And Yet She Runs

I went to pick up my daughter yesterday after track practice. She is a sophomore in high school and on the JV track team. I arrived early and was sitting in the car. As I was scanning the area looking for her, I spied a lone runner off in the distance. As the runner got closer I realized that it was my Emma.  The other runners were far ahead of her. As she ran by me she gave a cheerful wave and said she would be done soon.

As I watched her, it reminded me of how proud I am of her, of how her love of running is a mystery to me. She can, and has, run fast. But even her fastest leaves her last in most races and far behind her teammates in practice. And yet she runs.

This time of year she runs twice a day at school. She must rise early and be at practice by 6:30am. She is tired in the morning but gets up with a happy smile because she gets to run. Once there she runs for an hour then cleans up and goes to class. At the end of the school day she has 2 more hours of running. She is weary and yet she runs

Her teammates are kind and accepting but not inclusive. So, for most of the time Emma is on the perimeter of things, always on the outside looking in. And yet she runs.

To the outsider sometimes it appears that she is running so slow that she isn’t getting anywhere.  When I mention this to her she says that she will try harder next time. When I tell her she needs to keep up with her teammates she tells me she will. And when I harp and nag about it, she will look at me and tell me that’s enough, I don’t want to talk about it.  Which reminds me that she is doing her best.

On the weekends she runs in the neighborhood. To her it doesn’t matter if it’s hot or cold. Her running is solitary as is much of her life. And yet she runs.

As I watch her run I often think, how many people would still run if they always came in last? How many would still love running?  Who would still be on a team where you are never really accepted? And yet she runs.

To love something so fully, that what people think, doesn’t matter. To do it, with disregard for the outcome, just because you love it, that’s where true happiness comes in. That’s what Emma is teaching me.

What makes this incredible to me is that my dear sweet Emma is Autistic.  Many things are difficult for her. I never thought she would ever want to run. I guess there is a freedom in the running for her. Emma once told me she loves the feeling of the wind when she runs, it makes her feel like she is flying.

I am so very glad she found something that makes her happy, something that brings her a sense of accomplishment. I hope she always has this love for running, that no matter what people say she will keep running and at the end of the day I can still say “And Yet She Runs.”

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Just One Day For Love?

Just one day for love?  This seems to be the message Valentines Day sends, that on one day (Feb.14th) you should shower your loved one with flowers, jewelry and all manner of gifts. I think that is silly.

You have to admire someone’s marketing skills as they have built a holiday out of something that should be an everyday occurrence. I think you should let people you care about know that you love them everyday, not just once a year.

I have to say I do feel sorry for the male species. Most of the pressure to perform on Valentines Day is on them.  They have to find a gift that will somehow show the woman they love that they love her. So I guess that means no appliances.  See, it’s just silly to me.

I want a man to show me he loves me everyday not just once a year.  I yearn to hear words spoken with love often, to feel special, to know that I’m the one he loves. These things that I desire don’t cost money. Now don’t get me wrong, I love presents. But for me I would rather have a present that is unexpected on some other day of the year. How special is that?  To know that he is thinking about me on a Tuesday, just because.

The gift could be something as simple as a bottle of wine or a little guilty pleasure (mine are cinnamon pop tarts). I love these kinds of gifts because it means that he knows me and is thinking about me.

Anyone can remember to give a gift on Valentines Day, but how about March 15th? August 2nd?

So, I have decided to try and make every day Valentines Day.  To show by my words and deeds that he is the one I love. This won’t require more money for things, it will require more thought. More thoughts of love, how can that ever be wrong? How could showing your special someone how much you love him be bad? How strong would your relationship be if you tended to it everyday like a fragile flower? Well I’ll tell you how it would be; your flower would grow tall and strong and never be thirsty. Your flower would last for years and years.

Yes, I believe that Valentines Day should be everyday. So who is with me?

 

Fifty

I got a tattoo. I also got a blonde streak in my hair (I’m brunette), I tried bourbon (didn’t like it) and went back to school.  Recently, I have been known to stay up past midnight and I have acquired a boy friend.

The preceding statements sound like something a teenager might say, it doesn’t sound like something a (GULP) fifty-year-old woman would.  But I did say it.  And no, I am not having a mid-life crisis.  I am having fun.  It’s the kind of fun you should have when you are fifty.

Fifty, Fifty, Fifty, there I said it. It’s only a number right? Why should I let a number stop me? Why should I feel old? Your response might be “because you are old.”

Now that is a response of a truly old person. Of course my body is not what it used to be, and I weigh more than I did when I was young. I have wrinkles that I don’t like, and my body sometime aches for no apparent reason. But I will not let a number stop me.

You know the secret to youth don’t you? It’s acting young, having fun, and not becoming old in your mind.  I’m sure you have seen “old” fifty year olds and people you couldn’t believe who were fifty.

I want to learn new things, go to new places, and meet new friends. I want to stay up late with people I love, talking all night long. I want to be spontaneous and every once in awhile be irresponsible. I want, for brief moments, to pretend that I am in my twenties again. I am willing to pay the price for that wish. The payment may be a sore aching body and the need for massive amounts of sleep for two days. But I don’t care. Remember, it’s all mind over matter right? If I don’t mind, the rest doesn’t matter.

So if you are fifty, near fifty, or will someday be fifty, hear my words – Go forth and have fun, because after all you are only as young as you feel.