Those of you who hang out with me on Facebook probably already saw that A. ran his first official 5K road race yesterday. (And thank you for indulging me in being rather proud of his time– I don’t really mean to be Mrs. Braggy McMommypants.)
We didn’t find out about the race until Wednesday night. The deadline to preregister was Friday and it had to be done in person– no online registration available. Since it was neither in our town nor the one in which my husband works, we had to juggle to get it done. But we did.
Friday night, I asked A, “You know, kiddo… your race is at 10AM and we need to be there before that. In a different town. Are you sure you want to serve at 7:30AM Mass before that? We could just go to church the evening before, to the vigil…”
“Nah, I’ll serve,” he replied, as he sketched out a scene for a video game he’d like to one day design. “I mean– I’m on the schedule. They’re expecting me.”
I worked the numbers in my head and concluded that, yes, we could make it to the 7:30AM Mass, home to change, and off to the race. Juggled perfectly, we could probably even snag a quick donut and coffee before zipping out of the church.
So that’s what we did.
It was overwhelming to drop him off amid a sea of hundreds of runners of all ages. At the last minute, we learned the roads were NOT, in fact, closed, and he’d be running while traffic continued on. GAH! It was also to be the first race in which he ever left my line of sight. I would see him at the start and the finish, but not for most of the three miles in the middle. I’m not at all a helicopter parent and I believe strongly in fostering independence, but, even with that, it was a little scary for me, being the first time.
A. ran and ran well. At the end of the day, he earned a trophy for being third in the fourteen and under male division– not bad at all for a nine-year-old running his first 5K.
Late last night, as I sat by my boy on the couch, taking in his fleece-legged, race-shirted lanky form, I smiled at him.
“I’m so proud of you, A. You did a great job today. I love that you had the courage to take on something new and that you gave it your all. Also, I’m amazed that you still got up early so you could serve at 7:30 Mass!”
He leaned in to me, as he’s still fond of doing, and shrugged as he said, “I guess I figured that’s what they meant by ‘first fruits.’ If I can’t give the first part of my energy and focus to God, then my focus is in the wrong place.”
I sat in silence for a moment. Kissed his dark, thick hair, then leaned a cheek against it.
Leave it to that kid to make me even prouder than I thought I was.