Originally written September 2019.
My past two long runs have been fails. Since school has started, it has messed up my running schedule. During the summer I would start running right at 6am when the sun was beginning to come out and would finish a long run right as Andy would leave for work. To get a run in before the kids have to get ready, I would need to run in complete darkness or wait until Andy’s day off and start running later. I do like running in the dark, but I am scared and listen to too many crime podcasts. I bought a light, a taser, and an alarm, but it still makes me paranoid and messes with my head as I’m running.
Last week I had an 11 mile run that I was really excited to do. 5 miles in, my body wasn’t having it. I stopped by the house to grab food and more water… but that only added to the exhaustion. By mile 9, my body could barely take another step. It was insane! I walked for half a mile, then ran, then walked… and finally by 10.17 miles- I had to stop. I was so disappointed in myself and beat myself up over it all day. I couldn’t even find joy in knowing that I had just ran my 2nd farthest distance of my life, or that it was super hot out… all that I saw was failure.
Yesterday I had another long run- this time only 8 miles. I was not happy about running in the afternoon and it already had me feeling off. But it was a shorter run so I knew I could do it. Except I didn’t. I got to 4 miles, and when I dropped something and stopped to grab it….I stopped completely. In full dramatics, I sat on the ground and cried and called Andy to get me. When he got there, I cussed up a storm about how I hate running and I am a failure and my mental game is not strong enough. SO MUCH CRAP TALKING.
Fast forward to just two hours later… we were at Noah’s baseball game. Noah just moved up in baseball leagues so now he is with kids that are a little older and ALOT bigger. He also has been doing machine pitch for the past few years, and now it is kid pitch. If you don’t know baseball you wouldn’t understand, but it is a big difference. The kids just aren’t used to it yet. Last night was Noah’s third game… and it is the third game that he has completely struck out every time he has gone to bat. It is honestly heart breaking to watch as a parent. As soon as he strikes out that first time, it is over in his head. It messes with his whole game. Last night was the worst. He was already a bag of nerves going in, ready to hit the ball but nervous because he hadn’t yet… and he had visitors. So far it has only been me, Andy, and the girls watching. Last night, in addition to us, we had Grammy, Grampy, Uncle Kris, Josh, Michelle, Tracy, Davis, and Silas come to watch. Talk about support!!!! I knew it would be the motivation he needed to knock it out of the park. But he didn’t. He struck out twice and never even touched the ball while in the outfield.
The game ended and Noah walked out with his head hung low. We all said great game and were super encouraging, but when he looked up at me his lip was quivering. THIS is the part about parenting that no one tells you about!!! People tell you about the sleepless nights and nasty recoveries and broken bones…. NO ONE TELLS YOU ABOUT SEEING YOUR BABY’S HEART BROKEN. It is so hard to see. You have to be encouraging and let it be a great learning lesson, but in reality, I want to hold him and cry even harder than he is.
Last night when I was tucking him in I said my normal prayer with him and as I was going to say Amen, He said “STOP! I need to say something. God. Can you help me hit the ball? Just once. One hit. Please. Amen.” And my heart broke again.. but I pushed his chin up and said to him “buddy- look at me. I hope you hit that ball and I’m rooting for you. But if you don’t, if you strike out every game for the rest of your life… I’ll still be just as proud of you. I will still love you the same. Nothing can change that.”
Isn’t that weird? The words that I spoke to my son were exactly the words I wouldn’t let my own self hear. I was still sitting there with my own head hung low, beating myself up over my “failure” while I was looking at him saying “chin up brother.” Those moments are the ones that make me really love God and believe in Him even more. The things I say to myself are the things I listen to the most– I feel like if others are encouraging me it’s out of obligation or because they don’t know all of the sucky things about me. But when the words “if you strike out every day for the rest of your life, I’ll still love you the same” comes out of my own mouth, almost like it was God using ME to speak to myself.. and i hear it. I gotcha God.
If you ever read this Noah, I am so proud of you. You don’t feel it now, but every strike out is making you better. You are growing and learning and becoming stronger with every swing of the bat. What you feel is BULLCRAP- do you not see what’s inside of you? How GOOD you are, how KIND you are, how SMART you are, how FUNNY AND FUN you are? Chin up brother- you are exactly who you were made to be.
And to the girl woman reading this: STOP hating on yourself. Every step is a success. You are killing it.