I’m dreadfully out of shape. I haven’t been running in weeks. When I heard about the St. Patty’s Race downtown, I wanted to run it. I didn’t, however, want to pay $30 to participate in something for which I was dreadfully ill prepared. When I saw that the race was to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation, I felt a tug that I should really try to participate. When I saw that there was also a Kids Run, I decided that I would delegate the running duties for the morning to my children who never seem to lack in the boundless supply of energy department. They seemed excited about running around the ginormous baseball stadium with the Jumbo Tron. Poppy, my overachiever, wanted to know what kind of St. Patrick’s Day bling there would be. Charlie kept telling me over and over that he was going to be “super fast like a Ninja”. We set out early this morning and got to the stadium in plenty of time for the Kids Run. I wanted to make sure the possums got to see the presentation honoring the kids in the Make-A-Wish Foundation. I wanted them to appreciate what the event was really all about. Poppy was naturally full of questions. “Are they sad that they are not running in the race? How in the world could you pick just one wish? What would you wish for? Do you think they would let Daddy make a wish since he has a boo-boo leg?” We watched a video on the Jumbo Tron about the foundation and several of the wishes that had recently been fulfilled. One child met a professional athlete, one was a policeman for a day, one drove a train, and one got her very own pony. The little girls who were being honored this morning were awarded with a trip to Disney World. Poppy and Charlie were beyond excited for them and, perhaps, a little jealous. Pretty soon it was time for their race. They were brimming with nervous energy. Poppy kept saying that her tummy felt weird and that she was scared of being last. Charlie, who was working his way up to the front of the line, said over his shoulder, “Don’t worry about winning all the time. Just be glad your legs work.” Indeed. When the electronic starter pistol sounded, my son took off like The Flash. His sister wasn’t too far behind. I thought he was going to burn out halfway around the track, but he seemed to only get faster. His style is not what I would describe as graceful. He keeps his back completely straight and sort of flings his arms from side to side, like an awkward little propeller. Maybe he has inadvertently stumbled onto some magical formula for aerodynamics. He finished the race 20 yards ahead of his closest competition. He was smoking! When he crossed the finish line, his face was lit up with pure joy. He sought me out and smiled when he found me. I remember thinking how blue his eyes were at that moment, the way they were catching the sunlight. It was one of those snapshot moments. Poppy wasn’t far behind. She made a great effort and was the second girl in her age group to finish. I was so proud of them both! After getting a hug from me, she confessed that she was sad that Charlie won and she didn’t. I gave her the requisite mommy response, “You did your best and that’s all the matters.” And I really meant it. Charlie was listening. When they went to the awards table to pick up their participation medals, Charlie took his off and gave it to Poppy. “You seem to really want it, and I don’t really need it.” I watched with pride as Charlie shrugged his shoulders and donated his prize. (All the kids got the same shamrock medal, but now Poppy got two, which made her day.)We stuck around to enjoy some balloon-animal making, bouncy house time, and shaved ice (which made everyone really cold). By the time we found the facepainting line, we were all shivering as big, fat raindrops fell on our goose pimple flesh. Nevertheless, we persevered and waited for at least 15 minutes, when Charlie complained, “I just wanna go home. I’m cold and tired.” I expected a stand-off between them as there is little Poppy enjoys more than sparkly, pink, fairy face paint. Instead, she surprised us all when she chipperly responded, “OK. Charlie. We can leave. Since you gave me your medal, I won’t make you stay.” Wow.
I do believe I saw kindness at work today. It made my heart feel good. In fact, I asked the kids to please write about their acts of kindness so I could include them in my post. Consider them the second (and third) guest bloggers for this project.
Charlie: “I GAV MY SESTR MY TROFE.”
Poppy: “I GOT AWT OF THE FASPANTENG LIN FOR CHARLIE!
That pretty much sums it up.