It was weird to notice that particular mother looked at me with a very big grin. At first I though she was looking at someone behind me, but on checking a few times I realized it was in fact me who she was smiling at each time our eyes met.
It was a relay race in which primary schools participate each year, my youngest 10-year-old was in the girls’ team, and her also fifth-grader was in the boys’.
With all the people around and in between, and the races taking place and all, it was until almost the end of the event that I approached her, slowly and with some hesitation, of course.
As I got closer her smile grew bigger, as if she was proud of our kids, or happy to see me, or as if there was something else and she wanted to urgently tell me about it. And so she did.
As she began talking I realized it was in fact a strange yet beautiful occurrence my runs of late were a little bit different than before, and that such runs made me a better person in so many levels.
I’m a 51-year-old father of three. I’ve been running for health purposes since I was in university, and although I’ve never run any races competitively, I participate in a few each year, training throughout the seasons.
However, this year started a little bit differently: almost every time I was running on the street, there had been honking cars and/or cheering shouts coming from their insides. I obviously don’t identify the occupants going at such speeds, and don’t know whose cars those are, so all I have been able to do is wave back to them.
But I’m not waving alone, my 15-year-old has been with me on some of those runs. And that’s precisely why the cars honk, the cheering happens, and the happy shouts are produced. As this mother told me, it’s so beautiful -her words- to see a daughter run together with his dad.
It just struck me that, in fact, some of my happiest moments have been those when I’m running with my kids, for so many reasons. Such feeling is not related to watching -for instance- her long strides on beautiful, healthy legs, or admiring her soft, clean skin, or hearing her breathing in sync and then not in sync with mine. No.
It’s way beyond explanations.
I seize every opportunity I get to run with any of the three. I know in a matter of years the probabilities of still running together will be slim. So I am taking every chance to glance to my side and see a smaller (surely faster) loved one politely keeping or setting the pace.
This mother told me it’s something rarely if ever, seen, and she said that she would love to be able to see some other families do just that, hers included.
As she went on to say that the mere fact of seeing such pair running together made her day, I realized the winner on such occurrences is nobody else but yours truly.
Understand it or not, believe it or not, no medals would ever compare to what I’ve already won. VBG