She slips out the screen door–scheeee-bang!
Already in the lead, having managed to escape the house
The 6 year old
The 4 year old
And, most importantly,
They’re all sleeping, under Daddy’s care,
So Momma can run.
She stretches as a friend taught her–ouch!
And remembers a 10 year old’s straddle split
That made her girlfriends cringe
Not anymore, Mamma!
Her shoes make a funny squeak–flap!
As she steps onto the pavement
The (size 12) Nikes her husband bought her
When her eldest was a baby
Were in nearly-new condition until last month.
She is proud to have worn them out at last.
Mamma has earned herself new shoes!
She checks the time and starts to run, silently
Each friend who has also signed up for the race
Joins her now along the road
She couldn’t do this without them
The cheer each other on,
Commiserate about the pain, the sweat, the joy
Voices inside Mamma’s head.
Now she must concentrate–step, step, breathe!
The road mocks her as she slowly, slowly nears the half-way point
“Even if you tackle me now, I’ll get you on the way back!”
The Doubts join her now,
Like rocks in her shoes
“You’ll never be able to run a whole 5k!”
She rallies and reminds them all–
That every run so far
Has been a victory
One race does not define success:
Each time she’s left the house
Before the sun was up,
Each time she’s pushed for ten more yards
Before a blessed walk,
Each time she doesn’t stress
About the end,
But embraces the process
So run, Mamma, run!
The final stretch–breath, step, step!
She promises her legs
They’ll quit at the speed zone sign
But she beaks her promise
“Let’s do the speed limit sign, instead!”
And from there she can see the stop sign
She imagines the real race,
The friends cheering,
Her son’s face,
The adrenalin surging,
And she zooms! (slowly)
Past the sign, pushing to the end
Mamma sees red!
Finished, she embraces the rest of walking–pant, step, pant!
She and a squirrel cross the road at the same time.
The squirrel wins.
She doesn’t care–she’s 100 yards from her couch,
A tall glass of water