It was a 5K fun walk/run event. The annual event is a memorial in honor of my friend’s son who tragically lost his life during his freshman year in college. We were excited to be able to attend this year. My friend has known our son from the when he was a baby and first placed in our home. She has babysat him and given him swimming lessons. Definitely a sweet connection.
Our son loves anything that resembles a big party. So as things are getting organized, he is running around playing, laughing and talking to everyone. They gathered us for a group photo. Everyone held helium-filled balloons. I put my son on my shoulders so he could see. Then they fired a starter’s pistol. A small flock of white dove took to the sky followed by hundreds of blue and red balloons.
My son watched with excitement as he climbed down off my shoulders. Anticipation filled the air as well. Then the gun fired again to begin the race.
We stood in the back of the pack intending to leisurely enjoy this fun walk/run with an emphasis on walk. Both Danielle and I were nursing injuries—hers a knee; mine an ankle and foot.
But our little guy had a completely different plan in mind. As soon as he saw the pack begin to move, some running, some jogging and others walking, he didn’t even look around for us, he took off in a full sprint!
I knew I had to follow, so off I went laughing as I weaved through the crowd trying to stay close to him. Now keep in mind he is about 40 inches tall and weighs 35 pounds and he is kicking his heels up with a great stride, not just trying to keep up with the crowd but passing many of them.
Other runners began shouting, “look at that kid!”, “what a stride!” and so on.
I just knew, or maybe it was more hoping, he would slow down and even begin walking, especially when he realized that he had taken off without his mommy and daddy. But that didn’t happen.
Instead, he began yelling at people as he came up behind them, “I am going to pass you!”.
I loved every minute of it even with my ankle throbbing. I delighted in seeing his joy, competitiveness, and natural skill.
Finally after the first mile lap, my son began to slow down and even walk some even though he would start running anytime someone passed us. Then he slowed to a complete walk about half way through the second lap. He even began yelling at runners passing him, “it’s ok. You can pass me!”
As we walked, we talked. And talked. About this. About that. Nothing too important. Just enjoying each other’s company.
Then he grabbed my hand and said, “Come on Daddy, let’s go! When we hold hands we get booster power!” You bet I held his hand and took off running again.
“You know what Daddy?” “What son?” “We make a great team!” “Yes son, we do make a great team!”
In that moment, at that event, I treasured every moment. I have no guarantee how long we will have together on this earth, so I am going to use every moment I have to delight in him as my son.
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