Monday morning. I officially have 3 weeks left to whip myself into something resembling shape before we fly to Spain.
I’m told that the U.S. Army assigns a “battle buddy” to every recruit on the first day of basic training. You and this person are glued at the hips during training, and go everywhere together. I like this idea, and have used it with my children often. Going to the bathroom at a restaurant? Take a battle buddy! You get the picture.
This cold Monday morning, the role of battle buddy is being played by my friend MJ (initials used for privacy), who, this time last year, was battling breast cancer. She survived multiple surgeries, chemo and radiation, reconstructive surgery, and yet never seemed to lose her cheerful spirit or her wry sense of humor. She is such an inspiration to me. She puts her kids on the bus and drives right over this morning, ready to walk. I ask MJ if I can take her picture for my blog post that day. She demurs, and suggests that I take a picture of her shoes instead.
My husband has lent me his Garmin training watch thingamabob to keep track of how far we walk and for how long. I stuff it into my right jacket pocket along with my Carmex, tissue, and Madeleine’s little camera. My water bottle in the left pocket balances me out a bit.
For those who may not know, we live very close to the German border, so our walk begins in the Netherlands, dips into Germany, then crosses back into the NL. The walk today flies by because of the company, but there are a number of gradual inclines and a few outright hills that have me out of breath. It is definitely a workout. I found myself hunching in my coat as we walked in the cold, which made my shoulder and back a bit sore. Need to pay more attention to my form.
MJ and I run into an elderly neighbor walking his dog toward the end of our walk. I felt terrible because I always forget his name. I think it’s Jos, but my mind is a sieve. Makes for awkward introductions. I remember his dog’s name…does that count for anything? I managed to suss out in my Dutch that he can’t see very well and is going in for Cataract surgery on Wednesday. We wish him luck, and are on our way again. MJ compliments me on my Dutch. I tell her that she is lucky that she wasn’t on the other end of it in a conversation.
I check my handy-dandy watch thingamabob upon returning home and lo and behold, we had walked for 1 hour and 22 minutes, and covered a distance of 5.85 kilometers. I’m going to work up to trying to do two of those walks – one in the morning – and one in the afternoon – by early next week. Gulp! Ah well…I’ll do what I can when I can.
I am very grateful for the friends who have signed up to be my battle buddies, and for everyone who has offered their support through comments on the blog and through prayers. I’m so blessed by each and every one of you.