This title is inspired by all the moments in my life that catch me by suprise. These moments are sometimes embarrassing. Sometimes they fill me with great joy. And other times, I am simply bursting with pride, and will remember them for the rest of my life.
Notice the little boy in blue coming up behind the shirtless man. Does he look familiar? How about now?
And here is the story:
We arrived at the temple parking lot on 21st street around 10:15 in the morning, hoping to watch my cousin and my brother-in-law cross the finish line. Lemur sees everyone running by and I try to explain a marathon to him. All he hears is "Race." So by the time we have walked to the corner of 22nd street, he is jumping and bouncing all over the place, simply antsy with excitement.
"Mom, can I race too?!"
I expect he would get tired after a block so I say, "Sure honey. Knock yourself out."
He's off like a shot.
I'm able to keep an eye on him for a few minutes, but it soon becomes apparent that he is not going to stop running. I no sooner realize this then I also realize I can no longer see him, because he is at least a block away. I still expect that he will eventually get tired and stop running, so I leave my Rivulet with my cousin and her two girls and begin to jog after my him. In sandals.
I yell to Lemur a few times, but he is always too far away to really hear me. By the time I finally reach him, we are well inside the chute between 24th and 25th Street that hails the end of the marathon. He has finally stopped to catch his breath, and I am happy to do the same.
"Oh honey, you scared mommy running off like that!"
He is beaming and panting and beaming, "I am super fast, huh!" It's SO not a question.
I laugh, "Yes, you certainly are."
We both pant and take a deep breath. he stands up from his squating position and heads for the finish line. I stop him, "No honey. This isn't our race. Let's go back and find our cousins."
He turns a stern face to me and answers with great authority: "No mom. This is our race. We have to finish."
"I can't honey. Mommy's too tired."
"Here," he says, "I will help you." He takes my hand in his and begins to run. "C'mon Mommy, we can do it!!"
I kid you not that my allergies began acting up. I ran with him despite my conflicting embarrassement and pride. Quickly my son got too excited to run slowly with me at the sidelines. He released my hand and yelled, "I'm going to win!!" as he took off for the end of the 'race.'
The announcer joked that he was the youngest kid they had ever had finish the marathon. I was again both trying to melt into the pavement and dying to yell, "THAT'S MY SON!!!"
After finishing, everyone was very nice to my little scene-stealer, and treated him like a racer. He was incredibly proud of himself. He drank his water and then told me he needed to rest.
He heard about the Kids K. He heard that he would win a medal for completing, and had been envying the medals he saw all the other people wearing. We decided to sign him up for the Kids K. Before that, I must tell you about another moment.
There was a rock wall. It was tall. Basically straight up. I was with my bestest cousin-friend and we decided that we wanted to climb it. Honestly, I wanted HER to climb it, and I'm not sure she would have done it alone. It was her first time after all. And perhaps I bragged about having climbed before one to many times . . . who can be sure?
Anyway, we had a race. I lost. I came down, actually quite satisfied with my attempt and my progress. I was much more excited to have come down on the hydraulic system giggling like a school girl and landing almost on top of my cousin on the grass, as she was also in a fit of exhausted giggles. But then I went to put my shoes on and noticed my Lemur looking a bit down.
"What's the matter son?"
"You lost, mom."
"That's okay, honey."
"No it's not. You have to try again."
I tried to reason with him, but it was to no avail. The lady running the rock told me I could try again: no charge. So despite my arm weakness and barefoot rawness, I harnessed back up and attempted the assent again. I made it halfway and gave up, content to ride the hydraulics back down to the grass. I was even prepared to meet my son's dissappointment. To my suprise he was cheering.
"Yay mom! You tried again! You won! You did it!!"
Who taught him this? For the second time in about an hour, I was bursting with pride!
Okay, to the Kids K. We packed Lemur and his 3 1/2 year old cousin into the double stroller, and my cousin took off with them at a steady pace while I meandered back with the two little ones each on their own harness. It was like having two pugs on separate leashes. Lemur and his cousin were signed up and suited up literally one minute before the K began. Then . . . they were off!
A wave of children, adults and strollers passed us by before I finally saw my own son trotting along with his cousin. He was wearing an official looking shirt and an absolutely official number. 504.
The K began at 18th Street and finished at 25th Street. By 20th, Lemur was exhausted. He began to tear up because he believed he would not be able to finish and wouldn't get his medal.
"I already ran my race, Mom. Why do I have to do it again?"
"Tell you what, son. Let me carry you."
He was hesitant at first, but soon I slung him up on my back and we continued the trek.
He laid his little head on mine and honestly: an extra 43lbs never felt so light!
By the time we reached the same place in the chute where we had stopped before, he was ready and raring to get back on his feet. He slid down my back and said, "Now I can finish."
He took off ahead of me, and finished the race. He recieved his medal: a red cowbell on a white ribbon. He was so proud. He asked me to wipe ice all over his head, and he drank water like a champ.
Below is the picture of my cousin finishing with her two daughters and a sleeping Rivulet in the back. We had already passed.
There are so many unexpected moments of joy in my life. I was just lucky enough to have pictures of these. Most are only kept in my heart. We so rarely acknowledge the moments that make our life worth living.
I am so grateful for a lesson I was taught a while ago: to let go of expectation. If I had clung to my expectation of the above described day we would have arrived, seen two people cross the finish line while I cynically wondered at the reason for the running, and would have walked away that day not knowing the answer.
Instead, I let my son run. I climbed a wall. I carried my son to his destination when he was too tired to do it himself. I diffused a cloudy situation with a bubble of joy that spread until it encompassed everyone around me. I allowed myself to accept the possibility that "The Universe" had a better day in mind than I did.
I cried throughout the day as I saw people running, stuggling and finishing. My son's race was a tiny blip compared to the miles and miles other people ran. And now because of his race, and being able to cheer others on, now I see the reason in a marathon.
Go Tristano! You are my hero. You are amazing. I know you are glad you ran the marathon for many reasons. I have a reason too: I 'm glad you ran so that I would come to see you finish and in so doing, be able to learn why you ran in the first place. Yay you!