Attitude

Dear Yesterday,

You beat me down and pushed me around. You slapped me in the face and then, when I wasn’t looking, swung at me with your balled up, clenched, little fist. You were rude, sly, and down right mean. You were unwelcomed and barged in without an invitation or hesitation. I let you win, throwing up my arms in defeat. I was so taken aback at your presence that my only gratitude that you were gone at days end. But you are persistent, and returned under a new name…

Dear Today,

You woke me up at 4:30am. You had me running around in circles, cleaning messes you left in your wake. You tried your best to wreak havoc on me. You did your best to bring it.

Well, I don’t know what “it” is, but you certainly can’t have mine. You are no match for my time with my children, sunshine, fresh air, laughter, snuggles, and me.

I know you will return tomorrow and try again. But I am on to you, wise to your ways, and you have little chance of success. I won’t lie and tell you that I enjoy this little game, but I will continue to play and to dominate the score board. Good luck to you, though you have no chance.

Dear Tomorrow,

Don’t even think about it…

Sincerely,

Positive Attitude

PS: Thanks for the reminder

{this was originally written and published on facebook as part of my 30 Days of Thanks on November 14, 2013.}

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Mondays

That moment when your threenager comes into your room in the middle of the night because she’s scared or something to that effect and climbs all over you and your husband for no less than 2 hours until she finally settles in a horizontal position across your pillows which you happen to be using and when Daddy suggests that she moves she begins to sob an uncontrollable “Oh Woe Is Me” sob that makes you unwillingly rise from your non-slumber and carry her back to her bed and lay down next to her so she calms down but then you fall asleep only to be woken by your husband an hour later because the sun is rising so you slip out of her bed so as not to disturb the now-sleeping-beauty and begin to get ready for the day by getting your other children dressed, fed, making lunches, and all that other schtuff that makes mornings absolutely and maddeningly entertaining if you were a fly in the wall but you’re not, so you’re just mad, probably from the lack of sleep for the better part of a decade.   But then the princess emerges from her kingdom mere minutes before it’s time to depart and you think, “Effit. Keep the pajamas on and here’s breakfast to go, Kid” because it’s time to go and MONDAYS

You arrive at school and you hear the comments about your daughter still in her pajamas but you don’t let it bother you because 1) You made it to school on time for her older siblings  2) She’s the youngest so rules don’t apply to her…duh… 3) It’s not a school day for her anyway 4) MON-DAY {nuff said.} 

After a busy but accomplished day of cooking, cleaning, and playing dress up you inform your threenager that it’s time to get out of her dress up clothes and into real clothes where upon she immediately ventures upstairs to put on a fresh pair of pajamas, tights, and her tap shoes which she disliked SO MUCH that she insisted on dropping dance class, which you did just last week, but now she is happily tapping off into the sunset to pick up her siblings at school, where people notice that she is wearing yet another pair of pajamas and that her “outfit” makes no sense and you STILL don’t care because 1) You made it to school on time to pick up her older siblings 2) She’s still the youngest so rules still don’t apply to her…duh… 3) It wasn’t a school day for her anyway 4) She looks adorable 5) MON-DAY {nuff said.} 

#thiskid #threenagers #thirdchild #mondays


Fall…ing

That moment when you have just ordered your marathon outfit, new shoes, battery backup for your phone, runners pack for long training runs, and signed up to compete in a local hat trick (5k+10k on Saturday plus 1/2 marathon on Sunday) that’s in 2 weeks which is good because it takes place 2 weeks before your full marathon so it’s meant to be your last hurrah before tapering and you’re even more excited about it because your 7 year old daughter is going to run the 5k with you. So you go out to run a quick training mile with her, but your not-quite-4 year old wants to join the “girl’s run” so she comes along for a warm up 1/4 mile and while running next to her you roll your ankle on what was likely an acorn but probably just clumsiness and you’re thinking, “OMGoodness that hurts like a &$@!!!!!” But after a few steps you’re ok, so you bring your younger daughter back to your house and run the rest of the mile with your older daughter and everything’s fine until 2 hours later when you take off your shoes to get changed for a family fun night of bowling and you start to feel increasing pain in your foot. So you take some ibuprofen and inform your husband that you can no longer walk or put pressure on your foot AT ALL and you get into bed to elevate your feet while your oldest daughter plays nurse and gets you ice and stays by your side so your husband can take the younger children to get a new movie (since bowling was cancelled) and an ace bandage for your injury. But then, as you’re waiting, you are actually writhing in pain and using your Lamaze training that you never actually needed during labor and delivery because EPIDURALS but you’re glad now that you took the class because you might actually hyperventilate and you’re now shivering in shock and thinking , “Damn that little acorn. This better just be a bruise because come hell or high water you are running in that marathon in less than one month.” And also, “Eff you Universe, Mercury in retrograde, and Murphy! Enough of these Shannanigans!” So you call your husband and tell him you think you might need an X-Ray. So your in laws come over to watch the kids while your husband takes you to an urgent care facility and the doctor offers you a pain killer shot in your ass which may or may not burn and you’re thinking that you’d rather not feel like your ass is on fire. So you politely decline pending the X-Ray results which fortunately show no break, just a bruise, which is FANTASTIC news. So you gladly take the air cast and crutches knowing that you’ll be just fine and back at it in a few days and hobble off into the sunset… 

 

IALAC

A few months ago, as I got the kids ready for bed, we stepped out onto the balcony of my parent’s beach condo to read bedtime stories. We gazed out towards the sea and saw participants of the Challenge Atlantic City full triathlon still making their way down the boardwalk. Some were happily trotting along while others were clearly struggling toward thd end of this massive accomplishment. I began clapping and cheering, “You got this!” breaking the serenity of the Sunday evening hush of waves.

Some racers looked around, confused as to where my voice was emanating from, while others pumped their arms up, perhaps in gratitude, cheering for themselves and their mysterious fans. Some continued trudging along, while others added some bounce and speed to their steps.

The kids became excited and joined in, questioning each passer-by, “Is that a racer, Momma? That one? Go! Go! Go! You can do it! Finish strong! Finish proud! You totally got this! You’re awesome! Go! Go! Go!”

It didn’t take long for me to get choked up, a mix of parental pride at the kid’s overt enthusiasm and sincerely decent spirit towards others, and knowing exactly the point in this journey that each runner felt, be it “I can do this!” or “I’m ready to throw the towel in.” “I need help.” “Almost there!” “I’m done.” “I think I can.” and even, “No. I can’t.”

The children were concerned about my tears so I explained that I am both very proud of them for showing support and cheering others on when they need it most, and that I know how those athletes feel at this point of their race because I am at that same point. I have been there for what has both seemingly and actually has been years. In fact, I think we’ve all been THERE, regardless of whatever journey you’re “racing” in…

An old friend and camp counselor used to share a story about a girl with an invisible IALAC sign. I Am Lovable And Capable. The story goes that the girl’s sign tears throughout the day as some things go wrong or she is insulted. Some tears are barely visible, while others rip the sign in half or even shred it to near pulp. Yet the sign is said to regenerate each night so the girl can begin each day refreshed and ready to take on life.

In school, as part of an anti-bullying campaign, Lady J and Bud are learning about bucket fillers and bucket dippers. The basic idea is that we each carry imaginary buckets. You can choose to fill other’s buckets through compliments, acts of kindness, and inclusion and in doing so, your own bucket fills. Or you can dip someone’s bucket with insults, physical harm, or exclusion, which will also dip yours.

Well, something that my Facebook feed won’t tell you, is that my IALAC sign is shredded and has a really hard time regenerating to full strength overnight but it’s still hanging “pinky strong”, and although my bucket feels half empty many days, other days it feels half full and it often fills and flows over the brim.

So I think I’ll be ok. This part of my journey is just really, really hard.

I’m at the part of the race when you think, hope, and pray that the finish line is nearing, while most onlookers have packed it in and the cheers have almost become silent. The day is nearing an end and they have their own lives to live. This is the part when Fight Song, Carry On, Try, Stronger, Defying Gravity, Final Countdown, We’re Not Gonna Take It, Mahna Mahna,  and Paul Revere {because Muppets and Beastie Boys…} are on constant repeat on my internal play list and I dig deep to fill my own bucket and tape the shredded pieces of my sign back together.

And through the taped up tears in my sign and holes in my bucket, I still do my best to not only treat others as I want to be treated, but to instill that practice into my children because it’s that important and that simple.

So we stood there, the children and I, cheering the racers on from the balcony as the sun began its descent, trying to help others strengthen their IALAC signs and hoping to fill their buckets, knowing that mine will be just fine…

CWK #247365711: Bud, On Bud

Strolling down the boardwalk Bud gently takes me by the hand and asks if he can tell me something. “Of course!” I respond, and this truly observant five year old proceeds to explain the complexities of humans with such honest simplicity:

“Sometimes I’m happy. Sometimes I’m sad. Sometimes I’m silly. Sometimes I’m mad. Sometimes I like to have fun. Sometimes I’m serious. But I’m always me. Even though it’s not always easy.”

#HowDoesHeKnow #truth #wisdomofchildren

  

DEAR Time

That moment when you hear dawdling and playing behind the closed door and you’re ready to storm in and give the ALL POWERFUL COUNT TO THREE because of course you’re running late and it’s only Monday and you’ve already told them at least a BAZILLION times to get dressed, make beds, brush teeth, put your toys away, check under the beds, open the curtains, and pack your school bags…but when you open the door you see DEAR (drop everything and read) time happening and your oldest is reading to your middle and the giggles are from a funny part in the book and your academic worries as a parent begin to melt away knowing that the magic of reading and the bond between siblings is growing and suddenly being late isn’t the worst thing that can happen…

  

#HappyMonday #DeepBreath #SlowAndSteady #LivingInTheMoment

Just Do It: May 2013

On Saturday I ran to Delaware. It sounds like a Forrest Gump moment, but it’s honestly only 3 miles down the road.  Yet, as I crossed the state line my inner voice spoke, “Well, since I made it this far I might as well keep going.”  And so I did. I figured, just up the hill to the end of the next town.

 While running through the town, a young man who appeared to be wholly out of shape was eating an ice cream cone and heading toward me on the sidewalk. I moved to the bike lane to allow him to pass and he yelled angrily, “You’re doing it wrong!”  I have no idea if he was talking to me or someone unseen behind me but my inner voice retorted, “At least I’m doing it!”

 I came to the end of the town and thought just down this next hill.  On my way down hill, “I’m sexy and I know it” started playing. I chuckled and quickened my pace, checking the clock and thinking, “I’ve got time,” so I started the climb the next hill.

 On my way up, a group of riders politely formed a single file line while I moved to the grass to afford them more space.  We passed one another with nods of appreciation and approval. A silent “keep going” and an unspoken “you’re almost there” pushed me on.

 I reached the top and saw Winterthur ahead in the not so far distance. “Holy Crap!” I thought!  That’s awesome!  Might as well get there!  And so I did…

 I turned around at the light to start the run back thinking about where I was just one year ago:

 I was (ahem) training for the Broad Street 10 miler. I was still nursing K-Mad, had just started running in March and had yet to make it past 3 miles on the treadmill let alone run on actual pavement. Yes, I was once athletic, but not really so much anymore, though still in relatively good shape-ish.

About 2 weeks before the race I was convinced it wasn’t gonna happen so I pretty much stopped “training.”

The night before the race, my parents insisted that Mr. TheKing and I go out and they’ll watch the kids. We had an incredible time!  A great dinner, amazing drinks, followed by glow bowling and fantabulous bowling alley wine! It was ridiculous!  By the time we got home, well after midnight, there was no way I was racing.

A few hours later K-Mad woke up to eat. I gave her a bottle, (knowing there was no way I should feed her,) and looked at the clock. “Well, I should shower if I’m doing this,” I thought. And so I did.

I slept the whole way to the race. We got there and Joe gave me a $20 just in case I needed to “cab it” to the finish line.  It was a joke, with more than a hint of “but seriously” undertone.

The race started and I was doing well. Avie and I were chatting and it was time for me to slow down and for her to take off. Then I ran with Abbie & Joe for a bit and slowed some more.

I was angrivated when bands played so loudly that I couldn’t hear my own music or when my shoes stuck to pavement from Gatorade other runners had tossed, but kept going.

I came around City Hall and other runners were cutting me off to high five the crowd. I thought, “What the? I’m running here!  Do you know that guy or something?”  A few minutes later I realized that I knew him too. It was Ed Rendell.  I kept going.

I got choked up when I saw fathers standing on the side with their kids and signs that read “Go Mommy” and it pushed me to go. So I kept going.

Then I passed a sign meant for encouragement that read, “4 miles down!”  Wait…what? What did that say? 4 miles down?!?!?  I still have 6 to go!!!! I’m not even HALF WAY?!?!?!  {It should be noted that in subsequent years I realized that the lady holding the sign was standing 2 miles south of where she should have been.}

There was a cacophony of thoughts noisily running through my head:

“chug, chug, chug, puff, puff, puff, I think I can, I think I can”

“So I dug right down to the bottom of my soul, to see what I had inside…”

“Well, I ran this far, I might as well keep going”

“Just do it”

And so I did…2 hours and 4 minutes.

I could not move for a few days following the race and was definitely dehydrated, but I did it…

The run back home from Wintethur on Saturday was just plain fun.  My music was loud and my rhythm was in step. The climbs were welcomed as I blasted up them and my legs seemed to “regenerate”  heading down.

 It was a 9 mile round trip trek full of oncoming traffic, 2 quaint towns, and a plethora of hills that I cannot even guess on their incline or grade.

 I got home and checked my time: 1:40, averaging 11 minute miles, a whole minute less per mile than last year.  Not too shabby.  Bring it on Broad Street! Let’s do this!

PS: I use the Charity Miles app when I run because its just something nice to do for others while I’m doing for myself. You can use it for walking, running or biking and has a variety of charities to choose from each time you use it. Check it out here: http://www.charitymiles.org/

The Class: May 2014

I’m standing in the cardio room at the community center on Saturday morning waiting for class to begin. I just dropped all three kids off at “kids club.”  It’s the first Saturday I’ve actually made it to class.  Weekdays are one thing, part of my routine. But Saturdays?  Pffft…I’m usually a little slower, more relaxed, and in no hurry to get anywhere. Or we’re out of town. But my favorite instructor was teaching, so I went for it.

“Cardio Kick Boxing,” she announces. The room simultaneously filled with silence, groans, and hidden excitement. I’m thrilled and ready for the torturous hour that will test my strength and prove my weakness.

I get out my “There’s a Chance this is Vodka” water-bottle and place it on the window edge that overlooks the indoor pool and take my spot.

There’s a lady who looks at my water bottle and launches an attack, shrouded by my own mistaken assumption of polite small talk, “That’s exactly why all high school water bottles need to be approved,” she hisses like a cat, claws out,  “I should know. I’m the school nurse and I approve the bottles.”  My bottle and sense of humor apparently, did not get her endorsement, but I am amused by her candidacy, and kinda feel like I should stop by detention after class.

I nod and give her a confused half smile, take a sip from my unauthorized bottle, and walk to my spot in the room.

I notice my soft reflection in the glass.  That’s enough for me. I can see my shape and form and correct as needed, and still see right through me.

The actual mirror is too damning.  There is just too much glaring back for me to stand there. I honestly don’t need to see the sweat beads, red face, and overall “I’m working my ass off” appearance in hi-def. I’ll leave that area to the ladies who somehow don’t appear to break a sweat and maintain perfectly managed hair (and makeup?!?!?!) throughout the grueling workout. How does that even happen?  (Seriously, if you are one of those ladies, please share your knowledge and secrets. Inquiring minds want to know…)

The music begins and with that, we are all in our rows pushing forward in place. I put on weighted gloves for an extra push and start jabbing. I take them off. The straps are too big and I envision one flying off my hand during a jab-cross sequence and shattering the window in front of me.

The sequences get faster and faster as the beats per minute increase.  Step-hop-knee-jab-pause-uppercut.  Step-hop-knee-jab-pause-uppercut…

The moves get more involved and more complex. Faster and faster and faster. I’m feeling awesome yet winded, coordinated yet confused.

And suddenly I’m back in middle school doing the Hora (grapevine), the running man, Kid-n-Play, the MC Hammer shuffle. I feel like Vanilla Ice: Will it ever stop?!?!?!?!  (Yo, I don’t know.)

Now we’re doing sumo squats and hooks. I’m looking at a transparent me, flinging my arms across my chest while I attempt to sit on air.  I can vaguely make out my ears protruding out of my head beneath my hat. I’m blowing out my cheeks as I blow out the air.  I focus on the outlined reflection: my form, my (not so defined) muscles, my discolored face…and I realize that I am a gorilla.

I look ridiculous!  But who cares?  Even my pigtail braids are sweating! Keep going! Oooh-Oooh. Aaah-Aaah.

We switch to a new set. I can’t figure it out. The lady next to me can’t either. We look at each other, smile, and laugh in acknowledgement. It’s like we’re uncoordinated sole sisters for a few beats. We finally catch on for the tail end if the last set…I make a mental note to remember the move for next time and forget it by the time the next set begins…

We move into Karate Kid mode. I’m wax-oning, wax-offing, doing a modified crane roundhouse type thing while blocking and painting the fence. Chop! Chop! Chopping broccolay!

The instructor asks if we need a break. No reply means we keep going just one more short set before water. The school nurse is irate. I am amused.

Three minutes to go. Just the cool down and stretch…

I glance up to see the woman from kids club summoning me…and just like that, class is over for me before it ends and I disappear to tend to other doodies…

The Belt: September 2013

When I was in middle school or high school I bought a belt from The Gap. It’s a good belt. Strong brown leather with a silver buckle. Not like the cheap ones that have 6-12 months of wear in them that are sold today. No, this is mighty fine belt. Only, my belt was too big. Oops. I bought the wrong size. So Joe, my stepfather, hammered 4 more holes into the belt and I was good to go.

I wore that belt in the smallest hole for years. But as time went on, the belt had to be loosened a notch here, a few more there…

After 20+ years and a lot of living, the belt finally settled on the third original hole. It has remained on that hole for years. There are many reasons that the belt had to be loosened. None of them are excuses. It just happened, and life went on.

About 18 months ago I took up running. I didn’t take it up to lose weight. I didn’t even take it up to get in shape. I started because my sister invited me to run in the Broad Street 10 miler, so I thought, “Eh!  Why not?”

After a year of just running, I added some basic low weight strength and ab workouts. My endurance was lasting longer, my pace was quickening, my mind was clearing, and life went on…

It took another 6 months, but I began to actually miss running on the days I didn’t run and to feel almost lethargic without the follow up toning.     And without me noticing it, I was tightening the belt, and life went on…

I recently joined the local community center upon moving, just over 2 weeks ago. They have a daily aerobic class that’s actually at the perfect time.  (That never happens!) But I LOATHE group workouts. They make me feel uncoordinated, clumsy, and quite self-conscious.

Seriously, I can still free style dance circles around many people. My flexibility hasn’t wavered much since college and I can still do the running man with J-Lo  and The Fly Girls if asked.  I happily attribute my mad grapevine skills to my heritage and the Horah, and would gladly dance till dawn for any celebration be it zumba, a wedding, a dance marathon, or just for fun. Yes DeBarge, I can feel “the rhythm of the night”.

But there’s something about working out in groups…

But I decided to make this a daily attempt to try something new, to meet people, to get in better shape, the list could go on as life goes on…

Anyway, (I think) I am currently in the best shape of my life since high school. That being said, today’s class was “cardio party.”  It was awesome.  There was dancing, jumping, boxing, kicking, and an “ab lab” at the end. It’s the perfect class for me and my belt.

Yet it’s still a class, a group…as in not alone, in front of other people.  The class was pretty much split into three groups. The first were seemingly just like me: (Younger?) stay at home or part time working moms who dropped one or more of their little ones off at the “kids club” before heading to class. Looking around I knew I was in good company, and that these ladies were hard core to get rid of the infamous “baby belly” and that I could learn from them, and possibly make friend or two.

Then there were the older (middle aged?) women. They could clearly advise me on child rearing and such, but I wasn’t so sure about this class for them. I mean really, the sound track alone might be too loud.

And finally, there were the seniors, as in citizens…senior citizens, complete with an AARP card and more. What in the world?  Running, yes, but cardio party?!?!? I was, totally ready to break out my “I know CPR!  You, call 911!”

{And I wouldn’t want to forget the lone male in the class. From the looks of him, he lifts…a lot. The dancing and rhythm wasn’t so much his thing, but he was great comic relief for the instructor, and honestly did keep up relatively well.}

Anyway, heading into the class I thought, “I got this!”  But let me tell you, the seniors schooled me. I mean, kicked my arse to the curb, how the “H” are they still going when I’m so friggin winded SCHOOLED me.

I can honestly say that I cannot wait to lose another notch on my belt with these inspirational women, because they know that life really does go on…

Honestly, I don’t have a scale. I don’t measure my self worth in looks, weight, or what notch my belt is on. I think I’m similar to many women. There are days that I look in the mirror and think, “hells yeah, I still got it!” And others when I’d rather not even look because the reflection reflects my mood and glares, “come back never” even though you know to just give it a day or two…

I don’t expect, or even want, to reach that last hole in my belt again. But I will say, that with a very basic exercise routine and even more basic dietary changes (trying to keep it to what GOD/ Mother Earth for realz made, except for wine, caramel, brownies & s’mores) I just feel better & healthier.

So here’s to a happier and healthier new year! This year I challenge you to go get schooled, go get in shape, go get better at whatever you’re trying to better about you.   Just go & get it!

 

Running With Lady J: 7.3.14

We left the condo at 6pm in a blur of pre-race excitement. The double stroller was packed with water bottles, jackets, and a few non-essential essentials. Bud and K-Mad were buckled in and already cheering for their big sister.

Lady J was dressed to match me, per her request, in her running outfit, pink hat, with a ponytail braid. “Mom, when I’m old enough for a phone, like 7 or 8 or 16, can I get an armband for it like you have?” She was a jumping bean of ecstatic enthusiasm, “Mom, in the race I’m gonna run like this!” She bolted down the hall to the elevator like an Olympic gymnast sprinting toward the vault.

We walked one mile down the boardwalk to the library to register for the race. Lady J was practically bubbling over and racing already. I wasn’t sure who was more excited at this point, her or I. This was our first race together and her first “distance” race.

“Mom, maybe when I’m big enough like in a year or a week I can run in a race by myself and you’ll just cheer for me and meet at the finish line, like when I’m 15 or 8, maybe 9 or 12. Those seem like good ages, ya know, when I’ll be old enough.”

We registered and I pinned our bibs on. We checked, one last time for ‘sneaky pee’ before heading to the starting line.

On our way to the line we talked about what to expect during the race and how it works. I made sure she knew that she could run ahead of me but I would not run ahead of her. I assured her that I could keep up with her, even if she sprinted the whole way, even with the stroller. And I told her there were only two rules she needed to know for the race:

Have fun & Try your best.

I looked down at her, as we took our place towards the back of the small pack of racers lining up and saw that Lady J wasn’t her usual bubbly self and any trace of pre-race excitement was nowhere to be seen.

“Mom, I’m scared,” she looked up at me and spoke with the blunt honesty that most lose as we age, “I don’t think I can do this.” Looking into her steely-blue eyes I could sense the knots in her stomach and feel the flutters of her heart.

And this was the moment. A defining moment that, as a parent, you have a choice to validate or ignore, teach or observe, be present or absent.

The. Moment.

I am generally of the ‘old school’ belief that children need to be taught to just do it, suck it up, follow through, and a whole host of other notions that modern society is just beginning to (hopefully) re-embrace.

But this brief moment deserved so much more attention than a simple acknowledgment and brushing off with a quick, “I’m right here.” or “I’ll help you.” and especially, “Of course you can!”  Although all would have been truthful, none would have been appropriate, nor what she needed to hear at that moment.

I knelt down and leaned in toward her, “Can I tell you a secret?” “Uh-huh,” she answered nervously.  “I am too,” I whispered those three little words into her ear. “You are?” she gasped in total disbelief. “Yup!  I get scared before every race. My heart beats super fast and my legs feel wobbly.”

She reached out for my hand in understanding and solidarity and lined up next to me. “Mom? I think we can do this together,” she put on her shield of bravery, “I know it’ll be awesome in the end. Let’s have fun and try our best, even if we don’t win.” “You got it,” I winked as we crossed the start together.

Lady J sprinted out in front of me, slowed to catch her breath, quickened to a jog, and walked briefly to rest. By the half way point, she settled in to a moderate and consistent pace.

We passed a few participants along the way and were cheered on by bystanders. “Go 321!” the onlookers shouted and clapped. “Who’s 321?  Who are they cheering for?” she inquired. “You, Lady J!  That’s your bib number. They are all cheering for you!”

She beamed, grabbed my hand again, and quickened her pace with pride. “It kinda makes my heart feel funny when they clap for me, Mama. Like it’s getting too big.” “I know exactly how you feel, J.”

We ran the rest of way, holding hands and cheering for those we passed. When we saw the finish line I let go and told her to go and “finish strong, J!”

Man, can that girl can fly!

“We did it, Mama! We did it together! You were great! Thank you for this awesome race and running with me!” she leaped into my arms with pure joy. Tears of pride and awe fell from beneath my sunglasses for both her achievement and her overt selflessness in her moment of accomplishment.

We high fived other finishers, offering our congratulations and stayed to watch the end of the racers finish. No one cheered them on with more enthusiasm and sportsmanship than Lady J.

Best. Mile. Ever.