Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sweet 16.

First day of school

The other day Cameron and I were watching TV together and a car commercial came on, the one where the dad is looking in through the car window at his toddler in the driver's seat. When the camera pans back we see the father holding out the keys to the daughter, and when we see her in the next frame, she's sixteen, smiling, and driving away.

After seeing this, Cameron said "He thought she was little but she's really big."


With my eldest starting kindergarten, I'm trying to focus on the fact that he's learning to read and do subtraction, rather than the larger implications, namely that time flies and I'm already envisioning him tossing his hat on graduation day and then Jay and I moving him into his dorm room, the other kids in tow wishing they were going to college too rather than being saddled for a few more years with the ol' ball and chain that is their parents.

Sometimes with all 3 littles at home the days seem so long. But then, like that, they're gone.

I wonder if long runs will ever be like that, if I'll ever find myself saying "I thought it was going to be long but then it was short." More likely, I'll say "I thought it was going to be long and then it was...longer."

Saturday saw my first 16 mile run, the second in a series of runs that will only get longer and will culminate on November 7th with 26.2 in New York. There's really no two ways around the fact that running for 2 and a half hours is a long time, and whereas I don't want to miss a second of my kids growing up, I wouldn't mind missing a few miles here and there, if I somehow went from mile 5 to mile 9 without realizing it. Occasionally I hit a zen-like state and feel like I can run for days and days, but those moments are rare. I'm reminded of the foreword to my pocket edition of the Tao, written by Stephen Mitchell, where he says
A good athlete can enter a state of body-awareness in which the right stroke or the right movement happens by itself, effortlessly, without any interference of the conscious will. This is a paradigm for non-action: the purest and most effective form of action. The game plays the game; the poem writes the poem; we can't tell the dancer from the dance.
And so the runner runs the run, the mother loves the child, the child grows up, sometimes without our really even realizing it's happening. Not yet though...not yet. I'm still running in circles, acutely aware of this race I'm running, every single mile and milestone, trying to be grateful and thankful for the gift that is my health, my children, my life.


satterly said...

What a beautiful post. I haven't seen that commecial - but you described it so perfectly. I'm praying for your training.... And while I think its perfectly wonderful for you to fog out on a few of the middle miles of a long run, I know you-- and you will live in the moment and take in all the beautiful moments of motherhood. What an amazing person you are! I know seeing that first one off to Kindergar. must have been hard! xoxo s

tommyday said...

As a parent who sees his children only periodically, this post has particular significance. Like a canvas trying to pull the paint out of the bottles I stare at my children when I'm with them and try with all my might to absorb every last drop of their existence. Of course this is nearly impossible. Between visits they become who they will be-unaware of their impact on my fragile soul. While the temptation to have long runs become magically shorter is tremendous, each run has it's own purpose and lesson. And like the rapid growth of your children, the edges of which time works to blur and fade, even the toughest runs will grow distant in your mind and you will wonder why you ever thought it was so tough. So immerse yourself in each run just as you do each moment with your kids and try to appreciate how all great things are too fleeting.