I really want our family to be athletic, but neither my husband nor I enjoy spending lots of time doing… athletic things.
Kind of a problem. So one thing I’ve decided we can do is have our family run races. I really wanted Lydia to run the kids’ 1K in our town on the 4th of July. So I took her out one day and measured 1K, then sent her running while I speed-walked with the umbrella stroller and the baby.
She hated it. I can’t say I blame her. It was over 100 degrees when I had my bright idea.
I told her I wanted to see if she could run the whole time, and if she could, I would sign her up for the race. She told me she had no interest in the race.
Disappointed, I tried to manipulate her into choosing to run. (I’m not ashamed to admit to manipulation.) She seemed interested, but still wasn’t convinced.
Then she asked me, “Mom, when you run a race, do you get to do whatever you want afterwards?”
“Ummm…” I responded, confused. “What do you mean?”
“Like, can you do whatever you want because you ran the race? And everyone has to do what you want?”
“No,” I told her. “But maybe we could see a movie?”
“Ehhh,” she said.
“Every kid is going to get a medal and a T-shirt after the race,” I told her.
“OK! I’ll do it!” she excitedly shouted.
So I signed her up, and then she and Daddy went out every night to practice during the week leading up to the race. On the last day of practice, she said it was getting easier, and concluded that it was because she had been practicing. I love when kids learn the right lessons on their own.
In all her prayers leading up to the race, she asked that she would be able to do a good job.
She was excited.
When the race began, she was lost in a sea of children. She started at the front, but was quickly one of the last as she timidly made her way along the path.
It was chaotic, and soon we couldn’t see her anymore. Paranoid parents that we are, Ryan turned to me and said, “I’m going to follow her” right as I said, “Go after her!”
He soon caught up to her, and she gave him a happy greeting.
“I’m going to run with you, OK?” he asked her.
“OK,” she agreed, and a few seconds later her hand was in his.
The baby and I were waiting at the finish line, and I was getting antsy because I wasn’t sure if he had found her or where she was.
Then, down the way, I saw this.
I showed these pictures to my friend, and we both agreed: These are the moments where you stop and say, “I chose the right man.”
I’m going to admit here that I freely cried. I cried when she set off alone — I was shedding tears of worry, as well as pride that she’s so grown up and capable. And then I cried when she made it to the finish line, holding the hand of her flip-flop clad daddy.
After all those happy, sugary feelings flowed through me, I gave her the biggest hug and told her how proud I was of her. I’m not sure she was feeling the same emotions, however. She smiled, held up her medal and said, “This is why I did it!”