Every great football movie has a rousing, “One for the Gipper” speech given in a locker room filled with pensive players, waiting to play the game of their lives. From Knute Rockne, All American to Hoosiers, this is the speech that gets everyone fired up and ready to seize the day.
I had no idea that this concept would come into play during my menopausal years, these magical years when all of my energy seems to be going into shutting down the nuclear reactor called my reproductive system.[quote button_text=”Tweet the Quote”]On certain days, this less than simple biological task leaves me with the metabolic rate and energy of a sloth.[/quote]
The lack of reasons to get out of bed doesn’t help. I don’t need to wake the kids, because they’re grown. I don’t have a lot of household chores, because I did them last night. I live in the country, so I no longer have the alarm clock who was also known as my old neighbor. He used to start his ’65 Mustang every morning at 6:00 a.m. and let it idle for 45 minutes. The car sat directly outside our bedroom window. The best part? He had some kind of tape player in the car that only played one song — “Take This Job and Shove it.”
So, how do I get my day started without “Take This Job and Shove It?” I Knute myself.
That sounds a little perverted, so let me give you an example of a conversation that occurs in my head on these gray mornings:
“Donna, get up.” [My 85 lb boxer crawls out from under the covers and places his big ol’ head on my shoulder, sighing.]
“I’m too tired. I can sleep 15 more minutes.” [I sleep 15 more minutes, as does the dog.]
“Donna, it’s 7:30. Get up.”
“No, I’m too tired. I might need to stay home and watch a Snapped marathon today.”
“You can’t. When you watch Snapped you eat non-stop and you’ll gain 10 lbs in one day that will take approximately two years of Jenny Craig to remove. Don’t forget that your fat is made of super-glue. Once there, it sticks.”[I sigh, and watch the clock tick to 7:35 a.m.]
“Remember when the kids were in school? We’d already be up, having made lunches and located shin guards and written notes for the son who seemed to be “sick” once a week. We would have been up, and dressed, and once the kids were on the bus we’d be in our car and at work by 8:30 a.m. How did we do that?”
“I’m not sure. Because we had to, I guess. Now get up.”
“Do you realize that I am the same age that my mother was when I was getting ready to get married? Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God.”[Panic begins to set in, which at least gets the heart moving. I need Knute.]
“So what? Your mom is now 80 years-old and vibrant and healthy as a horse. You’ve got at least 30 years ahead of you, and you’re not going to spend them in bed. You are better than this, and you’re juxtaposing memories that have been colorized and romanticized.
Remember the day you had to leave a critical presentation because your daughter was throwing up all over the school? So you picked her up and basked in the heat of disgusted stares from the office staff who were sure you knew she was sick when you sent her to school that morning?
Remember how she threw up all over the house, and then the phone rang and your son said he was sick but you said he always faked it and for the first time refused to pick him up until the nurse called, disgusted, and told you that he had thrown up all over a kid in his class?
So you put your daughter in the car and and picked up your son and told both of them that they could NOT throw up in the car, which made them cry? Then you put your daughter in your bed to help your son, who was throwing up for the third time, only to have her sit up and vomit like Regan from The Exorcist all over your comforter?
And, remember how you missed out on a promotion because you left that presentation because your husband just had to be out-of-town on that very same day?
Donna, those days weren’t as perfect as you remember. They were neither better nor worse than the days you have right now. Every day you are surrounded by people who love you. You have an opportunity to serve. You get to laugh. Now get up, Donna. You are 52 years-old, you are healthy, you are writing, and nobody is vomiting on you. Life is good.”
And with that Knute moment, I get out of bed and feel alive, grateful, and physically fit.
Until I look in the mirror and see that I am getting lip wrinkles, and I notice the eyebrow that is pure-white and sticking straight out, and the slightly bald spot under my bangs that arrived less than a month ago.
“Knute?” I call, frantically. “I need you, Knute.”
And the talk starts all over again.