My Baby, the Runner

It’s an exciting week in our house.  Our baby, the runner, who is 18, was All Sectional at the Cross Country meet this past weekend.  She will be going to her 3rd State Cross Country meet this weekend along with the boys and girls varsity team.  It’s a nice way to end her senior year in Cross Country.

Was it really just 18 years ago that she was being baptized along with her twin sister?  My baby, the runner, is the baby that is crying in this picture.  When you have more than one kid, it is a fact of life that at least one will always either be crying or angry in every family picture.

This has me reflecting on this experience in our lives.  You see, I was skeptical when she came to us before her freshman year with the decision to be on the Cross Country team rather than in Marching Band.  She had, after all, invested a lot of time with music both on the piano (since Kindergarten) and with her alto saxophone (through middle school) which she had named, Stella.

She had never participated in any sport.  And now she wanted to be on a high school sports team?  We hadn’t had any other kid participate in high school sports.  And, while my husband is very athletic, none of the rest of us had ever shown any athletic ability.

Here is my baby, the runner, when she was 4 years old.

There was more to add to my skepticism.  This child was born with an eye condition that, over the years, has required her to undergo 7 eye surgeries.  She has NO depth perception.  She essentially couldn’t see well enough to open her eyes for the first 6 months of her life.  As a result, her gross motor skills were greatly delayed.  She never sat up and didn’t walk until she was over 18 months old.  She was very tiny and didn’t even make it ONTO the growth chart until she was in high school.

Here are my kids with my (at the time, future) son-in-law.  My baby, the runner, is on the far left.  Oh, those gawky, middle school years are tough.

So, you can see that I was doubtful about this decision that my baby, the runner, was making.  But we talked about it, and the final decision was hers.  And she decided to go for it.  She really wanted to have the team experience.

Here is a great shot of my baby, the runner’s, way of warming up at the starting line immediately prior to every race.

Just goes to show you that parents don’t have all the answers.  Raising children does not, unfortunately, come with a manual or handbook.  Much of parenting is by instinct or gut.  Something told me to hold back and let her make her decision, sink or swim.

The result.  We have an athlete in our home.  One who has been good enough to be on the varsity Cross Country team for 4 years and to make it to State 3 times.  The bottom line - it’s all about the process not the product.  My baby, the runner, has learned about being on a team and about successes and failures.  We have learned that it’s okay to let go and let your kids make their own decisions in spite of doubts and fears.

Life lessons for all of us.

My baby, the runner, on her 18th birthday.  She’s a beautiful and accomplished young woman.  She is no longer the smallest of our 5 girls, and she no longer needs to wear glasses unlike 5 of us.  Kinda ironic, isn’t it?

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