weekend. I am especially talking to you. I am you.
We are the backbones of our families. We don't have superman capes to wrap around our tired shoulders. We don't have secret hours to add into our days to get it all done.
We are the strength, the motivators, the voices to keep pressing on. We are the backbone and we drive the passion and we do it all, because doing it all is the kind of people we are.
Like me, you love being able to fulfill this role. You take comfort in the well-deserved thank-you and the extra long, extra tight hug at the end of the day. You don't offer the kind of support, both tactical and emotional, because you have to. You offer it because you want to, and because you can.
We all have a lot of different priorities that we can call jobs. I have my real job, my nine to five. It's my career, and I love it but it's also not all of who I am. I have my job as "mom" to our little one, which is a full time job, sometimes requiring around-the-clock alertness and focus. And then there's the job of being that backbone (or behind-the-scenes badass), and for me, it's a doozy.
The world of motocross is an incredible one. We are lucky to be part of such a strong community of racers, riders, fans, friends and families who call the sport their passion and their life. Each weekend spent at a track, I find myself having sweet and beautiful moments of reflection.
I'm hand-in-hand with our daughter. Her little fingers wrap around my palm, both our hands dirty from a combination of leftover peanut butter and a sprinkling of track dust. And we're there because we support. We respect the mental challenges it takes to be part of the sport. We understand the physical demands and rigorous training required to not only be a safe participant but also a competitor. We support the business and the politics and the time away from home that the industry requires and we do it all because it's part of who we are.
We stand for not only our own rider, but the entire community. We band together. As the backbone of strength, we watch each other's kids as our husbands hit the line. We cheer for the guy in dead last as enthusiastically as we cheer for the guy leading the pack, because he's someone's husband and dad too. And if someone gets hurt (because that happens), we do all we can to support - financially, emotionally. We do whatever we can.
And here's the truth - it's not always easy and it's not always fun. It's not always fair, either. There are days and nights that go without our own kind of support, and that I can do it all mentality wears and weakens us to the core. There are lonely dinner tables and empty beds. There are our own personal priorities that sometimes find themselves in the backseat while we drive the dreams forward of those we love.
So why? Why do I find myself up late, pounding away on a keyboard, editing my husband's website or drafting documents for a passion project of his? Why is the writing of my own pieces reserved for naptimes or for those sacred hours I find when I wake up before our little girl on weekends? It's because doing these things are my passion too. My passion, our passion, is helping those we love find their own joy. That's where our joy comes from. And when I take time to focus on my own personal priorities, my family becomes the backbone that I need too.