This morning our children’s elementary school had their annual cross-country race, in which each grade runs a given distance outside (a longer course as the grades go up). All the moms, and a few dads who are available, go and line the field and the streets to cheer as the kids go by. It’s a really fun time – at least for the parents!
This year both Owen and Annie were competing, of course; Annie for the first time. Last night she showed a lot of anxiety about the whole thing… nervous that there would be a lot of people watching her. (“It’s different than dance because I’ve done that a lot. This is my FIRST time to RUN in front of people!”) And then there was the parental embarrassment factor (“I know what you’re going to do, Mom. You’re going to yell my name REAL loud as I run by and then when I finish you’re going to come over and say you’re SO proud of me and it’s going to be REALLY embarrassing!”) I promised to keep it minimal as long as she did her best. (“But if you don’t do your best I’m going to cheer louder than ever!”)
What we loved was watching both of our kids really really do their best. In the practice sessions, Annie had come in about twenty out of sixty-some kids. Today, as the parents waited, cameras poised, by the front of the school for the kids to return from the neighborhood streets where they were running, we watched some of the fast boys come in. And then! Annie – our daughter with asthma! She was the first girl! She came in #15! I bit my tongue. I tried REALLY hard. But the trying was as much to not cry as to not scream. She really did her best.
After the second graders ran, and we cheered for some of the children we know (I tried not to be too loud!), it was Owen’s class. In his previous practices he has ranked about tenth among the sixty-some. Eric told him last night to really focus, and to see if he could come in #7. It was fun to see him round the last bend coming up to the school. Thankfully he seems to enjoy our cheering, so I let it rip!
He, too, ran with his whole heart – and came in seventh for the first time, with his fastest score to date. We were very proud and thankful parents.
When Olivia got home from kindergarten/youchien, I was in the middle of our ladies’ English class Christmas party. But she reminded Eric of his promise to take off her training wheels. Yesterday at the toy store she borrowed one of the low two-wheel display bikes and found herself able to ride it! Tonight before dinner I went to the park with her and witnessed with my own eyes her new abilities.
Growing up without a lot of athletic-abiity DNA, it has been fun to watch our children explore their abilities and find areas in this arena that they can work on excelling. And SO much fun to see them develop into the neat kids God has created them to be – whatever place they come in, as long as they do their best. (And Mom doesn’t embarrass them too much).