Friday, May 20, 2016

I Love to Watch You Run

Back in 2013, I happened upon one of those "being the best parent you can be" articles that usually makes me roll my eyes and slide one more rung down the "Parent of the Year" ladder. But this one was different. It was called, "6 Words You Should Say Today".

I only remember one sentence in that article, and it resonated with me so much because it was so true. And I've said it in one way, shape or form countless times since then.

"I love to watch you play."

Not, "Here's how to do it better." Not, "Next time be nicer to your friend." or "Run faster and you'll beat that kid next time".

"I love to watch you play."

Since my son started running track three years ago, I've rescheduled appointments, taken time off or arranged to leave work early to make it to his meets. Why? Because I love to watch him run.

He's fast, my kid. So fast that last weekend, as an 8th grader, he qualified for the IESA State Track Meet. He's won a lot of races this year and I'm pretty proud, I'm not gonna lie. But it honestly doesn't matter to me whether he wins or loses. Winning builds his confidence and losing builds his character. I just love to watch him run. After every race, that's what I tell him.

I love to watch you run.

He graduated from 8th grade yesterday. Tomorrow, he'll run the 4 x 100 at State. To celebrate both of those achievements, I had two poster-sized canvases made of two photos of him - one running and one jumping a hurdle - and enclosed the following so he will always remember:

I Love to Watch You Run
When you were little, I would say
“This kid will be a track star someday.”
I knew running was going to be your sport
As I saw you tearing around Pepperwood Court.

You really could run like no other
In fact, you almost beat your older brother.
And even then when you were so young
I just loved to watch you run.

I told you when you got to middle school
You’d join the track team – and you said "Cool."
Back then pole vaulting was your priority one
But I just wanted to watch you run.

Soon enough you figured out
That you had some skills (I had no doubt).
You ran the 100, then the 200 meter dash
And tore by everyone like a flash.

Then the hurdles caught your eye
And you decided to give those a try.
Soon you could not be outdone
So I watched you hurdle and run.

Last year you started with One Motion
And with your coaches’ help you got the notion
That running really is your thing
And you have quite a lot to bring.

Come 8th grade track season you were stoked
Your competition in hurdles you totally smoked.
Your relay team beat most everyone
Oh how I love to watch you guys run.

Now on top of being a graduate,
On Saturday you’re going to State!
You’ve worked so hard; you’ve come so far
My little boy has become a track star.

I am excited for what your future holds
And I can’t wait to watch it all unfold.
High school track will be demanding
But you’ll work hard and be outstanding!

I just want you to know on this very day
That I love you more than I can say.
I am one proud mom of all you’ve done
And win or lose, I'll always love to watch you run.