“Feet on ground. Heart in hands."-- Jann Arden
When the song "Good Mother" popped up on my iPod, somewhere around kilometre 12 of my 23K run this morning, it got me thinking about my own mother. Though she is not a runner herself, she has taught me a lot about running. For example:
Small steps: My Mom often tells me she named me for Saint Theresa of Lisieux because she is the saint of “the little way”. I have been known to complain to my Mom that it’s not a very inspiring reason to pick your daughter’s name. But I get what she’s saying. For most of us, it’s the cumulative small acts – the daily kindnesses, tiny sacrifices and quiet acceptance – that make us good people. And … I hope this isn’t too shallow … the running life is all about the little decisions you make, too. Forcing yourself out the door when you’d really rather stay inside. Ignoring small aches and pains. Pushing yourself to go just a little faster or a little further. Still, it does make me wonder what kind of runner I’d be if she named me “Flo Jo” …
Keep your eyes on the horizon: My Mom is a life-long, dedicated birder. After years spent on walks with her, I’m attuned to flashes of colour in the forest, interesting bird calls and distinctive flight patterns. Though I’m nowhere near as skilled as she is at identifying birds, I love being outdoors. And seeing a heron fishing by the river, a hawk making precise circles in the sky or a swallow swooping gracefully across down an embankment can give me an enormous lift on even the worst run. I just have to be careful that I don’t lose my footing.
Be grateful. I’ve mentioned this before, but each time I stand at the start line of a race, I am overwhelmed by an enormous sense of thankfulness. For my health. For my family and friends who support me. For my awesome speed (remember, this is the beginning of the race). That comes from my down-to-earth Mom, who often reminds me (especially when I’m tempted to complain about my little problems) that I am a very fortunate person.
My Mom lives in Toronto and I’m missing her today – but I’m not complaining, honest Mom! Happy Mother’s Day to my Mom and all the other great Moms out there, teaching their sons and daughters important lessons about life through their own small, caring acts.