Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Chasing Ghosts

This past weekend, the kids and I treked it down to Zachary for the Race for the Cure. Last year, Melissa and I ran it for the 1st time. Melissa really took up running and I have worked out and run a little. Last year our goal was to just run the whole time. This year we hoped to do it a little faster. Peter challenged me to run the race in the same time as my age. Well, I'm no runner and I am really not fast. I doubted I would be faster.

Friday night, I had dinner with Melissa and her friend Wendra (her running partner). It was a really delightful time to get to know Wendra and hang out with Melissa. Wendra's mom had also died of breast cancer a few years ago. Well, between the three of us we took stock for the run. Wendra is a few weeks pregnant and not feeling great. Melissa had a pulled hamstring she was still nursing. I am not much of a runner. So, we agreed it was about the experience and not just running. We also agreed that we wanted to try to run.

Last year, I was so nervous and anxious on race day. I wanted to be sure I could do it. This year, I was really calm and just enjoying the scene. We were all cuted up and pinked out for the race. We decided to time ourselves and we set off. It is a beautiful run by the river and up to the state capital building of Louisiana. I was feeling pretty good. At the point where last year I started to struggle, I thought to myself (I'm gonna do it. I know it.) So, we were all running and it was feeling really good. Wendra spirited off for the last few minutes. As we got close to the finish, Melissa checked the time. She said, "We need to pick up. We are going to make the our time. Run!" So we start to haul it and I felt a little light headed. I told her I didn't know, if I could keep it up. She put her arm around me and I put mine around her. We ran the last few yards and made it. Our time was 32 minutes/my age. When we stopped and I realized all of this, I started crying. I think we all did. I was really proud of myself. It was something I didn't think I could do and I did. So, Peter owes me some money. Awesome! I know 32 minutes isn't all that fast and I am already hoping to do better next year, but I feel like a rock star.

And, of course, all of this stuff made me think of my mom. What would she think? What would she say? In the last few years, it has been harder to imagine what she would say. In April, she will have been gone for 10 years. I have clearly changed a lot in ten years. I often wonder if she could find me, if she came back. I know she isn't, but I just wonder. Would she know me? I have gotten married, moved, finished college, finished grad school, started a career, become a mom, become a runner, etc. And sometimes in the darkness of things. I think to myself, "No, she wouldn't be able to find me. She wouldn't know me." I was pondering this all again in bed at my dad's Sunday night. It is so dark in the guest room in their house that you can't see your hand in front of your face. In the blackness, I was lamenting my inability to know what mom would say or do about our acheivment. And then, I felt a nudge on the leg. It was Lillian. She snuggled in next to me in the bed. In that moment, it hit me that in all of my ghost chasing I didn't realize that I had become much more like the ghost/mama. I mean, I am a mama, now. I know I would Know my kids anywhere. No matter how they changed. And I know that I will always love them deeply and be proud of their accomplishments. I know what my mama would think because I know what I think about my own kids.

I think I was also chasing the ghost of who I have been. I think my thrities have brought new growth and new willingness to enjoy who God has made me to be. It was good to think back on the last year and think about how I have grown and changed physically, emotionally, spiritually. And when I was running, I was thinking that I was kicking 31 year old Melanie's butt. I hope to do the same next year.


Tirzah said...

excellent Melanie! We are so proud of you! I love how you can write what you have reflected on and are willing to share.

Pete Watson said...

wow, thank you, that felt good to read.

shmaynor said...

Girl, that was beautiful, insightful, and incredibly wise. Thanks.

Jane-Ellis said...

Melanie, this was beautiful. I am proud of you, too. I did not know you 10 years ago, but I think your Mom would know you, in a heartbeat. We grow and change, but there is a part of our souls that is constant, enduring. I am sure she knew that part in fine detail. Just like the way that you probably knew it was Lillian before you saw her face in the night.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your beautiful thoughts and wonderings with us. Discernment is a great gift from the Lord. That is with you along with your other gifts. Your mom would be proud and thankful for you and as I like to think with our sons knowing things, she can know that now in Heaven, too. mh