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All extracurricular activities at our school have been cancelled for this year because of politics involving the teachers. As I have had to deal with the kids’ justified disappointment on this issue, I jumped at the opportunity last week to let the kids go to a cross country competition for their first time, as it was being organized independently of the school. I was grateful to my dialed-in friend for seeing this event in the paper, which ended up being a great experience for both moms and our four kids.

Ethan’s Race: It came as somewhat of a surprise to Ethan I think, that his race proved harder than anticipated. He crossed the finish line with a long face (which I thought was because his best friend had won by a long shot…which I must say was awesome!) But no, it was because he threw up part way through the race. So my post-race cheering switched tactics to: “Hey – you puked, kept on going, and still did awesome!” He didn’t seem to think that showed character, no matter what I said. (And he couldn’t fathom the concept of possibly being sick from the exertion) Thankfully, after a short while had passed, his attitude – and possibly his nausea – had greatly improved, and his opinion of the event evolved into: “It was awesome!!”

Audra’s Race: The girls ran a shorter race, but still far longer than either had ever ran before. Audra was pretty pleased with herself. I had to laugh when she excitedly called her dad, exclaiming: “Daddy, Guess What?!?! I WON 9th PLACE!” As the kids crossed the finish line, they were handed a numbered popsicle to keep track of the top three runners in each race. I have no doubt that in true pack-rat style, she will keep the popsicle stick she got upon crossing the finish line – claiming it is “special” (which to her, of course, it is)

Our friends: I was privy to a pivotal moment for my friend and her kids – who willingly offers that her kids tend to squabble, and have the art of bugging, whining and pushing each others’ buttons down to an art form. (Although in public I have seen no great indication of this) Her daughter – much like Audra – is somewhat of a diva – and has never competed in anything requiring a similar level of exertion. Despite their daily differences, her brother took it upon himself to run the race with his sister, coaching and encouraging her every step of the way. (According to the kids, she was going to stop running, but her brother kept her moving) I missed witnessing this unforeseen display of sibling support, but even as a friend felt very moved at the pictures that so clearly showed proof of awesome (and unexpected) sibling support. I just know that if that were me, this day would go into my mommy memory banks as one of those moments to call forth when times get tough.

As for me, I find that there are little lessons and moments in every day if we take the time to notice them. I like knowing that if you polled all of us, our high points and memories of the day would all be quite different. From puking (and persevering), from 1st place to 9th place, in my mind, it was all good.