Monday, November 28, 2011


He tenses before the starting line, all forty pounds of him. Fiddling with the safety pins attaching his race number to his track suit, he shifts from the front to the back of his feet.

My son is five years old, and about to compete in his first road race---a turkey trot. One whole mile. And I am running with him.

With a shot of a gun, we start. "Keep your pace," I remind him, "Not too fast, not too slow."

"Okay, Mommy," he says, his fists curled into tight little clamshells, his arms pumping with each step.

We press forward.

He reaches for my hand, "My legs are getting tired." He coughs as the road crests like a wave. 

"Just keep going," I say. "We're almost to the top. And you know what comes next?"


I squeeze his hand, "You get to race me back home. Maybe you'll even beat me."

He grins, and we round the corner. "Okay, Buddy," I say, "It's all you."

I expect him to take off, fueled by fearlessness. Instead, he lets go of my hand, and strides besides me. "Do you want to race?" I ask.

"No," he says, "I want to finish with you."

We run through the final corridor, alive with whistles and cheers. He gazes from one side to the other, smiling. Uncoiled, like a loose spring.

Our feet stamp across the finish. They drape a medal around his neck.

He looks up from our hug, and says, "Okay, Mom. Now it's your turn to race."

I line up once more, and run five more miles. For him. For me. For our tomorrows.

Some say a photograph steals the soul. This week, show us yours: take us into the moment that photograph was taken. Show us who you were then and what the photograph means–in 300 words.

There are many pictures of me running. I like to think that my son watched me compete, watched his father run marathons, and learned that running is just what people do. The pics from this post  may have inspired him. 


Terri Sonoda said...

Nancy; I so love this. I'm missing my sons this time of year and I find myself remembering things like cub scouts (I was den mother) and baseball and soccer, and about a zillion other happy moments. Your story was like one of those moments. Thank you for sharing with us.

Ratz said...

Nancy this is such a beautiful post... i can feel like i am watching you both running for each other. It is really beautiful.

Jen said...

Oh my beautiful!! It brought tears to my eyes. I really hope to do a race with my children someday.

tulpen said...

This is something that will likely never happen with my kids...

In this house? Running is what 'other' people do.

SassyModernMom said...

Simply beautiful!! Congrats to you both!

Anonymous said...

Such a wonderfully fun scene. You painted it beautifully.

Kathleen Basi said...

I'm so impressed that he could run a whole mile at the age of five! My husband just ran a half marathon for the first time. I struggle to run one mile without taking a walk break. You are amazing.

Shell said...

What a special moment!

Nichole said...

What a wonderful seed you've planted in your sweet boy, Nancy.

I especially love this line, "I line up once more, and run five more miles. For him. For me. For our tomorrows."


January Dawn said...

Okay, I cried. It was the line "No, I want to finish with you." that got me. That was a beautiful post.

Kir said...

"No," he says, "I want to finish with you."

that encapsulates all the love between the both of you and I adored it. So glad you have this "way of life" to sare with each other.

Julie said...

"Running is just what people do."

I have to say, I love the non-competitiveness in him.

A rarity in today's world.

We could all use a little more togetherness, I think.

Galit Breen said...

Oh you, I love this moment that you captured. This passion that you've passed onto him.

And yowsa did he ever pull at my heartstrings when he just wanted to run with you!

{Sweet boy.}

BalancingMama (Julie) said...

Running for your tomorrows - super sweet. And what a precious boy you have!

cath said...

"I line up once more, and run five more miles. For him. For me. For our tomorrows.

I love that finish. You combine perfectly, the past, present and future of your relationship with your son. I know that if he doesn't realize it now (and I suspect he does),he will surely realize someday just how strong you are.

Great post and the photo is wonderful!

From Tracie said...

I love SO much that he wanted to finish with you.



Rachel @ Totally Ovar It said...

So beautiful. I adore your writing and how you've already instilled to calmness of running into your son. I hope you are as proud as I think you should be. You are a lovely, amazing mama!

Erin said...

What an awesome memory to share together. And the fact that he doesn't want to race, he wants to finish with you, so precious!

Cheryl said...

Truly lovely, Nancy. He is such a wonderful testament to you, my friend.

Cameron said...

Oh, Nancy.

You've gone and broken my heart.

Ash said...

You're a very, very good mommy. XO