Don’t be alarmed, but sometimes the Cowart household doesn’t function as smoothly as you might imagine.
I know. I know. You all imagine that I am a patient, loving mother who happily and calmly settles sibling disputes, wipes up kitchen messes for the fifth time in an hour, vacuums up spilled dirt from a science experiment gone bad and cuts peanut-butter sandwiches into star shapes with well-balanced, nutritious snacks at the ready after school. You probably imagine all this is done in a dress with pearls and a perfect coif.
The sound you hear is the sound of every person who’s known me for more than 10 minutes laughing hysterically — both at the idea of me being patient and me wearing pearls.
No, our house is a messy house of sorts. I am often short-tempered and frustrated. I will freely admit I am lazy in so many ways, but that laziness has produced children who can make their own lunches and beds. The only time I’m not wearing running clothes is during church, but in the winter I guarantee you I’m wearing compression socks under those high-heeled boots.
So, it’s no surprise to anyone who knows our family that my children fight. Over anything. Sometimes they even fight over events that haven’t even happened. Today my girls were fighting over who would get to drive a car first. Stupidly, I intervened and stated that since Kaitlynne was older, she would learn to drive first. My younger daughter’s reaction was to ball up her first, take a deep breath and scream, “That’s not fair!”
Of course, fairness has nothing to do with anything about the situation. It’s just how life turned out. We don’t get to choose our birth order any more than we get to choose how tall we grow. Trust me, I would choose be be at least 3 inches taller.
While her statement made no sense, the frustration did.
More often than not, life throws us curve balls that make us want to ball up our fists and yell like a 5 year old, “It’s not fair!”
It’s not fair my friend’s mom just lost her battle with cancer this week.
It’s not fair a dear friend and her husband can’t have children.
It’s not fair one of the kindest women I know had her identity stolen and is steeped in credit nightmare.
It’s not fair my grandparents had to deal with my grandfather’s Alzheimer’s until he passed three years ago.
No, life certainly isn’t fair.
What does this have to do with running? Not much, I suppose, except to say that today I feel more blessed than ever that I can run.
It may seem like a small blessing, but aren’t those the best blessings of all?
I’m often asked when I think I’ll give up this running “thing.” I don’t know when and I don’t know how. Perhaps I’ll grow tired of it and switch to cycling, although I doubt it. Perhaps I’ll be the victim of a tragic accident and be forced to give up running. Perhaps life will take hold and force me to choose between the people I love and the sport I love.
Yes, things happen and it’s not always fair, but knowing that makes me cherish each day and each run even more.
I’m trying to be more present. I’m trying to stop stressing over the “what ifs” and savoring the “right nows”.
Today my legs are strong. Today I am breathing. Today I saw a sunrise and a sunset. Today I gave my girls their hugs. Today I kissed my husband. Today I talked with a good friend after a satisfyingly sweaty cycle class. Today I smelled honeysuckle in the wind. Today I tasted chocolate.
Today I got to run.
Kim Cowart is a wife, mother, 24-Hour Fitness instructor and marathoner who is extremely grateful for many things including Saturdays spent cycling and eating fries with her husband.
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