Saturday, May 14, 2011


Never did I think I'd have athletic children. Never did it occur to me that I'd even have kids who would even dip a toe into the wide world of sports. I spent childhood avoiding it, fearing it. I knew that same discipline from ballet, but that's such a different and protected world. I never felt like I was "one of those girls" that could do sports. Ever.

Today Addie ran her first race, the Girls on the Run 5K. A race. At eight years old. As a runner I'm beyond excited that she would meet the challenge of three miles, because I know exactly how hard that is for a newbie. When I started running two years ago, I couldn't run a quarter of a mile. Ad was the same. Her first practice she did one lap and she asked the coach can we stop, now?

As a mom I can't believe that she has already laid down such positive groundwork for a life of healthy physical activity. I can't believe that she just did something at 8 that I didn't do until I was 30. Her earliest memories of running are going to be of things like teamwork, realization of goals, accessibility, fun and encouragement. Rather than getting hit over the head with the mile run as punishment (as I did) in high school PE, she will already have the confidence that comes from familiarity. She saw this through. She trained for several months and went from a non-runner to an eight year old who runs races. She doesn't have to be scared of running because it's a wonderful thing.

Beautiful, right?

I can't say enough good things about Girls on the Run as an organization. I'm glad I was an assistant coach so I got to see why it had such an impact on Roo. It was such a nice balance of physical health and emotional health that was encouraged. It's rare that I see programs with that kind of positive message, whether it's in school or in the things I send my children to do. It's beyond wonderful and it fed my soul to coach.


I had more fun running this race with Ad than on any other run I've ever done. I know I'll look back on this fondly in years to come. I'm so glad we did it together. She was so cheerful and excited all the way through--right up until mile 2.5, when she hit a wall. She kept pushing, but she strained hard. I told her I believed in her, that I knew she could finish. She looked up and me and said Mom, I believe in YOU, and I know you can finish too.

At the finish she was so overcome by emotion that it took her a minute to calm down. All those people watching... at eight it's hard to feel the difference between watching to support and watching to critique.

Who am I kidding? That's hard at 32.

But Addie found a place of pride about it. As the day wore on she stood a little taller in realization of what she'd achieved.


The day didn't end there, either. Not to be outdone, Henry had to show his stuff on the baseball field today. I'm so proud of the confidence he's gained this season, too. I've never laughed as hard as I do watching him run the bases while chatting it up with every adult coaching... and today he told me that "pitching" (i.e. standing next to the coach who pitches to the kids) is his favorite because he gets to talk to the other coach the whole time. Oh, Henry. I love you.

I love them both. Barbara Kingsolver wrote "God, why does a mortal man have children? It is senseless to love anything this much."

It really is... the best kind of senseless I can imagine.

1 comment:

  1. That's pretty awesome. I hope I can instill the sense of fitness into my kids as well. I remember that first mile they made us run in junior high.. I couldn't make it and had to walk. And now I think.. a MILE!? What a piece of cake!