Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Running in the Dark

When my daughter was in high school, she ran cross-country.  During the most intense part of their season, she used to do two-a-day practices, one after school with the team and the other in the early mornings before school.  The problem with the early morning practices was that it was still dark when she went out to run.  Now I wish I could say I laced up my own sneakers and ran with her, but I'm more of a walker than a runner--I could never have kept up with her.  So instead, I trailed her in the car.  She usually took the same route on those early morning runs, so I'd give her a short head start, then I'd follow along behind her with my headlights beaming a path for her.  If I started holding up traffic, I'd pull ahead and watch for her to come running along, ponytail swinging.  She's a college basketball player now, and along with ball-handling, shooting drills, weight-lifting, and rope-jumping, her summer training includes running.  She tries to get some of her workout done before she goes to work in the morning, then does the rest in the evening.  A couple of nights ago, she didn't have a chance to run until about 9:30, and as she was getting ready to go, we realized it was already dark.  So she took her old early-morning route, and I trailed her in the car, just like the old days.  Maybe it's the English teacher in me, but driving alongside my running daughter--offering light and company and protection--seems like an apt metaphor for the kind of parent I want to be throughout my kids' lives.  I can't do her running for her or even with her, but when she's running in the dark, sometimes I can make things a little bit safer and easier.

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