Finishing the race.

Raise your hand if you want to go back to middle school.  Come on…who is up for the challenge?

Today was a hard day for my Grace, who is 13.  When she told me about her day, I was willing to do whatever it would take to make it better.  She wanted Thai food.  Pad Thai with shrimp to be exact.  Middle school girls have strange ways to heal the heart.  I could not say no.

Grace, my middle child, has a tender spirit.  She likes to feel successful, and won’t try things unless she knows she will succeed.  She hates competition.  She does not enjoy the spotlight.

Today, she had to compete for cross-country running.

It didn’t go so well and she will be the first to admit it.   Her spirit took a hit.  She mentioned words like “failure, looser, slow and painful.”

At the end of the day though, she was trying to find redeeming values of running.  “I am getting in shape.  I am improving my time. I finished the race.”

Grace is very good at a lot of things.   She can rock any musical instrument she puts her hands on. Her jazz teacher brags on her constantly for her skills. She can sing, she gets great grades, she makes others laugh, she encourages, she has lots of great friends, she is very creative, but cross country running, simply is not her best sport.  The poor girl gets hives when she runs…for real.

I asked Grace what keeps her going.  She simply said, “I don’t want to quit!”

I was proud of her answer.  She gave me permission to blog about her story tonight. I told her I was proud of the fact that she would keep trying.   Honestly, as I see how difficult life is for a middle school kid, and I hear all the stories of what they have to deal with, as I see the insecurities, the tears and the moments of awkwardness, as I remember my own journey of sock hops and braces, I’m amazed that she is willing to endure this race.  I know there is some deep spiritual lesson in all of this, but tonight we are just eating Pad Thai with shrimp.

I asked her what she wanted to tell all the parents out there and how they can help their kids when they aren’t feeling successful.  I said, “Grace, what do you want me to pass on to all these parents?”


So there it is, out of the mouth of a 13 year old, who is feeling better tonight with a little Pad Thai and shrimp…..but she will continue to run.

9 Comments on “Finishing the race.

  1. little late in reading this; but Grace I just want to add…I like your sense of humor!!

  2. Thanks for all the encouragement for Grace. I have passed on all the comments to encourage her. She is running in a meet today so keep her in your prayers.

  3. First I had to LOL when she said “don’t let your kids join CC”. My middle son hated sports, so when he said he wanted to join CC I ran to the place to sign him up. At first it was difficult, but you tell Grace my son was the leader of the pack after just a few short seasons. You walk off the pain, you learn to breath, and you keep running. And every race is an opportunity to run faster. I have tears remembering all the fun CC was, the kids I met, the parents, it was just a great experience for all of us. Oh and Grace, my son went on the college and was a three time NATIONAL runner. So go for girl. Have fun with it. Mary

  4. I loved this blog. I reminded me of a story I love called The Race. I’m sending you the link. Please share it with Grace. Winning is about not giving up – and Grace is most certainly a winner.

  5. Grace, you are beautiful and wonderful. Way to finish this race you are facing with the positive aspects in mind. Pad Thai (haven’t tried the shrimp yet) always makes me feel better, too.

  6. I love your comment ‘she gave me permission’.
    I blogged about my 11 year old sixth grade grand daughter and posted pictures. Oh I was proud of her.
    Even showed them to her.
    She was excited and happy.
    Then she said ‘are you going to post my sisters or my mom’ and I said ‘no I have to ask their permission’ …. pause… long pause.
    She said ‘WELL YOU DIDN’T ask for MINE.’

    I was told. She was not mad but made a point.
    I will ask next time.
    A grandma from Oregon who is still learning this blogging thing.

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