By now, you’ve heard this story. The one about that precious cherub who watched as his dad finished a race that he had long been training for.
And all I could think of was him:
It’s not the Champion, arms-raised version that I posted about last year. It’s the half-blurry one of him looking for us on the sidewalk. It’s the version where, after running almost 13 miles, he’s still just looking for us. For the ones with the signs, with the shouts, with the smiles of encouragement.
Two and a half years ago, my hubby ran his first marathon (Chicago). To support him, my mom, the boys and I trekked to the city, brimming with excitement to cheer him on. The distance of walking (for us) and the crowds deterred us from bringing our two little guys last year when Jim ran it for the second time.
In their place, we brought my 12-year-old niece, 11-year-old nephew, and one other nephew. Eight years old. I remember cramming together like sardines the last half mile of the race. Searching desperately for someone we waited 26.2 miles for. Praying and hoping that they had made it thus far without stopping for a medic visit. People of all ages, all walks of life, waiting, screaming, and living.
So you wait. And wait. And unless you’re waiting for a Kenyan, you’re most likely still waiting.
Then around the corner, around that last bend, before the big hill, you catch glimpse of his hair. The recognizable orange of his shirt. And then you see it, his tired smile that he’s almost there. You’re proud, but as his wife, I’m immensely relieved.
And that’s what those people did on Monday. They waited and waited. As each runner crossed, a sense of relief and pride.
And then the unthinkable.