On Running: Mirror Images
This column isn't anything like what I expected it to be. I selected several topics and tried to get started on each one of them. Nothing flowed. I'd get a few sentences out and then - nothing.
All the while, I've been thinking about my daughter's birthday this week. Has it really been nineteen years?
Whenever I remember her birthday, I think about standing in the hallway of the hospital all by myself. Moments before, we were in the midst of excitement and joy, when the monitor told the doctors that her heart rate had dropped dramatically.
Before I realized what was happening, they had rushed my wife into the operating room, leaving me alone. As I stood in that hallway, it was my faith that held me together. Somehow, I trusted that she would be okay.
When a nurse came out of the operating room, she saw me and pulled me inside. I walked in just in time to see the doctor lift my daughter into the world and a few moments later she was in my arms.
As I walked her toward the hospital nursery, I didn't realize how much she would be like me. Her willful nature and her competitive spirit are mirror images of mine. And, I didn't know that she would share my passion for running.
When we first started running together, my son, who is a couple years younger, was anxious to run too. I was cautious about having him start too soon, but in time he would join us. In a lifetime of unforgettable running memories, those runs with my kids rise above all the others.
Both of my children would follow in my running footsteps, but for my son, it was more of an activity than a sport. So, when he gave up spring track to try out for the high school play this year, I was happy to see him discover something he could feel more passionate about.
As a father, there have been many lessons I've tried to teach. I had a list of knowledge and experiences I wanted to transfer, but I'm afraid I've only been marginally successful. Life seems to teach better than I do.
There is something valuable, though, that I think my kids have gained from me: life is sweeter when you discover your passion, and then live it.
Recently, I watched my son on the stage. He was charismatic and energetic. He was playful and engaging. He was brave and inspiring. In the words of a runner, he ran the perfect race.
Reflection is a valuable thing, isn't it? You see things differently when those things are behind you. And, experience gives you the blessing of foresight. I wish I could transfer that to my kids, but they'll have to learn about life the same way everyone else does - by living it.
On the other hand, foresight might be overrated. After all, I didn't even know what path this column would follow, until I let my heart carry my fingers across the keyboard. And, if my kids can lead their lives in a similar way, I have a feeling they'll be just fine.
Dave Griffin writes a bi-weekly running column and offers coaching to high school and adult runners of all levels. Contact Dave at firstname.lastname@example.org