'Cool' mom toughs it out for herself
By Ka'ohua Lucas
"OK, Mom, let's go!" my 9-year-old insisted.
I signaled and slowly merged into traffic.
"Did you have a good day at school?" I asked.
"Yeah, but I don't think we have time to chat, Mom," he urged, struggling into his tennis shoes. "You've got to focus on your driving because we've only got 15 minutes to get to tennis."
Every Monday and Thursday, I race my 9-year-old to tennis lessons. On Tuesdays and Thursdays he has football practice. I'm grateful that the eighth-grader has football and wrestling at school. This eliminates my kuleana or responsibility to shuttle the older one to and from his practices.
Consumed with my youngest's activities, I have neglected my own exercise regime. This is easy to do.
But about a month ago, I stopped making excuses and decided to do something about it. I knew that joining a fitness club would not work into my hectic lifestyle.
How was I going to include exercise as part of my daily routine without disrupting my work schedule or 'ohana obligations?
The answer was swimming. At 5:30 a.m. three times a week, I began swimming at the pool of my old alma mater.
The days my youngest is at tennis lessons, I walk one of the hills in the area. Fortunately, the 45-degree, 100-yard incline is relatively isolated. No one has to see me panting as I strain to make it up the hill.
It was three weeks ago when I first began this routine. I tried to look "cool" with my J. Lo dark glasses as I stretched my calves and quads.
No one was around except for a handful of 5-year-olds waiting to be picked up from school.
I started up the hill and got about halfway when a searing pain gripped my left knee. I ignored it.
I was almost to the top when my buttocks and hamstrings began to burn. At that moment, I wanted to slump to the ground and crawl. But I ignored the pain and continued on.
Once I reached the peak, my lungs felt like they were going to explode. I had hoped no one saw me straining.
Attempting to appear that I had tackled the hill with ease, I casually limped to the corner post of the school's greenhouse and clung to it. Thankfully, the koa haole shrub shielded anyone from observing my condition. And the 5-year-olds at the bottom of the hill had all but disappeared.
As I hugged the wooden beam, I gulped huge amounts of air. Perspiration trickled down my cheekbones forming pools of sweat at the base of my jaw line. I finally regained my breath and swiped my brow with the back of my hand.
Peeling myself from the post, I limped down the hill to repeat the process. As I neared the bottom, a construction worker pulled out in front of me in his vehicle.
He beamed. I smiled weakly.
"Howzit," I greeted him. "One day, I'm going up that hill without having a heart attack!"
"Eh, sistah, das' how," he said sympathetically. "Da main t'ing is dat you doin 'um."
His words of encouragement reminded me of an 'olelo no'eau, which describes a person who works tirelessly.
Ho'omaha 'ole ke kai a Mokupaoa. The sea of Mokupaoa never rests.
Reach Ka'ohua Lucas at Family Matters, 'Ohana section, The Advertiser, P.O. Box 3110, Honolulu, HI 96802; fax 525-8055; or firstname.lastname@example.org.