Running Our Own Race

I ran the San Diego Rock and Roll Marathon. I ran it with my newly adult son, 18. I ran it because prom night was the night before and he didn't attend, didn't take a girl, didn't take a boy. I live in So Cal, but my town grows red, grows conservative children, and my son isn't entirely welcome. He skipped prom, chose to stay home, and when I understood this, I paid one hundred twenty dollars each for our privilege of pain.

Might as well use our feet, our legs, while your friends are sleeping off hangovers, I said. He didn't agree. He didn't disagree. We ran.

I pinned my number to my shirt at 3:30 am. My son pinned his one minute before race start. I drank two cups of yellow gatorade, downed three cups of water and one half a sesame bagel one hour before race start. My son bummed a sip of my water.

I stretched hamstrings, quads, calves. I meditated. I centered my thoughts, my mind, spread my spiritual essence upon the blacktop before the race. My son stared into space, didn't acknowledge my nutrition, my plan, my being. We ran.

One mile, two miles, three. We ran. We didn't speak.

I was nervous. I never ran this far in my life. My son was frustrated. He didn't say No before the race. He didn't think to drop out, to tell me No, to tell me Forget It Man, to leave me with my PowerBars and extra safety pins at the gate. He stood next to me.

We ran. He turned 18 that morning. I remember his birth. I remember I wasn't much older than he is now. I remember my African American midwife with the tie-dye smock, the way my water broke at K-Mart and my husband wouldn't take me to my birthing room until he bought his stuff.

I remember my son's first best friend and his loneliness. I remember the way he hated school and the way he loved me. I remember his favorite foods and his first word. I don't think he thought about these things Sunday morning.

I don't think he thought anything but My Mom Is A Fricken Nut. I could read his mind. I could pull that thought into my field of view, hold it in front of those fifteen thousand runners like an airplane banner. Nut. Freak. But I Love Her.

That was there too. We ran. We called people on my cell phone. Actually I called them, made them say Happy Birthday to my son. He held the phone, looked frustrated, tired, but he talked, made jokes, made small talk, just ran.

We ran. And at mile 18 I wondered what the hell I was doing. I wondered exactly what the hell I was doing. It's mile 18, I said! I said it bright, blonde hardwood bright, smiled, grabbed his arm to slow us to a walk, pointed at the mile marker, the time bar, held my palm out for a high five, said it again: Hey! It's Mile 18! And you are 18 today! This is your mile! He rolled his eyes, didn't answer me, didn't do anything but walk. We walked.

Somewhere around mile 22 I hit my wall. I realized I pulled my son into some ritual he didn't understand. This was my role playing game, my recreation of childbirth, my personal sweat lodge moment, and I confused it with celebration, with a rite of passage he wasn't ready to make.

But then it was too late. We ran. We walked. We didn't talk. And then we passed the marker for Mile 24.

Two miles to go, two miles to cross the line, get off this crazy train, tend our blisters and our sanity. But something funny happened. We ran, our feet slapping ground between strides, a shuffle dance, slow and deliberate and pathetic. And a woman passed us, a women gray as granite, short, stooped, heavy, sixty-five if she was a day, and she scooted a white cane in front of her, the thin echo cane of the blind, and she wore a T-shirt emblazoned with Caution! Blind Runner! And we laughed. Hell, we laughed.

We hugged each other and laughed at our turtle pace, at the old fat blind woman passing us, at all the old weird incapacitated people passing us left and right, and we stopped, grabbed our stomachs, somehow reconnected as mother-son unit. Somehow found enough tempo to beat our final notes, to cross the line holding hands, to grab our medals and pose. Three days later I hear my son talk to his friends on the phone. Yeah, I ran a marathon this weekend, he says.

Yeah. I ran with my mom.

Birdie Jaworksi lives in Las Vegas, New Mexico. She writes a weekly human interest column for the Las Vegas Times. Her writings have appeared in many online and print journals. She keeps a daily diary of her Avon Lady adventures at her website, Beauty Dish

Family and Parenting

Cloth Diapers A Healthy Choice for your Newborn to Toddler - Cloth diapers arebetter for your new born and your toddler FACT .

Anger Management The Psychologist Methods of Controlling Anger - Anger Management is very important for everyone of us.

Born to Win - We are all born to win.

online bathroom shop - Furniture is what defines a room, just like good furniture is essential for any home; bathroom furniture, is essential to any well planned bathroom.

Factors that influence Babies Names - Names sometimes denote the culture, origin and nationality of the person behind it.