I had an emotional Sunday and the tears still swell up from time to time, but I want to write today about being a mother. Just as an FYI, I’m going to be waxing rhapsodic about my fabulous daughter, so if you were expecting something about writing or NaNo related,…sorry. Maybe tomorrow.
My lovely daughter ran her first full 26.2 mile marathon on Sunday in NYC. She’s run half marathons but never a full 26-er and one so grueling as the 5 borough trek. The marathon came on the heels of the terror attack that hit lower Manhattan last week and as a mama bear, my gut reaction was to tell her not to run it. I didn’t. I knew it would do no good if I did.
Let me ‘esplain.
My daughter is brave, brilliant, and beautiful. She’s also kind and considerate to all she meets and all she knows. She is civic minded, opinionated but fair, and is able to express her views in an articulate, sensible, opinion-swaying manner. Saying that, the girl has a backbone forged in titanium and is no body’s fool, doormat, or patsy. If I tried to get her not to run it would have been an effort in utter futility.
When she decided to run the NYC marathon as a fundraiser for Planned Parenthood I was several things. Proud was the first and most overwhelming. But I was also a nervous mama. My husband ran the NYC marathon 150 years ago ( heehee! Not quite, but it feels like it sometimes) so I knew how arduous the race course was. Add in that the weather in NYC on Sunday was horrendous – a chilly drizzly mist ALL DAY LONG accompanied by some spells of torrential rain, and I was worried about her health and well being. My nerves got the better of me on several occasions and I had to talk myself off a ledge or wind up in the medical tent myself – and I wasn’t running! My concerns about her health are not just nervous Nelly ones. This is the child who was born with an initial Apgar of 0, then 2 because she’d been laying on her umbilical cord and no one knew. This is the tween who was involved in a horrific car crash with me when she was 11 and had flashbacks for years about it and her injuries. And this is the young woman who lost more than half her blood when she suffered 2 arterial tears from a routine tonsillectomy.
I had my concerns for her health and safety, and baby, they were valid.
When she crossed the finish line and her friends and I all found our way to one another I completely lost it. I’m not the crier in my family – I’m the one who stays strong and focused when all others around me a bawling. Not this time. I actually think strangers thought I was having a nervous breakdown when they passed us. All of the emotions I’d been holding in for the days leading up to the marathon – worry about another terror attack, concern about would she be able to finish the race, would she have any physical problems or injuries( 26 miles, folks!), how was she feeling mentally while she did this challenging thing…All of the worry, concern, dread, and yes, terror, leached out in full-blown cry fest.
It was a release. A real release. Was I embarrassed? No. Was I afraid of being made fun of by strangers? Hell, no. What I was was relieved and so stratospherically proud of my little girl ( who, btw does not like being called that!) that I simply couldn’t contain myself. She didn’t mind the tears. It was a release for her too! She finished in the time she’d predicted, upright, and had done it for a cause that is near and dear to her soul. Without any undue or long-lasting injuries.
I’ve made many child-rearing mistakes during my daughter’s life. Said things I could cut my tongue out today for. Put undue and sometimes insurmountable expectations on her for achievement. Mistakes that, when I think about them today, should have forced this lovely creation to the dark side.
And still, with all those mistakes, she managed to grow toward the light, into the most wonderful person I know, and my daily inspiration in how to live a good, caring, open-minded life.
Sunday, I was reminded why I wanted so badly to be a mom in the years before I was one, why I wished every night to be a good one, and prayed for a child of my heart.
And boy, wasn’t I the lucky one to get my wish…