Monday, July 7, 2014

The first race

This girl:
had no idea what she was in for. But she was ready for it.

She watches me lace up my purple running shoes (I really believe in feeling pretty as much as possible), put on my running shorts (with my running tights most of the year), throw on a T-shirt (again, most of the year also my icebreaker and running jacket) and head out the door. She is worried when I tell her I'm going for a long run 'I'll miss you momma! I wish I could run with you!' and relieved when I'll be back before quiet time is over or before she is asleep.

But she doesn't run much. She is a mad hiker. She is becoming a mad biker. She has got some climbing skillzzz that I did not teach her. But as much as she says she would like to run with me, she doesn't last very long.

Until July 4, 2014.

The first annual Challenge for Charities 1 mile Mad Dash Kids Run.

She was excited about it from the beginning. Actually, it was more about the running shoes. But still. She was excited.

As the day drew near I could see the nervousness set it. She was not sure what she had signed up for but she didn't back down…she was going to get a Tshirt in her race packet!

We started the morning with some stretching and hydrating. We got dressed. We pinned her number on (714!!! I love my number momma!) We walked four blocks to the starting line. I carried her…there was going to be a lot of walking later and I wanted to save her legs. We talked about how the man would shoot a gun in the air and that would be our signal to go. We got in line. 50 kids under 9 and half as many parents. Cameras flashing everywhere, the parents staying behind reminding their kids to watch for the adults on the track who would tell them where to go and to follow the orange arrows spray painted on the ground. Sis was nervous. She was looking around and her body was tense. She was not letting go of my hand even though she had very sternly told me several weeks earlier that under no circumstance would she be holding my hand and she would be running in front of me. But she was ready. As soon as the gun went off we were off navigating around the kids who had been tripped accidentally by other kids and the one kid who was accidentally tripped by a parent. She moved fast and pretty quickly said she was getting tired but pressed on anyway. We slowed down a bit and then when she said she was ready we sped up. We passed a few people-all the parents saying the same things: 'We are pacing ourselves. Go slow now and then speed up' 'It's fine if you need to slow down' 'It's fine if you need to walk' 'You can do this!'.

Before we reached the halfway mark Sis realized that it was fun to pass people. She looked up at me and said 'Momma I want to pass that girl in braids!' who was 30 ft in front of us. She let go of my hand and sprinted up passed her and then slowed down and grabbed my hand again 'I passed her momma!!!' So then I realized that competition is what is going to drive this girl to finish the race…so we found another girl to pass and passed her. Then she sped up and passed us so we sped up and passed her. And found a boy to pass. She kept running! She got tired and we slowed down a bit. But then we reached the bridge! The final stretch! She kicked it into high gear running so fast that daddy barely got a picture of her. There were so many people cheering and some she even knew! And then we crossed the finish line and she was on top of the world. She got the watermelon they set out for the post-race refuel. Everyone was giving her high 5's and saying 'great job!' She smiled big and said 'thanks!' She said 'hi!' to everyone we passed. She was proud of herself and so were we. 

She ran the whole mile. In about 13 minutes-maybe less. We don't have the official time yet but that's not what matters anyway. She's learning how good it feels to work really hard to accomplish something…

Friday, July 4, 2014

The boy and the deer

In the woods.

Away from home.

Cold and rainy turns to sunny and warm.

But there are so many things that are 'no touch'.

Tents, knives, fire, stakes, coolers…

And so many people around. People are on almost every campsite around the loop.

Or so it seems.

This little boy hears 'No touch!'' and 'Come back! Thats not our tent.' and 'Don't touch that wood-it's not ours.'

Too many rules for a boy in the woods. Too many rules for a girl in the woods-but she is content to sit down and color. He wants to run. He wants to touch. He wants to taste. He wants to breathe.

The dirt, the rocks, the sticks, the flowers, the pine trees, the squirrels, the mud, the lake water, the clouds.

Instead of the correcting and the time outs and the frustration-we walked.

Around the circle and to a new part of the park. We stumbled along. Me still frustrated by his restless tired hungry boy-ness. Him by the rules. (No splashing in puddles with those shoes on. Don't poke momma with sticks).

On the back side of a secluded loop I looked up and saw a deer.

We see deer all the time. People all over see deer all the time. They are nothing new. Nothing like a moose which was what I REALLY wanted to see in this area. But she was 20 ft from us. Standing still. She saw us (heard more likely) before we saw her. But when we did, we put the stick down, we talked in hushed tones (he is very good at that), and moved slowly through the woods to see if we could get a better look.

We stared at each other quiet for a few minutes. She moved closer, then farther away. We crept closer. We kept quiet.

And then she was gone.

And so was the frustration. And the restlessness.

We were calmed by this creature who is seemingly so ordinary-but still so different from us.

When we left that campsite two nights, 4 bison, a herd of elk, a 2 mile hike to a geyser, and a lot of campfire time with family that are more like friends later we were full. Satisfied. Peaceful. Full of beauty and wonder.

I am amazed every time at how the simple things fill me up.

An ordinary deer still produces wonder. Early mornings snuggles with my boy set the tone for the day. Late night chats by the fire. Good wine, of course. Being outside. Being open to being amazed.

I want more simple.