Life is about self-discovery. A few days ago, I discovered what it’s like to be the parent of an athlete. The sacrifice and joy of seeing your children excel in a gift you weren’t certain that they had until it manifests right before your astonished eyes.

Checking into a hotel with children is an absolute joy. The excitement of going to a new place. The excitement of sleeping in a new bed (after Mommy checked for bedbugs). They giggled so much and were so excited that I thought I was going to have to give them Valium.

We got up the next day and their coach wanted them at the stadium immediately. They hadn’t eaten breakfast so we gave them a banana and then off we went at 8:15 a.m. in the morning. Parking was crazy but we found a spot. We were not prepared. The sun in Florida is brutal. The UV rays could kill you if you’re caught without protection. I asked their father to please get the umbrellas from his car. I was only in the bleaches 20 minutes and my clothes were soaked and my feet were baked. He returned with huge umbrellas that provided some relief but next time I’ll be prepared. I will buy a tent and make sure it’s “user friendly.” My children WILL have breakfast. I will have a cooler with ice, cold fruit, water, juice and any other amenities that can keep us hydrated and cool.
K+M didn’t run until 1:00 p.m. It was the 1500 meter or 1 mile race. By that time they were hot, hungry and miserable. Mamush placed 5th for his age group and we’re still waiting for the official word about Kayamo because the computer didn’t record his time and they had to review the video . . . . Talk about frustration.

After being fed and hydrated, we waited for the next race . . . the 800 meter or 1/2 mile that occurred some three hours later. The coach admonished Mamush during the one mile race for not having a “killer instinct” to “close the race” at the end. I wish you could have witnessed it; at least 100 kids running in the 800 meter race. Kayamo won first place in his division. And then came the second race. Mamush was leading and then another young man sprinted ahead. His coach advised him to sprint when he reached the 200 meter mark. I was down from the stands as close to the 200 meter mark as possible yelling “Sprint, Mamush!! Sprint!!” His dad and coach were at the other end of the stadium saying the same thing. The runners turned the corner and Mamush picked up speed and flew past the young man. The crowd roared. Oh, what a sight to see. What a sight to see.

When Mamush returned to us, sweating, panting, I asked the coach “Is that enough killer instinct for you, Coach?” He just smiled and said, “Yeah, mommy it is.”

My sons are both now, one step away from getting to the Junior Olympics. We return to Jacksonville in 2 weeks for the State Qualifying race. And if they win, it’s on to New Orleans. It’s almost surreal to go from being childless to having two magnificent sons who represent more than I could ever imagine. I’m going to continue to enjoy the journey I’m having with K+M. And in doing so, I’m falling more and more in love with Life as well.