When your heart just might explode

Tonight was one of my proudest nights as a mom.  And it had nothing to do with winning.

We had our second track meet of the summer tonight.  Well, it was Payne’s second, Addi’s first.  And it’s one of the nights that I’ve been the most proud of my kids.  Not because of the medals and ribbons won (but there were a lot…if we’re friends on Facebook you got a play-by-play in pictures).  Those were great.  But without a single one of those, my heart would have been bursting with pride.

If you know Addi, you know that she’s not one for trying new things.  At least not easily.  She gets anxious, nervous, scared.  And she was all of those things tonight after she decided she wanted to compete in this track meet.  But tonight there was a breakthrough.  Without holding onto my leg, without crying, without needing someone to stay right next to her, she faced her fear head on.  And with each event gained more confidence.  She’s looking forward to competing in each track & field meet through the end of the season now.

But as I watched her tonight replace anxiety with excitement and fear with confidence, I felt that little tugging at my heart.  Know which one I’m talking about? Yep, that one.  How many times am I too afraid to try something new? To step out in faith? To make that new friend? I spend so much time telling Addi to be brave, to try everything, to not worry about perfection.  But watching her tonight, I realized I may not cling to someone’s leg & cry, but I do let fear hold me back.  I cleverly disguise it with excuses.  But deep down I know what it really is. I’m too afraid to try, so I just don’t.  My 6-year-old made me brave tonight.  We both grew up a little bit.

Then there are my boys.  Well, Payne & his best friend who I’ll claim as my own any day of the week.  This was their second meet.  Neither of them have done organized track & field before, but they are trying everything.  With LOTS of enthusiasm.  And doing well…really well.  But tonight, they brought tears to my eyes in the best possible way.

As Addi was about halfway through her 200 meter race, without anyone’s prompting and almost without us seeing, they could see that she was slowing down a little.  They both sprinted down the track to meet her and ran along the edge of the track with her for the last 80 meters or so, cheering her on and encouraging her the rest of the way.  It was the boost she needed to pull ahead and win 1st place in that race.  I don’t know that they’ll ever fully realize how much seeing these two 7th grade boys run alongside that 1st grade girl, cheering her on meant to me.  Or tugged on my heart.

Because, isn’t that what we’re supposed to do in this life? Rally alongside each other.  Cheer each other on.  Give each other that final boost to finish strong.  Tonight, these 2 boys thought they were just being encouraging to my 6 year old girl.  But they reminded me that as we run this crazy race of life, we all need cheerleaders.  And we all need to be cheerleaders.  We may not win every time, but with the encouragement of those around us, we’ll finish.  Finish strong.  And happier.  And encouraged.  And ready to be someone else’s cheerleader as they run their race.

This mom gig is the best gig ever.

Tonight was one of my proudest nights as a mom.  And it had nothing to do with winning.

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