This was an incredible weekend, and not just because it was Mother’s Day. (Although I loved being presented with three beautiful cards, homemade by little hands and all the glitter glue in the galaxy.) This weekend was also jam-packed with two huge events: my daughter’s highland dance competition and my first 5k run of the season.
My oldest daughter and I left town on Friday afternoon and headed south to Lethbridge for her second ever dance competition. I’m sure the hotel waterslide was the main source of her excitement, but I was razor-focused on the Saturday morning comp. Watching my kids perform – whether it’s a dance competition, piano recital, or simply just ordering their own meal at a restaurant – makes me disproportionately, excruciatingly anxious.
I try to hide my jitters from my kids, but the jitters still simmer under my skin along with a quickened pulse, gargling gut and shallow breaths. I often focus on the tasks leading up to these big moments as a distraction to the actual event. Hotel check-in – check. Pool time – check. Dinner – check. By ten o’clock my daughter was sleeping peacefully while I was running through the directions to the school in my head like a bobsledder visualizing a track for an Olympic trial run. I didn’t sleep.
My chipper girl was up and at ‘em early Saturday morning, and even mildly compliant as her semi-competent mother styled her hair into an acceptably smooth bun. We arrived at the school early (and in Olympic qualifying time because of my direction prep) and she reveled in the atmosphere of young dancers milling about in their kilts and ghillies. After hours of practice and one competition experience already under her belt, I knew she was ready to perform whatever the result.
And she was. Before the competition even began, she totally blew me away. On the suggestion of her instructor, my daughter took the stage with fifty other tiny dancers for a non-compulsory warm-up ‘Fling,’ and even though she missed some (all) of the unfamiliar steps and fell down just before the big bow, she bravely finished the dance despite her bruised knees and ego. She went on to perform above and beyond expectations in both her categories and we took away so much more from the entire experience than just her fifth and third place medals.
So, when the time came for my Sunday run, for which I had done much less prepping and about the same amount of fretting, I was challenged to be brave like my five-year-old daughter. There was a small part of me (all of me) that was rehearsing excuses for bowing out of the early-morning race, but there was a larger part of me (my husband) who said, “Let’s do this!” So we did.
I didn’t run as fast as I wanted, but I ran faster than I expected. My husband and I crossed the finished line of the race together (which was, cruelly, 5.4 kms as opposed to an even 5.0 kms, but who’s counting…) and it felt great.
I learned today I was 88/408 in my category, which doesn’t really mean much to me other than the fact that there were about four hundred other women in their thirties pounding the pavement alongside of me. And because it was a special Mother’s Day run, I wonder how many of those ladies were also inspired by their brave, bold daughters. I know I was.