Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Joy, love, and strength

Tuesdays at Two Writing Teachers!
"Let's watch Mommy now!" The little blonde girl tugs at her toddling brother's hand as their mom lines up in the lane beside me. "Ok honey," her husband mutters in her ear, "let's see what you've got left: one more lap!" She takes off like a tightly coiled spring let loose: smooth and powerful.

She doesn't look like a mom. She looks like a runner.

I'm halfway through my run, and this family has been my adorable entertainment since I got to the track. I've seen both parents run serious laps, the dad run with the little girl, the mom push the toddler in the jogging stroller, the boy toddle along beside the mom, and both kids run/toddle behind the dad. Together, they absolutely exude joy, love, and strength.

"Go, Mommy, go!" Over my shoulder, the girl and boy are jumping up and down as their mom rounds the last curve. "You can do it! Just a little farther! GO MOMMY!!!"

Little Sweetie is at home in bed, but I hear her little voice in my head and run a little harder. In a few years, that could be her, watching and cheering for me, knowing that her mommy works hard to be strong. Knowing that she is part of a family who treasures joy, love, and strength.

I pound down the straightaway and head into my last two laps, watching Blond Runner Family pack themselves into their SUV. Their giggles fade into the lengthening shadows and the track fills with its usual serenity. I let my mind drift open and absorb everything I love about running outside.

Bright white lines cut cleanly through the soft murkiness of dusk. Tree silhouettes stand like giant heads of broccoli against the fiery brushstrokes of sunset. Crickets and cicadas trill soaring songs that rise and fall against the stillness. A refreshing breeze swishes across my skin, chilling the beaded drops of sweat before they can run into the rivulets of summer. And in my pumping legs and arms, tight muscles strain to learn new strength.

As the shadows threaten to overtake the red rubber entirely, I push my shoulders back and kick it around the last turn. I just have to grin as my legs and arms launch me towards the finish line. Look at me! I've come so far! The unassuming middle school bleachers are empty, but cheers ring in my head. Go Mommy! 

Little Sweetie will be watching, and she will know joy, love, and strength.
She already loves to look up to me!


  1. What a great thing to have happened at the track, Jennifer, to visualize your family a year or so from now. I imagine she will be cheering, and starting to run with you someday. Ingrid is now playing tennis with her dad on weekends. She's 7, and they love doing that together.

  2. So wonderful! Loved this slice--I'm a runner and my kids have just started to run cross country. They are fierce competitors (even though they are just 5, 7 and 9!) and wear big smiles when they run. The best part? They cheer each other on, and congratulate each other at the end of a race... Runner families rock!

  3. What a gorgeous sky! I love the way you grab just the right word/simile to bring the reader running right there, next to you. You almost make me want to start running. 😄


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