You do it, The Good Doctor said.
It'll be fun, they said.
Yeah, right. First of all, I run only between the temperatures of 55 and 85 and I just have this feeling about the average temps in late November. Second of all, I'm slow and could never, ever keep up with HopeAnne.
Think, think, think...
The girl can run. The girl loves to run. The girl was most likely born to run. She has always been fast, always been moving, and always loving it.
Half mile, 5K, it's all the same to her. There was even that time she ran a 7.5K because she got distracted and ran an extra loop during a 5K. She looked pretty tired crossing the finish line that time but a few minutes later said, "Let's run back to the van!" You go, girl!
So we found her a running buddy that could keep up with her and even push her a bit. At their practice 5K a few weeks ago, HopeAnne thought she needed to walk a lap or two but then ran 5 extra laps to join her friends who were still finishing. Yeah, push her a little.
Sure enough, it was a chilly 41 degrees for race day. I should have run, it might have kept me warm. Even Mr. Victor, otherwise known as Mr. I-Only-Wear-A-Diaper-Pants-and-One-Shirt who initially protested the turtleneck onesie (TAKE OFF THE NECK!!!!!!!!!!) and tried to get out of the sweatshirt, finally gave in after an hour and 15 minutes and allowed us to wrestle the coat on him. If nothing else, that event alone makes the day a success.
But the other success is this little girl and the joy that running brings to her and the self-esteem it builds within her. Everyone needs to find their purpose. She has found hers.
And it's even more than running for her. A few months ago she ran a race. After crossing the finish line in first place she saw that another girl was struggling to walk the end of the race. In the past, this family has been very unkind to the girls and to me. Lies were told, malicious words were spoken directly and indirectly, and the hurt was very deep. But we talked about it a lot, realized that there's always hurt behind those who hurt, we forgave, and hoped that in the process we were able to shine God's light of love. HopeAnne expressed that in the most beautiful way when she ran over to the struggling girl and, along with the girl's mother who had been so antagonistic in the past, they walked across the finish line together. One day she came home from the running program she had participated in and told me that she had a new friend. She told me her name and then told me that she wanted to be this girl's friend because she had shared that because she was heavier than her classmates she was often made fun of and didn't have many friends. Yes, she has found her purpose.