Friday, February 29, 2008

Being In The Moment

Sometimes I go to certain events for my kids sans any cameras. The reasons for this is because most times I am the parent behind the lens and most times I end up missing those special moments.

Yesterday I decided to leave the camera at home and let myself enjoy my son's first track meet of the year. He runs the mile and it's his second year. He is almost 13 years old and his nickname is "Flash" so that should give you some indication of his ability. Even so I get extremely nervous at these meets because the opponents are usually much bigger and much faster than he. Admittedly most times I sit back and enjoy the meets for what they are and don't get let my competitive side take over.

Unless the other parents or other team is taunting....then all bets are off.

Which is what happened yesterday. Now, remember, I did not have my camera to prove any of this but I truly got caught up in the moment and am glad I was not stuck behind the lens.

The mile started off nicely. With 8 laps required the boys took their first lap spaced apart and then were directed to "fall in" (hugging the inside of the track). My little man fell in at third position behind two opponents. The rest of the pack fell behind. As he continued on and ran by me on the sidelines I reminded him to keep his pace....concentrate....I was throwing out all kinds of commands to remind him of what he needs to do. But he does know what to do. He wasn't the least bit worried about when to "kick it in" (which means when to sprint to the finish). I found that as the race wore on and in the 6th lap my heart started going faster. The other team was cheering loudly for their first two runners. Their parents were high fiving each other. I thought "hey people, the race AIN'T over yet!" They don't know who they are messing with. "They don't know my FLASH!"

As the front three start the last lap, they all kick it in. UGH! My heart starts really beating and I find myself really caught up in the drama of this race. It feels to me like the Olympics. Two kids who are both at least 5'6" are ahead of my little Flash who is just shy of 5 feet tall. My little guy. He is trying so hard to keep up with those two kids. I want to run out onto the track and pick him up and run for him.

Instead I find myself cheering and screaming and encouraging. I hear everyone around me cheering too. And then something amazing happens during the last lap of this race. My Flash turns the speed on and pulls out ahead of #2. He is blowing him away. The crowd starts really cheering very loudly. They are cheering for my son and they don't even know him. But they are calling him "shorty." He is the crowd favorite because he is so small, tough, and fast.

I find myself screaming, jumping up and down, and hoping he can hear me. He is right on the heels of #1 kid at this last turn and gaining with every stride. More screaming "GO SHORTY GO."

The race ends in an almost dead heat. My Flash missed finishing first by inches. Literally. But in the end, the entire team came over to him and hugged and high fived him. And I was on the side, jumping up and down, laughing and telling everyone around me that the little kid with a lot of guts is MY SON.

At the end of the race I couldn't help but to run to the finish line and give him the biggest hug a mom could give to her little boy. Not for the victory but for the fact that he believed in himself and didn't give up.

In some ways I wished I had my camera with me but in some ways I was glad to have been able to be caught up in the moment.

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