“Don’t run mom.“
I hear this voice behind me as I exit the door of the gym. I am walking with a limp from a knee injury while attempting to accelerate to a run. My eyes are fixed on the surfboard sign which was our goal for the warmup this morning. This was a common turnaround point for this early group of warriors. We were told fast runners make two laps and slow ones make one. It was 6 am. and we were in for a fun bootcamp (I know that is an oxymoron). I was slow. I soon heard the slap of tennis shoes on the pavement fast approaching from behind. I slowed to a fast walk after hearing this sweet sounding permission not to run.
Two girls, actually now women, passed me with a smile and a wave. I watched their swinging ponytails with a smile. I was so joyful to see my daughter Brooke, and her best friend Jessica enjoying this sunrise together.
“Don’t run Brooke“.
She was four or five and running in the mall. Her white blond hair in a ponytail with a big red bow also swinging as she raced ahead. She was excited to get to the fountain where her wish would be made with child-like faith. This fountain of wishes stood like a beacon of hope for young children passing by and this was a favorite stop for our family, especially Brooke, a girl with many wishes. Scott was making a beeline towards her and my younger quicker self was not far behind. Splash! In her jubilance she had gone up and over the walls of the fountain and came up sputtering looking at us with a mixture of fear and perhaps a little joy. I pulled her out horrified and furtively looked around hoping no one I knew had observed this lack of parental control.
This memory is revived as I watch her run past me. I smile thinking how worried I was at the time. In fact, I began to laugh at the thought of how we must have all looked as we walked back to our car, wet child in tow.
Time changes perspective.
Perspective changes what matters.
In reflection on this past memory I wish that I had laughed with my daughter and husband in the moment. Perhaps that little measure of joy I saw in her eyes would have replaced that measure of fear. Perhaps I might have instilled in her a greater sense of silliness by joining her in the water. Perhaps I would have taught myself this treasure of silliness as well. I could perhaps myself to death as I write this but then I might miss the lesson for myself today. I can’t change what happened then or yesterday or even this morning. I can change to how I respond today and hopefully tomorrow.
I can choose to not respond chaotically in a chaotic circumstance.
I can choose to experience silliness over seriousness.
I can choose to have perspective in real-time not after time.
If I can choose these for myself perhaps you can choose to do the same and we both enjoy the moment while in the moment with a great big belly laugh. Our world needs more perspective, more joy, more laughter. If we won’t choose, then who will?
Today I will choose to relish the moment of walking one surfboard when a year ago I could have easily ran the two. I choose seeing my daughter run ahead as a gift that makes everything seem alright. I choose to not keep regretting what I can’t change and focus on the things that I can.
“Run Brooke Run! I’m right behind you.“