A week before my daughter broke her arm last year, she ran her first 3 miles. Effortlessly. After that run her coach pulled us aside to share that Harper was a natural runner. We were cautioned not to freak her out by telling her that her body "got it" and that her 3 mile run was actually quite revealing as to her ability.
But then, the break. Ulna and radius.
A few months later, a second one. This kid couldn't get a break - badum ching.
I'd be skittish to get back at it. Wouldn't you?
Very slowly we returned to tennis. Only to find that her interest had waned.
Running? After not training for 6 months while in a cast, her stamina had decreased. Pains in her feet became a deterrent. And the once effortless run became laborious. She lost her drive.
Today, we revisited the pavement by taking a long walk together. 3 miles, to be exact. My intention was just to spend some solid one on one time with her, while Zane attended art camp. I had no plans of pushing her to run, or doing any training at all.
Only here and there on the course she would yell, “Run to the next electric pole!” and we'd sprint. Or, “Run up the small hill!” And I'd follow her direction. I had her call the shots.
She was pretty fatigued and sweaty as we rounded the corner to THE hill. And she was done. Moaning that she couldn't finish. There was a pain in her thigh. It was hot. We still had our street to conquer. While the hill is not steep, it IS a steady incline for 3 full blocks. I love this hill. And I always run it. Period.
“Harper, I'm taking this. I need to run this hill. I always run it.”
“But, then I'll be walking alone!”
“I'll run up and then walk back down to meet you. Then we can walk back up together. But, honey, I have to, I need the challenge.”
And off I went.
I reached the top and turned to run back down to meet her, only to find her running the hill behind me.
I knew better than to cheer her on, as she doesn't dig that.
But there she was. Running. THE hill.
As she climbed the steps to the front porch I asked her what she had been thinking.
"I just told myself I can do it. I can do it. I can do it."
About half mile back, during a moaning episode I had shared with her that when I don't think I can make it, I start talking to myself in a different voice. A positive voice. Even if I don't believe I can make it, I tell myself that I can. Yep. I lie to myself.
And that's what she did.
I wasn't sure if she understood the importance of her success. But she did, as evidenced by an email she immediately sent off to her Dad describing what had just happened.
Sometimes we have to run in front of our children to show them that it CAN be done.
She has now watched me tackle and win the fight to improve my physical health, cinch writing jobs, AND return to theater. I am SHOWING her (not merely telling her) that it is possible to do more.
Props girlfriend. Way to take that hill today.