“As often as I have witnessed the miracle, held the perfect creature with its tiny hands and feet, each time I have felt as though I were entering a cathedral with prayer in my heart.” – Margaret Sanger
The collage Three Generations on the Run featured in my January 2013 Art of Running post is a representation of my grandson, son and I running on a trail in Peace Valley Park in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. The collage, made from cutouts of articles I had published and photos I’d shot, was created by my Aunt Jo, an Irish artist. To me, it captures a lifetime of memories.
I was twenty-four years old when my first child was born; three more followed before I turned thirty. Those years were the most wonderful, hectic, fun, insane years of my life. The crazy thing is, as frantic as my life was—working impossible hours, going to night school, constantly traveling on business, and somehow always maintaining some sort of running routine—my memories of those years are dominated by the times I spent with my kids.
Between them they played baseball, softball, hockey, gymnastics, wrestled, soccer and football. All four of them ran races and entered cycling events with me. We ran the Broad Street Run ten-miler through the heart of Philadelphia, the Distance Run Half Marathon, and so many 5K and 10Ks that I can’t remember; and we cycled from Philadelphia to Atlantic City in the Tour de Shore, along the Schuylkill Banks, and through the mountains of Berks County, Pennsylvania. When we weren’t running or cycling, we camped out, fished, hiked, trespassed, canoed, caught frogs, and misbehaved. Two of my sons just completed the Tough Mudder and will ride the 100-mile Livestrong Challenge this summer. Now my son-in-law and daughter-in-laws get into the act.
Last year my second oldest son was the first in the family to compete in a triathlon. I told him if he completed the triathlon, I would enter it next year. Do you know how fast a year goes? So next week I’ll jump into the Schuylkill River with Jay for the first leg of the PhillyTri. What will be next?
To me, Father’s Day is a reflection, and I’m fortunate to have nothing but wonderful memories to reflect upon. Don’t get me wrong, we had challenges and battles like any other family, but I think they made us stronger and we can look back and find humor in them. Today we’ll be together and laugh, play games, share a meal, and more than a beer or two. The grandkids will never stop running, the dogs will run from them, I’ll be checking out my daughter-in-laws new garden we’d just planted last month, and we’ll carry on like we’re all kids again. I’ll share with you advice I tell my kids all the time, “Never lose the child inside.”