Motherhood is a hard job.
How many globs of peanut butter and jelly have we spread onto crust-less slices of bread? How many socks have we washed and dried and lost? How many miles have we driven to and from school, games, concerts, camps, doctors’ appointments?
We do our jobs with sleep-deprived smiles. We cheer from aluminum bleachers during rain and/or sleet and 95-degree heat waves. We cry along with skinned knees and broken hearts.
We also want to please our children, want to make them feel proud of us, want to make another memory with them.
That’s where I found myself for the past month, trying to withstand Quinn’s big brown eyes as he suggested, then requested, then pleaded with me to run another 5k .
The parents of seniors at our high school traditionally throw a party for the teens immediately after graduation. It’s one last time for them to be together. It’s a safe place for them to have fun. We raise money all spring for gifts, food, music, and cash prizes. The Senior Stampede, our last fundraiser, kicked off our town’s community day this past Saturday.
Although I’ve run three 5ks before because of my children (I have pictures and t-shirts to prove it), and although three booths at the community day needed me to volunteer (with all my mental and physical ability at top capacity, not depleted after thirty-six minutes of pounding my feet), and although I tried to use all three as an excuse not to participate, I capitulated and signed the $25 check that would garner another t-shirt for me.
My nephew, Quinn, and Lane came in first, second, and third for the boys. Hattie won for the girls. I came in at a respectable 50th out of 130-ish runners. FYI, I beat some teenagers, including several football players.
Despite my initial dread, Saturday was a beautiful day to be outside, to be with family. I enjoyed the excitement surrounding the race and the camaraderie of the runners. It’s fun to be part of something like that. Hearing my sons cheer, “Way to go, Mommy! You can do it, Mommy,” as I neared the finish line spurred me on to the end. (Yes, they said, “Mommy’” in front of their principal and buddies.)
As I sat drinking my water and recovering, grateful that I’d accomplished my goal of running the entire 3.1 miles again without intermittent walking, Quinn found me in the crowd and gave me a hug. I said, “I ran that race for you, you know.”
“Yes, and don’t you want to run the Fire Department’s 5k in October?”
I closed my eyes and sighed.