Saturday, August 24, 2013


There isn't anything quite as cool as watching your own kid doing something great... and when the something great just happens to be running, well, even better!

I have to admit, I acted like a complete fool yesterday.  Like the kind of mom I make fun of who frets, babies and pampers her son like he is 4 years old when he is 14.  In my defense, I don't normally parent like that.  I mean, I have yet to go through last year's back packs of the three who start school on Tuesday!  That's how I roll and I'm pretty ok with it.  I love my children and they know it.  When they aren't blowing up my world arguing and fighting, we have a good time together.  We laugh a LOT and all their NEEDS (not all their wants) are met.  To me, that is what matters in the grand scheme of parenting.

Will started high school this week.  The normal crazy nerves I imagine would accompany going from a school of 300 kids to a school of .... hundreds more... were squelched by the fact that he spent his summer conditioning and practicing with the cross country team.  He was very comfortable heading in to his first day with nothing more than a few nerves over the academic load that awaited.  The big news was that when he got out of the car with 3 of his peers on the first day, he said (and loudly, too), "Love you, mom."  WHAT???  Ok, that completely made my day.  What high school kid DOES that?  This was a kid that was obviously comfortable in his own skin.  But it hasn't always been that way.  So much of his maturity and transformation I attribute to running.

Rewind to the spring of sixth grade.  Sarah approaches me toward the end of track practice (Will's first and only year running track since he "hated to run").  "Will says he is having chest pain and he can't breathe."  I'm pretty sure that happens to all unconditioned people when they start to run, but apparently Will saw it as a medical emergency that prevented him from continuing practice.  I walked up to Will and asked him what was going on.  He said that felt like his throat was closing up.  I know it wasn't and that he just felt lousy from the exertion, combined with the fact that he was humiliated that he was in the back of the pack and struggling during 800s.  A few of his peers seemed unaffected and were flying by him.  To a kid who struggled with self confidence (as evidenced by his sometimes over confident, cocky nature), this was just too much to take and so he just stopped.  This both angered and saddened me and I realized just how much work I had to do.  I don't mean work to get him to be a runner.  I figured once the season was over, so was Will's "career" with running.  That would have been ok.  I just wanted him happy and to find something he did well and enjoyed.  I wanted him  to do that "thing" with gratitude and humility.  Honestly when my kid's happiness is on the line, I didn't care if it was knitting.  I am thankful it is not, but I would have been happy he was happy :)

So how did I teach my kid to overcome the very thing that I struggled with at that time in my life (for me it was racing)?

The truth?  I prayed for that boy fervently.  Never doubt the power of praying for your kids, which includes admitting how little control you have and surrendering the fostering of their vocation to the Holy Spirit.  That is what I did and continue to do.  The sense of peace over knowing that God is in charge is awesome.  Who wouldn't Him be in charge rather than themselves?  After all, they are His children, not really ours.  He just seemed to think we would know what we were doing when He put us in charge of them down here.  Thanks, I think?

I never made Will run.  I did encourage him to try cross country in the eighth grade after he successfully completed a half marathon that spring (a whole other post way back to March of 2012...)  But I made it clear that he never HAD to do this.

Many events led to yesterday... Will's first high school cross country meet.  I woke him early with a cup of coffee I brought to his bedside.  My dad used to do that for me and I remember it was those little things that gave me the feelings of being so cared for and loved.  I also made his breakfast, carefully calculating carbs, protein and fat in prep for a good race later that evening.  I knew his nutrition was really critical.  Racing after a full day of school and a flurry of activities would take a lot from him... from all the kids racing that night.  I instructed him on what to eat for lunch and made sure I had dinner ready at the early bird, elderly time of 4:15.  That meant he would eat his meal 2 1/2 hours before his meet, which is perfect.  Now come on... it was his first meet and I was excited.  I'm not normally this psycho.

The kids had to be there 90 minutes before meet time.  It was very hot yesterday so I made Will bring Heed to sip, not chug, while he waited.  I packed him a few chocolate milks for when he finished and headed out separately to his meet (John took him earlier).

Because this was his first meet, Will had to run in the "Newcomers" race.  All freshman did except for the two that made the varsity team.  Normally he will run 5k distance, but his first meet he had to run the 2 mile race.  Will's goal?  To be in the top 10.  Hmmmm....

Finish strong

The result was awesome.  Will ran a terrific race, hanging steady the entire race and finishing number 8 out of 84 with a time of 11:53.  You can't imagine the feeling I had flashing back to the red faced, panting, dry heaving dramatic boy 3 years ago.  Right in front of me was a strong, confident and fantastic runner who had just begun his season as a high school runner.  Exactly one year ago he ran the same meet as an eighth grader in 14:36.  That was not my doing or John's doing.  That was God's doing.  He certainly has great plans for Will.  I don't know whether they include running or not.  That doesn't matter to me at all (sure I'd love it if it did!).  More clear was the resounding message,  "Trust me and you WILL NOT fail and neither will he."  Now just where have I heard that before...?

Here are some pictures:

Shoe untied... some things will always be the same.

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