Running and Going Nowhere

Dee, my mother-in-law, spent an entire summer swimming with my daughter, Ashley.  They hooked their arms over water noodles and ran in place, immersed up to their necks in the deep end, and Dee would say over and over, “I’m running, I’m running, and going nowhere.” Then her and Ashley would giggle like crazy – and keep running.

Lately, my life has felt just like that. Running – to drop the kids off at school, pick them up, drive them to a basketball tournament, do the laundry, help with homework, clean the toilets, grab some groceries, make dinner, make sure chores are done, tuck kids in – and going nowhere.

The world is busy running and going somewhere.

I am busy running, and going – not far, only up to the school or down to the basketball courts, maybe to the bank. And usually I am running behind, which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense when you’re going nowhere.

But I am doing one other thing: I am giggling. Just like my Ashley and her grandmother did in that pool all summer long. Giggling with my youngest as we lay inside her fort of blankets. Giggling with my oldest as we post Facebook messages to each other – while in the same room. Giggling about our dog, who plays hide-and-go-seek with my daughters by “sniffing” them out. Giggling with my husband at 2 a.m. when we’ve drunk one too many of his home brews.

It feels a lot like running, and going nowhere. But it is something else, too. Though I can’t quite nail it down. It is something.

It is something to hear the school’s dismissal bell, and watch my oldest daughter search through the cars and light up when she spots me; it is something to see my youngest finally solve a troubling homework problem. It is something to fold each shirt, hang each dress, match each sock (the socks that don’t get lost, anyway).

It is something to kiss my children’s foreheads and tuck the covers in like burritos around their legs. It is all definitely something, though I can’t quite put my finger on it.

And it has been years since Dee and Ashley spent that summer in the pool, running, and going nowhere.

But Ashley still talks about it, and how much fun they had giggling; and Dee says that summer saved her well-being.

Just running, and going nowhere.

*Sonney Wolfe is a wife, mother, and freelance writer who lives in Arizona. She’s been published in the Record Searchlight, Placer Harold, Press Tribune, and Suite101, among others. She also has a blog (Dispatches of a Woman in Motion) [] where she shares her relations of motherhood, sisterhood, and the human condition.

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