Prompt for December 17: Family: Recall a special moment with your family from 2011. Describe in detail what you want to remember about this memory forever.
It seems natural to pick our trip to Alaska as a special family memory. The raft float down the eagle preserve would be easy to cite. It was just us and the guide floating down the river where bald eagles were as common as pigeons in New York City. But there’s a certain dishonesty in that answer.
Have you ever seen a movie where they time shift back to the 50′s or 60′s and a dorky dad in square-rimmed glasses is driving his family on a long road trip that meets his interests without consideration of the other family members? The next scene usually involves one of those children from the back of the car, presented as mal-adjusted adult who has issues that can be linked backed their quirky parents? That’s us. I’m that dad. The one who makes his family do off-center things in the name of family adventure.
The truth is that my favorite family memories in 2011 occurred near the finish lines of races.
Mission Gorge Trail Run
The last quarter-mile of the Mission Gorge Trail run in San Diego had a very small river crossing followed by a meaty track of mud. I was fried near the end of a very difficult 15K trail run when I passed through that unremarkable section of the course.
My wife and daughter also had to make that passage as part of their 5K race. Several days later, the pictures arrived and I fell head over heels for the photo of my wife taken after she splashed through the cold stream in her brand new shoes. She’s very tactile and does not like mud. She also doesn’t like cold wet feet. It was a classic picture of her blowing through obstacles, as she does. Our family room has a famed 8×10 picture and a 5×7 picture of her making that transition. I feel a sense of pride in her and her journey towards bettering herself as an athlete. As I think about this more and more I realized that we have in our guest room, a framed 16×20 poster of The Child crossing a bridge during that same course the year before.
After I finished the race, I looked around for The Child, picked up water as well as a banana and headed back to the finish line, just in time to see her coming up to the finish line. I was so incredibly proud of her. I don’t know how to describe how it felt. When I left her that morning, she was asleep in bed. Now she was sweaty, out of breath, yet so incredibly strong and beautiful. I gave her the bottle of my water then we went to get her some nutrition. After that, we waited for her mother to cross the finish line.
I just signed up for the Mission Gorge run for 2012. I know that I am not going to get The Child to run it again. As she gets older, she is learning to say “Heck No” to things that she doesn’t want to do. That’s healthy.
Good thing is, I have my memories.