You may remember the 5k we ran (a part of) in May as a family. I was really surprised to find out that my Gabe is a runner. He doesn’t have the longest legs and I was tickled to see the level of endurance he showed.
When we decided that we were going to take this fall off from soccer (for the first time in five years), I was worried about Gabe still getting some exercise. Colin will go outside and ride his bike every chance he gets, but Gabe prefers to sit with a pad of paper and a pen. Like me, he gets a lot more melancholy when he isn’t getting outside and breaking a sweat on a regular basis. The beginning of the school year was a little rough, with lots of meltdowns after long school days. I had a hard time conceiving how I could possibly get him to get up and moving when he had no desire to.after a long day of duties.
I kept a prayer about it in my mind. Please let me know how to help this boy be happy and healthy.
And one day the prayer was answered back in my mind very very clearly. Gabe is a runner.
Not long after, I was looking for a 5K for Chad and I saw one really close by, at the YMCA that we used to be members of. It had a mile long fun run right after, and it was the day before Gabe’s birthday. So I told him about it. He was immediately on board, but with one condition: he was running it alone. No Colin. No Dad. No Mom.
We have been running with him the last month or so. Around the block. To the pond. Up and down our walking trails. I still saw his endurance, but worry settled in my stomach. I just couldn’t picture my shy almost-seven-year-old running a mile race by himself. Knowing where to go, sticking with it even when was tired, not getting overwhelmed and feeling alone on the long trail.
I kept a prayer in my heart now. Please let him be okay, running by himself. Please give him calmness and confidence.
Just this morning, I put on my running clothes and Chad and Gabe got ready for their races, just in case Gabe changed his mind and wanted me by his side. I told him that I was going to run alongside him every once in awhile to take pictures (leaving out the whole and to make sure you are okay bit).
But my prayers were answered, just as surely this time. As soon as the horn went off, and he rushed off at a pace that I knew he couldn’t possibly maintain, I realized there was no way I could keep up the photography ruse…down the streets and across the fields. And just as I realized that, I saw the answer to my prayers. One lone adult was running ( I think a mom of a preteen girl who was also in the fun run) and she ran beside my little boy, with a friendly face, and unobtrusively kept pace with him. They were soon out of sight and my jitters eased up a little, knowing that she was there.
About ten minutes later, he came back around the bend. Still running. Still with the stranger beside him, slowing her pace a little so he could finish on his own. His steps were much shorter and lower, and I could tell he was tired, but he was still running. My month of worrying eased into an explosion of grateful emotion. Gratitude for answered prayers and beautiful children who know what they are capable of.