Girlhood. Momhood. Lifehood.
Insights on navigating the craziness of life with young kids one — “large coffee with skim please” — day at a time.

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Going for Gold

March 17th, 2008

On the eve of my son’s 5th birthday he announced, “Mommy, I love you even more than toys.” This profound statement came as he was eating pasta at the kitchen table, bobbing his head, pretending he was a bird eating worms off the ground.

Gosh, I love that kid.

With the anticipation of his birthday, I’ve been feeling quite sentimental lately. Was it really five years ago that I spent 31 hours in labor? (that sounds much worse than it actually was, by the way). Was it five years ago that I spent many a blissful spring afternoon on our back porch with a warm, snuggly baby boy asleep on my shoulder? I was thinking about this the other day as I joined my husband in watching a special on The Top 50 Most Inspirational Sports Moments. Not much of a sports aficionado, I hadn’t heard of many of the moments they highlighted. But there was one in particular that got to me…

At the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, a British runner by the name of Derek Redmond was running in the 400 meter semifinals. Plagued by injuries at the last Olympic Games and years of foot surgeries that followed, this was finally his moment to go for a medal. As the race started, he was off like a shot, with 65,000 fans in the stadium watching. But shortly into the race - snap. His hamstring goes and he suddenly halts, grabbing his leg and wincing in pain. He kneels down on the track, head in his hands. The race, for him, was clearly over.

After a few moments on the ground though, suddenly he pulls himself up and starts to hobble down the track. With a pained and determined look on his face and eyes fixed ahead, he waves off medics and officials that rush to help him. You realize then he’s headed for the finish line. One excruciating hop at a time.

The crowded stadium is now on their feet, cheering. And one man, a father, dressed simply in a baseball cap, t-shirt and shorts, is now racing down dozens of stadium steps toward the field. With no security access, he leaps past guards and runs to catch up with his son on the track. Derek turns and realizes that his father has just joined him. He puts his arm across his dad’s shoulders. His father holds him up around the waist as he clears the way through the barrage of cameras in front of them. They hobble together over the finish line, Derek is sobbing.

Oh yeah, there were some tissues needed after that clip.

Anyone would be impressed with Derek’s determination, but all I can think about is his dad. He didn’t think, he didn’t wait. He just did what he needed to do. In a stadium of 65,000 people and the world watching on TV, there was no one that Derek needed at that moment more than his dad.

So as my son blew out the big “5″ candle on his birthday cake, I’m thinking about what tremendous opportunities and challenges he will be presented with in his life. I’m sure there will be many. And I want to be there for every single one of them, even if I have to leap over security to do it.

Because those are the moments that are truly worth their weight in gold.

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