I'm 44. I'm not a big "birthday" person. I don't want a fuss. I prefer simple to extravagant. Surprises drive me crazy. I usually take the day off from work, go for a great long run, and call it a day.
This year was different. My family each promised to go for a run with me. It was not a cop out gift, it was honestly the most touching and thoughtful gift I have ever received. Each promised to give me 1:1 time, for a run of my choosing. PERFECT! It makes me smile, just thinking about it.
Today, is Natalie's turn. She and I will run the Lindsay's Legacy 5k. She is involved in a program called "Girls on the Run". As such, Natalie has handed over her Tuesday and Thursday afternoons to a couple of amazing coaches who have taken her from zero to 5k ready. This program builds up girls running stamina at the same time it builds their self-esteem. It's a tweeners paradise-- as there are no princesses here! I've enjoyed picking up Nat from these practices, all pink-faced, exhausted, and smiling.
It's been amazing to watch Natalie tackle life's obstacles. From the moment I plucked her off of the counter top, as she was trying to climb on top of the refrigerator, she has been known as the "get 'er done girl". Many doctors have used the word "low" with Natalie. From speech, to vision, to muscle control, I've heard that word a lot. We've had lots of therapists, surgeries, and tests. Luckily, Nat has never internalized that word. This girl can move mountains.
I digress. She had originally picked Mark as her "Buddy Runner", but I'm using my birthday trump card to take his place. The morning starts with gripes. Nat could go pro at complaining. As much as she had been looking forward to this run, the reality of giving up Phineas and Ferb is really altering her universe. After much feet-dragging, we make it to the race.
We greet friends and coaches, get pink polka-dots sprayed into her hair, and wiggle our way to the starting line. Once the gun goes off, something changes as Nat morphs into a giggly, smiley, squealing ball of happiness. We ran through someones HUGE pile of leaves. We spontaneously danced at the mile markers. We skipped. We sang (badly). Nat looked at the Niagara River and said, "That's why I like running, it's so beautiful." Looking at her, I couldn't agree more.
Finally, someone said "200 yards to the finish". Nat looked at me and simply stated, "Mom, were gonna need a bigger trophy shelf". There's nothing low about that! With happy tears in my eyes, I took off in a sprint to keep up with her.
Way to get 'er done, girl! And, if anyone is wondering what to get me for Christmas, I'd like the same thing again. It's just what I've always wanted.