Welcome to my Weblog!
Welcome to 1 Mother 2 Another! To read my most recent weblog entries, scroll down. To read entries from one category, click the links at right. To read my journey from the beginning, click here. To find out more about me, click here.
Top 5s
Short on time? Click here to go to my Top 5s Page - links to my top five recommendations in every category from Breastfeeding Sites to Urban Living Solutions.

A Marathon, And What I Learned

A good friend of ours came into town this week to run the marathon; he’d originally been scheduled to run the New York marathon, which was canceled at the last minute due to Hurricane Sandy. He’d been one of our really good friends in New York, so we were thrilled to have any excuse to see him.

Now, I am not a runner. At ALL. I have several friends who run, and I truly don’t get it. But I hear that it’s lovely if you can withstand the pain and there’s nothing quite like a marathon. I’ve also heard that having a cheering squad is invaluable along the way; having friends to scream and jump and encourage you along the route makes you feel a bit less alone, a bit less like giving up.

So I hear.

Well, Brian was leading worship at our church yesterday morning so I was the ENTIRE cheering squad for my friend. We pored over the map, marked out the best spots for me to stand and cheer him on, and packed up our backpack for the big day.

I stood and cheered for my friend in four different spots along the route: at miles 5, 14, 20, and a couple blocks before the finish line. He looked fantastic at mile 5 and great at mile 14, but I’d been warned by my local friends that mile 20 was the infamous “Dolly Parton Hills”. Use your imagination as to why they’re so named. So I headed there knowing my friend would need some encouragement, some water, and some sort of magic something to keep him going.

I stood right before the twin hills holding my big sign, with a bottle of water ready. As soon as I knew he’d seen me, I rolled up the sign, threw on my backpack, and ran forward to give him the water. “How are you doing?” I asked.

“I’m not so sure about this,” he replied. “I’m really hurting.”

Now, here is where that magic would come in handy. Some sort of perfect Mommy words of encouragement and uplifting-ness to spur him on and keep him going. But lest we forget, I’ve never done ANYTHING like this and had NO idea what to say. I swallowed my first impulse (more on that later) and said, “Ok, listen, this is uncharted territory here (he’d never run more than 20 miles before) but I know you can do this. I know you can.” I began jogging alongside him, saying whatever came into my head, and I ran both hills next to him in my jeans and backpack, talking nonstop and bolstering him up. The path eventually narrowed and I dropped back and moved on to my final spot at the finish line.

I parked myself a couple blocks from the finish line and stood cheering people on, waiting for my friend. I began telling people, “Listen, you only have two more blocks! You can do this! Just to the top of that hill and then down the hill to the finish line.” After saying it a few times, I had one runner shout back, “Thanks! It helps to hear the truth!”

Puzzled, I looked at the guy standing next to me. “People have been saying stupid stuff the whole race, like, ‘Last hill!’ or ‘You’re almost there!’ and it doesn’t help. What helps a runner is knowing what’s coming up so you can prepare.” I thought about this.

So my friend finished, and did fantastic. After he’d cooled down and we were on our way back home, he started talking about the Dolly Parton Hills, how he’d hit The Wall just before there.

I laughed. “I know! You said, ‘I’m really hurting,’ and I thought, ‘Of course you’re hurting, you’re running a f$#@ing marathon!’”

My friend snorted with laughter. “Oh, how I would’ve loved to have heard that!” And then he sobered up. “But thanks for running those hills with me. Thanks for getting me through them.”

And here is the point of this whole story – that I realized that sometimes we can’t make a bad situation any prettier than it really is for our kids. Sometimes they don’t need it softened, they need the hardness acknowledged. They need you to say, “Of course this is hard!” so they know they’re not crazy.

And sometimes they need you to just run the hills with them. When all the cookies and snuggles just won’t cut it, sometimes it helps just to know you’ve got someone running those $#@#ing hills next to you. Not fixing it, not assuaging it, but with you nonetheless.

And as you’re running next to your child, you say, “Of course this is hard! And you are the only one who can do this. But look – I KNOW you can do this.”

And then you fall back, and leave them to push through the wall on their own. ‘Cause that’s how it has to be.


Post a Comment

House Rules

Here are the rules for posting comments on 1mother2another.com. Posting a comment that violates these rules will result in the comment’s deletion, and you’ll probably be banned from commenting in the future.

1) Register first. If you would like to post a comment, you must create an account with us. Check out the home page to do so.

2) Constructive comments only. If you cannot maintain a respectful tone in your posting, even in disagreement, your comment will be deleted. We’re all trying to find our way in this thing and are struggling to be the best moms we can. If you disagree with something I say, feel free to politely email me. If you disagree with another reader’s posting, you’re welcome to kindly post in reply. Vitriolic diatribes will be deleted. This site is about encouraging and supporting, not tearing down and chastising.

3) Questions welcomed. If an entry raises a question, you’re welcome to email me directly or post it. Keep in mind that postings will result in public replies by strangers and not just me.

4) Don’t steal. All original writings contained within this website are under copyright protection. If you link to us, please credit us as your source and provide a link back to our website. If you're interested in using an excerpt in published material, please contact us.

5) Share your photos! We'd love to have photos from our registered readers to show on our home page under "Maddie's friends". Email us a jpeg of your little one's best photo to photos@1mother2another.com. Please, no photos from professional photographers which fall under copyright protection.