Running with my daughter
“OK, I'll do it; how far is it?” I take a deep breath and try to hide the annoyance in my voice. "A 5K is 3.1 miles - you should know that by now." I insist, anticipating the answer, "Are you sure you want to run? You did not train." "That's OK, I do not have to."
Having settled that, she proceeds for the next hour to find an outfit for the race, one that matches... beauty before comfort. Silly of me to expect anything different from my 10 year old the night before a race.
In the morning, we position ourselves in the back of the pack. Knowing how much easier my life will be if she places, I silently pray that there are no more than three kids in her age group while she talks incessantly. The gun goes off and all is well for a while then... the real race begins.
The smiles are gone, the jokes are not funny; it is now a struggle for her to finish the race and for me to remain calm. By the second mile, the effort shown on her face makes even my labor pains pale. She has forgotten the conversation of the night before, she assures me this was not her idea and she had no desire to run...she is only doing it for me...that guilt placement she is so good at already. I make promises; I tell her she does not have to clean her room ever! Remembering as I say it that she never does anyway.
Knowing how I hate for people to lie to me when I'm racing, I tell her we are almost done. I ask her to pick up her pace and she looks at me in a way that tells me she has already PICKED OUT a nursing home for me.
Finally we approach the finish line and she hears the crowd with cheers amplified by her petite figure, she runs fast and I have a hard time keeping up with her (it would be terribly embarrassing if she beat me). With a big smile she looks at me and whispers “I like to show off”.
While we await the awards ceremony I look at her from a distance while she sits carefree with her competitor talking about movies and games, and doing what she does best, being a 10 year old; and I, for the first time today realize how much I can learn from her. Her last minute adventurous spirit makes me envy her courage and determination, and her laughter reminds me that above competition and racing there are friends and fun in running. She knows what I, in the rushes of life, sometimes forget, how to take chances, how to enjoy life, how to be happy.
3 years ago