I signed the kids up for a 1k race the other day. It was supposed to be a 5-mile training run for me, but my husband had a prior commitment, so I thought, “Why should I have all the fun?” Without asking their opinion, I registered my little sweeties, hoped they would like the “free” t-shirt and started mounting one of the biggest PR campaigns of my life.
Despite my feeling like I needed to really sell getting up early on a weekend morning to go run around as fast as possible, the kids met the idea with a lot of enthusiasm. Immediately they started talk of training. They even got the 1980‘s ankle weights from the basement and started walking around the house with them. We went to the store and bought new running pants.
My daughter, the older cautious one, was really nervous the morning of the race. Her tummy hurt so bad that I was worried she wouldn’t be able to race. Figuring it was just nerves, I encouraged her to try it. I stretched with them and waited by the starting line, helping them know what to expect, trying to give them courage for this unknown thing they were about to tackle.
Cason insisted that I run the race with them. She was too nervous to go by herself, so I prepared to run the Kids’ 1K, pretty sure I would be the only 36-year old in the race. The race started and Cason took off at the front of the pack, never looking back. I was there trying not to trample the other children, feeling unnecessary and rather silly, following behind, but she never needed me. She ran the whole way, eventually pulled away from me and finished with the front pack. Lacking the energy and deftness of my younger counterparts, I missed watching her come across the finish line, but I still celebrated with her.
As usual, I couldn’t help but reflect on the race and life. We as parents are here to encourage our children to explore the world, learn and see new things. We give them courage and confidence, but ultimately it is up to them to take off without us, doing their best, finishing well, knowing that if they need us, we are never far behind.