It’s becoming an Easter tradition for our family to participate in David’s preschool race and Easter egg hunt. Tom ran last year but this year he volunteered to help. Which reminds me, sometime after the half-marathon, Tom and I retired from running and all other forms of exercise. We just decided to surrender; our kids are killing us. Perhaps we could join a gym or sign up for a race and get back in shape, but instead we decided to have another baby. So, retirement it is.
Instead of running and racing, we’re living vicariously through the successes and failures of our children.
Remember last year? David’s DNF?
This year would be different, we knew it. David was older, more mature, and he was wearing his fast shoes.
This is Tom giving David a pre-race peptalk. Something along the lines of, “YOU ARE A KRIEGER! IF YOU DON’T WIN YOU DON’T EAT! MAKE DADDY PROUD! Oh, and have fun, Daddy loves you.”
Ok, before I tell you what happened at the finish line, I have to tell you what happened at the starting line.
There was a long line of enthusiastic kids and their parents, and there was some confusion at the start. I was standing downfield to take photos, but I’m told that the kids on the left were told to go — for this untimed, unmeasured, dash — a lot earlier than the kids on the right.
See the woman in this photo below with her hands up? She’s a friend of mine, someone who values quality control and fairness. I’m pretty sure her hands are raised in disbelief at the head start the kids on the other side of the field got.There’s also a small chance she was cheering for her daughter.
I’m also pretty sure we under-estimated how much we pepped David for the race. See how he’s grabbing the kid in the grey sweatshirt? The one with a giant smile who’s running for the sheer joy? I think David was grabbing him to try to get in front of him. And I don’t think he was able to; I think the little boy sprinted ahead. And when that happened I stopped taking photos because David suddenly was frozen in the middle of the field, devastated, as the rest of the kids ran by.
For the second year in a row, David got a DNF. But he did make it farther down the field.
I ran out to him and wrapped him up in a hug. He was crushed that he hadn’t finished first, he hadn’t won the race.
With this little window into his tender heart, I made a mental note that Tom and I need to keep this in mind when he gets involved in more competitive sports and academics. Especially because David’s gene pool doesn’t include a lot of ball-handling skills. He will be really, really good at drinking Java Chip Frappuccinos, losing his keys, and learning keyboard shortcuts, though. If Tom and I have anything to do with it, David will be using command+C before kindergarten. Command+O by first grade.
Unlike last year, David accepted a medal. Or, as he called it, a plastic. How very literal of you, son. He wore it all day, and on Easter, too. And he’s probably wearing it while you’re reading this.
When we saw Tom’s parents the next day, his dad said, “David! Did you win a medal!?” And David responded, “NO! I won a race!”
So very, very literal.
We didn’t dwell on the DNF because the next activity was the Easter egg hunt.
My sister and her family joined us, and for maybe the first time ever, my kids got to hang out with all their cousins from both sides of the family.
I counted the kids in the photo below at least three times to see if I’d accidentally gotten all the little ones in one shot. It took me a really long time to realize who was missing. There are my sister’s four kids…Caleb and Berkley Grace…there’s David. Who else?
Oh yeah, my daughter. She’ll be my middle child in just a few weeks, guess it’s ok to start prepping her now.
What a wonderful story! Thanks for sharing! I’m currently a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Boston. You know what that includes (ie being away from friends and family for two years). This Easter was a little different because of that, but we still had a great time with the families that invited us to come over for Easter brunch.
Hearing about David’s racing story reminded me of a similarly embarrassing experience. When I was very young, my family got together with all of the cousins (big Mormon family haha) to go to a nearby lake in Arizona to picnic. Everyone brought their favorite lunches, and my grandparents brought two huge watermelons. For some reason or another, they gave me the responsibility to carry one of the watermelons down to the banks of the lake where we could eat.
This watermelon was huge! I could barely wrap my arms around it, let alone carry it’s weight. But I was an eager 5 year-old. THIS was a huge responsibility for me. I was honored to safely carry this bowling-ball-of-a-melon.
All seemed fine as I walked down the dirt hill. But then I felt me hands begin to slide across the melon’s smooth rind. I panicked, and attempted to re-grip. But the melon slipped from my hands, hit the uneven ground, and began rolling down the rough slope.
I bolted after that melon. Surely, there has never been a faster five year-old. I flew down that slope, faster than wind, faster than light. I knew I could save that melon from it’s fatal death at the end of the bank, where it would roll into the cold water of Fool’s Hollow Lake.
My toe caught the root of a nearby tree, and I fell. With scratched arms and tearful eyes, I witnessed that great big melon – my only responsibility – plunge into the green depths of the lake, rind cracked and torn from it’s down-hill getaway.
My brothers and cousins laughed. I was humiliated. My mom came over to me and helped me up. I looked at the melon, bobbing with the current, and realized that I had ruined the whole picnic.
But my grandpa – who gave me the assignment to protect and deliver that melon – smiled and pulled me aside. He looked me in the eyes, and told me that we still had another melon. Oh, what wonderful joy and sweet relief I felt! Thanks to the imperceptible genius of my grandfather, I would not have to suffer eternal embarrassment and shame for dropping my melon.
I’ll bet I felt pretty similar to David during the middle of his race. Here he was given an opportunity to shine in the Easter dash. His shoes glimmering in the sun, his parents cheering him from the sidelines – all was set for victory. But fate got in the way, and next thing he knew, he didn’t get to finish the race. In a matter of speaking, he didn’t even deliver the melon.
But he still had his parents there beside him after the event. He still won his gold plastic. There was still another melon to be had. The picnic was a success.
Thanks again for the wonderful post. And until next year, praying that David will get another gold plastic! Happy belated-Easter, Krieger family! 🙂
I had to google what DNF meant. Clearly never been a runner!!! 🙂
haha! it never occurred to me that people wouldn’t know what a DNF was! never a runner but you’re totally an athlete. your kids are going to dominate 😉
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