Today was our fifth and final Girls on the Run 5K. We had to wake up before dawn to be there. As the race began, I felt euphoric, remembering how Riley fell on the gravel at the start of her first 5K. How she freaked out because others were running ahead of her. How she could not get it together and how we almost quit before the first mile…but she didn’t.
Today…she was all smiles at the start. She was happy. She was dancy. She was just one of the girls, so glad to be there and be part of the big event. Here she is (on the right) with her buddy Lisa.
Riley only stopped two times, and she only walked about 100 yards or so each time. She was not worried in the least about who was ahead of her, or about falling behind. She actually loved the rain, saying, “Thank you God!” It really cooled us off.
When she got tired she grabbed my hand, and I sang Firework, and Born This Way and Don’t Stop Believing! We laughed at how bad I sounded, singing while running, and agreed I sounded kind of like a sick cat. But it was fun.
This little guy has been dragged along to almost every session, twice a week for three years, and has never once complained. Of course he gets to play on the playground and have fun. It isn’t grunt work, but still….it isn’t about him. And he’s gracious. And I love him.
I learned so much coaching Girls on the Run. So much about myself, about community, about my limits, about my strengths (I’m really good at the opening circle and the self-esteem building part). I’ll admit…it was never my great dream to coach Girls on the Run. I am not a natural runner. But I had to be there the first season for my kid. She could not have gotten through it without me there acting as a one-on-one aide. And the program was really good for her. And if they didn’t have someone step up and coach, the program would not have continued the next two years, so there I was. Reluctant coach. Sometimes resentful coach. Especially when dealing with behavior issues (not my kid’s). Sometimes I felt defeated. Why do I, the special needs mom with enough on her plate, have to deal with this? Volunteering about six hours a week! It’s crazy.
But Todd would remind me, most of them are getting a lot out of it. Most of them really wanted to be there. Most of them are awesome. And the non-awesome? They are awesome too, but have a lot going on at home, which is not their fault. (Gee…I can relate. I imagine I was pretty disrespectful too as a kid. I know I was part of making one unlucky substitute teacher cry in elementary school). Truly there were days I had to meditate before Girls on the Run practice, picturing these little trouble makers in their highest, most Divine perfect selves. It was only right.
I want people to see the my own child’s highest self, even when it isn’t being expressed.
Here she is when she started. A little peanut.
Now look at her. A total tween.
I would go to the ends of the earth for this girl.
I am so proud to be her mom.
I’m so blessed to be her mom.