Meet Michelle Burke. Michelle is not only the mother of three boys, but she is an amazing writer who works full-time and writes in the wee hours of the morning to fulfill her passion. She is a beautiful person, on the inside and out. She is kind, caring, compassionate. She is my sister. Her story is very special to me.
Michelle is also the mother of a son on the autism spectrum. She has to be creative to find ways to fit in fitness while working full-time, parenting three boys and finding fitness solutions that still allow her to keep a watchful eye on her son who is non-verbal.
This is her story.
I was going to do it this time. I was going to stick with my promise to run/walk two miles twice week. That was just times eight around the track. I could do that. I had all the accessories, cute new work out clothes-check, fancy water bottle that hooked to waist-check, iPod downloaded with lets get it done music-check. The only thing holding me back from reaching my goal… My children.
The track at the elementary school by our house is perfect. The playground is built in the middle of the field. The equipment is visible from all vantage points of the track. Feasibly one could walk the track while maintaining a watchful eye on the kids while they played.
On day one I pulled into the parking lot and let them loose. They eagerly scrambled towards the equipment all three brothers on different equipment. I stuck my ear buds in my ears and started my trek. Determined not to give up. Cake’s The Distance blaring in my ears as my feet pounded the pavement. I got through two whole circles of the track. I was feeling good. This was going to work.
Then I felt the spidey sense twinge that tells you not all is right. I turned and looked behind me. My middle son was hot on my tail. His blonde hair flopping behind him, his arms making windmills in the air. He looked like a tiny Phoebe Buffet running toward me. I stopped in the middle of the track and pulled out one of my ear buds.
“What up Weebs?” I asked (Weebs is his nickname, given to him for being so tiny.)
“Colton says sharks could not win in a fight against dinosaurs.”
“Are we talking land or sea dinos?,” I asked
“Raptors,” Weebs said.
“Sharks need water to survive so yes a beached shark would get schooled by a raptor,” I replied.
Weebs contemplates the information before running back towards the playground. I put the ear bud back in as Cherry Bomb by The Runaways plays and I attempt the rotation again.
I got halfway through my third rotation when I spied my oldest one running towards me. His face beet red as he caught up to me. Weebs following at his heels with a look of righteous indignation on his face.
“Weebs says that the Avengers are better than the Power Rangers,” said Colton.
“Uh duh! The Avengers have Iron Man,” replied Weebs.
“The Power Rangers have a Mega Zord!” exclaimed Colton.
“Did ya’ll you just stop me to say that?” I asked.
It was the second time I had been stopped and I was starting to get annoyed and lose motivation.
“Yes,” they both replied in unison.
“Next time do not stop me unless someone is bleeding or dying or being kidnapped. Kipish kaposh monkey squash?,” I scolded.
“Monkey squash.” they replied as they ran back towards the playground.
I started my circuit again. Feeling good when I was nearing my fifth roll around the track and I still had breath. Then I looked at the playground it was a ghost town not a child to be seen. I had been checking every two minutes my eyes scanning for movement. A cold chill ran down my spine as I looked at the empty equipment. There is nothing more eerie then seeing a swing sway with no one around it I pulled the ear buds out of my ears on last time.
That’s when I heard it. The shouts exclaiming “No Cullen! NO! Mommy will be mad!”
Now I should explain my youngest is six and autistic. He is a man of few words but he is very smart. He spends his days thinking of shenanigans that he can get into. Things you would never think of doing he does. Like bathing a stuffed Mickey Mouse in a pot of old spaghetti water complete with a rubber duck. Or finding a turtle out in the yard and sneaking it in his bedroom only to be discovered in the morning when it crawls out of his room.
I knew the potentiality was bad so I cut across the field and raced towards the commotion. I was right it was bad. Cullen had discovered a stream of water that had been created by a recent rain. The stream had created a nice muddy bank ,which he was currently wallowing in like a piglet. The other boys were attempting to haul him up but it only made him dissolve further into a fit of giggles and flop back down in the mud.
“Boys! Why did you not come get me?” I exclaimed.
“I was going to but Weebs told me not too!” the ever pedantic Weebs hurried to explain.
“You said bleeding, dying, or kidnapped. Not playing in mud.” Weebs recites.
“I guess I should have added that you need to use your best judgment as to other nefarious activities,“ I said .
Both boys shook their heads in agreement.
I sighed the run was over and I had barely made it around the track five times.
“Cullen, no mud,” I scolded.
Cullen sat up like swap thing emerging from a bog.
“Mud!” he squealed.
“No, it is dirty up now,” I said.
“No up, mud,” he said while flinging a handful of mud in my face.
I felt like Fat Amy in Pitch Perfect being hit with the burrito.
I stared at him weighing my options. Yelling at him would only make him mad. Hauling him up would make him scream and cry. The Colton took matters in own hands and he picked up a handful of mud and flung it at Cullen.
“Don’t throw mud at mommy!” he said his fists balled at his sides. Cullen burst out laughing and threw another handful of mud at Colton. Who immediately retaliated and his glob of mud hit Weebs in the back of the head.
Before we knew it things escalated quickly into a full-blown mud fight. We were running around the playground throwing mud at each other. By the time we had finished, we were laughing like crazy people and looked like mud creatures.
Thankfully I had towels and blankets in the car and the ride home was only five minutes long. I took them out in the yard and hosed them off. Never being so happy to live out in the country than when I had three naked mud covered boys jumping through the hose in the front yard.
My cute new workout clothes were ruined, my water bottle was cake with mud, thankfully my ipod was spared. I had barely made it five times around and now we could not go back. The next time we went to the park Cullen would remember the mud and make a beeline for it. No amount of scolded or reprimands would stop him…he would be unstoppable. I wanted to be mad, but I just could not find it in me.
It may not have been how I envisioned my foray into jogging going. Instead of running two miles I power walked one and a quarter. Then had an epic mud fight that I am sure we all remember for years to come. In fact I kind of thought of it as a metaphor for life in general, it may not always go the way you want, you may have roadblocks along the way, sometimes it can be messy. Yet in the end it is fun wonderful and I would not want to miss a moment of it.
Michelle Burke is a mother of three boys, Colton, Cody (Weebs) and Cullen. She lives in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina in a funny little house that sits on top of a hill atop a mountain. She is a fan fiction writer for The Big Bang Theory and she enjoys turning daydreams into fantasies about Amy and Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory. She has a passion for writing about Big Bang Theory because two of her boys fall on the autism spectrum. You can find her on Big Bang Theory Fan Fiction and Tumblr.