Monday, April 27, 2009

What $10 can buy your child

T-shirt - $7
Water bottle - $2
Pen - $1
Lots of coupons from local vendors - Over $20 value
An experience that has your child feel like she is on top of the world - priceless.

This past weekend, our family participated at a 5K and a 1-mile fun run that a local high school was sponsoring. The event was a fundraiser for the high school's booster, perhaps some much needed funds for those participating in sports. The 5K was for the adults and kids 10 and up in age, and the fun run was for any age. I signed up for the 5K and signed up my oldest, who is 5, for the fun run.

She was all excited about it. She was telling all of her friends at school about it, and telling me "Mommy, I am going to beat you in a race!" About a week before the race she was saying, "I really need to practice my running!" So, she would run around the backyard, around the neighborhood, any chance she could get. Granted, it never amounted to a mile, but it was an adequate amount of energy she needed to burn.

Then came race day. She was saying as she and I were approaching the starting line of the race. "Mommy, everyone here is going to try their best to win!" I said that everyone was a winner. But she said "I am going to win, Mommy!" The gun was fired at the starting line, and we are all off. The older children, and a couple of parents, were well ahead of my daughter and me. She was coming along a curve in the route and she was saying "Mommy, I am tired. I want to walk." I said that it was okay. We can walk a little bit. As the second to last parent and child were getting out of site, she began to charge ahead. "Mommy, I am going to beat them!" I said that that was not so much important as finishing the race. She slowed down again and said "My side hurts!" I said that it was okay, we could walk.

We were going around the next bend in the route, and we saw everyone running past the half mile mark, and getting further out of sight. She said "Let's run, Mommy" So we ran as far as we could, again, and then we saw Daddy and little sister. My youngest was crying for me, according to my husband the whole time the race started. Then my oldest said with a cry "I want Daddy!" I said that if you go with Daddy then you won't get a ribbon at the end of the race. At this point, it was halfway in the race. she was complaining about every part of her little 5-year-old body. I could sympathize with her, because I remember having those feelings when I started running. But, at the same time, as a parent, I encouraged her to finish the race.

Fortunately, some of the nice high school girls, who were volunteering, began running with us. This gave my daughter a lot of encouragement. She started running again, and she was not complaining. When we approached the last lap on the track, the volunteers dropped off, and it was just my daughter and I. The announcer at the event came out to us as we were coming around the last curve in the course, and asked for my daughter's name. The announcer then called out her name to the crowd and said "Let's give her a big hand!!" My daughter was running the fastest that she could. I was even trying to keep up with her. The crowd was screaming and clapping, which added fuel to my daughter's fire. We crossed the finish line at 16:39. We were the last one's to finish.

Even though we were the last one's to finish the race, I think she learned some valuable lessons. She learned that no matter how hard things get, we need to finish what we started. At the end, there will be applause and the self-satisfaction that it was a job well done. Though we did not finish first, being last is not that bad either. Plus look at all the cool stuff you get when you run this race. A t-shirt, waterbottle, pen, a ribbon, and one of the best experiences you will ever have in your little life.

She later told her daddy, "Daddy! They were cheering for me!" Wow, what you can buy your child with $10 these days.


NoVA Dad said...

This is such a FANTASTIC post; I'm sitting here tearing up while I'm reading it. I'm going to share it with my friends on Facebook and Twitter so they can all see it. You've got a perspective here that I could never have on the day.

Judy said...

Your story about you and Mary Breeman is a testimony to the wonderful Mom that you are. You are a role model for all moms, demonstrating how to show unconditional love and patience. Your children will bless you when they remember these days and your influence on their lives. :)