Make it, don’t fake it

I’ve been waiting all week to feel happier. To feel reconciled to recent events, to create a fragile peace and you know what? I suck at it.  I’m as good at this as cacti are at cuddling and somewhere in the gentle "let’s just wait and see, I am a rock in the river, events just flow over me" phase, I’m rabid. 

I’ve spent a whole week of my little life waiting for things to get nicer and darn it, they’re not, so I’m going to make them nicer.  If some things have to be a crap heap, well… I’ve always said that the universe seeks balance, and by wool, I’m going to start balancing it.  I don’t expect that much can equal this dose of hurt, but I’m taking a swing at it. I can think, right now, of three things that can make me feel better.

1. Someone in my family is coming to the end of their life – but you know what? There’s a new baby coming, and as much as I’ll miss the one, I’ll welcome the other, and it would not be right to let sadness sweep all my joy.  Joe’s brother Chris and his bride Robyn  are expecting a baby, and in the name of all my knitting needles, it shall be clad.  The wee grey sweater is already in the hope chest, and I think it’s time to order wool for a blanket. Or a sweater. Or five sweaters.
And a hat.

2. There is a fleece in my kitchen.  A beautiful little CVM that a friend gave me a while ago, and I have been washing it lock by lock.  I do a load of dishes, wash a lock. Mop the counter, wash a lock. It’s only been a few days, but I’m making my way though it, and it’s a wonderful reminder of the incremental nature of all things, and how not all trouble needs to be made right in this minute.   Anything that seems too big or hard?  I can just do it a little at a time.

I’m totally going to have it washed by Monday.  Maybe it will be a sweater. See #1.

3. I know I haven’t mentioned it much, mostly because Sam broke her arm and I was so bummed not to have my buddy with me, but it’s almost Bike Rally time.  It was super hard to decide to do it again. You’d think that after managing something like that once, it would be easy to decide to take it on again.  I did it once – I can do it again… right? 

Instead I find myself properly afraid, in the way that only someone who has done it once before can be.  Last year I approached the 660 km that is the Bike Rally with ignorance.  I trained, I was afraid.  I fell down TWELVE times,  but I made it happen, and the whole thing was only possible through the magic of having no bloody idea what I was in for.  Now that I know, sometimes I’m a little weepy.  There’s knowing what it is, and that I’m up against that, and I know too that while Ken and Pato will be on the ride this year, the girls can’t be there, and that would make me even more concerned except for this:

My friend Jen.  Jen is doing the rally with me.  We are knitters. There’s a few other knitters on the ride (Hi Ken. Hi Pato.)  but really, Jen and I are exceptional on the ride for a reason that I’m just going to come out straight out and own.

We are dumpy, middle-aged straight mums.  You have no idea how not cool this makes us.  This makes us so not cool that sometimes, when we realize that 90% of the Rally is male and Jen and I are still the ones who have the most body hair? We need about 8 more cups of coffee to get through it. 

To be frank, this is why we need you.  We’ve looked around. We’ve seen the writing on the wall. The rest of the rally (mostly) they’re FABULOUS. They’re immaculately groomed, they haven’t had a fight with any teenager who can’t see the future, and  hardly anyone ever pukes on them on a regular Tuesday.  They have beautiful, amazing, ultra-light carbon fiber bikes and (I really can’t stress the impact of this enough) THEY LOOK GREAT IN SPANDEX.

Jen and I? Well.  Between us we have five kids, we have the best bikes you can afford if you’re also trying to save up for a new dishwasher, and we have had more than one conversation about how to get cloth diapers really white.  (Sunshine and vinegar.) We think other riders shouldn’t go so fast down the hills because they could really get hurt, and we are concerned that they might be hungry.  When we see ourselves in spandex, we have to make up comforting lies.  We, and I think this is totally safe to guarantee, we are the only ones bringing knitting on the Rally, just for comfort. We are your dork team, and we have been practicing.

For a few weeks now, Jen and I have been going on training rides. Jen lives in the East end, and me in the West, so she rides to my house and has a coffee, and then I ride to her house (and we have coffee) and then I ride home.  It’s 40K each time for both of us, which has been enough up until now, but tomorrow marks the first time that we’ll seriously bust a move, at our first 70k training ride.  We’re both giving up a day of our long weekend and a big chunk of a summer to try and make a little more awesome in the world, and here’s the thing.

If you were out riding with me and Jen, you would see that awesome is only the way you can describe our riding if you are speaking in a spiritual sense.   We’re slow. We’re really trying, but we’re two mums who are not taller than 10′ if you add us together, and those stumpy legs? Let’s just say it makes you want to knock anyone taller than 5’10" off a bike out of sheer venom. Especially when they pass us and say encouraging things.  We’re limited in our resources – we don’t own fast bikes, there’s only so much coffee we can drink, and we can’t train hours and hours a week or we won’t be earning a living or be in families that are not resentful and dirty.  Willpower is going to have to substitute for skill when it comes to us.  In fact,  I think we’ve both realized there’s only one way that we could be awesome, and that’s in the fundraising department.

Last year, when – thanks to you, our little family did so well in the fundraising area, someone said that it was wonderful that I cared so much about HIV/AIDS and the gay community.  I just about fell over. I know that most of this work is spearheaded by that community, and heaven knows I love them as much as I do any part of humanity, but really, that’s not why I’m there.

This is:

And this is why Jen is:

Five perfect daughters between us, and globally, women comprise 50% of the people living with HIV. Worldwide, HIV/AIDS is the leading cause of death in women in their reproductive years.

As mums, we just can’t truck with that, so Jen and I are going to put our dorky, dumpy, knitting, middle-aged, haven’t-been-dancing-in-years-but- are-pretty-good-at-stains and-earning-a-living selves on two pretty cheap bikes and fling ourselves from Toronto to Montreal.  We will not be fast. We might fall down. (So far this year I’m fine, but Jen took a tumble that cost her a helmet.) We will hopefully not be last, but the odds aren’t good.

We hope you will help us be awesome. If you want.  No pressure. (Karmic balancing gifts and giveaways start next week, not that you would do it for that reason, but it’s still nice. Right?)

If you would like to donate to me.
If you wo
uld like to donate to Jen.
If you would like to donate to Ken (who is less dorky, but still awesome.)
If you would like to donate to Pato (who is not at all dorky, but is young and smart.)

Thanks.  Now I feel better. Things might be hard, but there’s still lots of ways for things to be okay.  I’m going to go knit something.