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Running as One

29 Apr

Run as One 2009

I’m back from a short blog hiatus. I’ve had a busy few weeks as my daughter, Sandra, debated her college choice, but I am excited to write after being inspired by this morning’s activity. Sandra and I participated, for the 6th time, in the Thomas G. Labrecque Run as One . This is always a very special and emotional day for us and is even more so this year since it is the last time we will participate together for at least the next four years since she will be at her chosen school!

We ran our first Run as One in 2006 after our friend and neighbor died from lung cancer 32 days after being diagnosed. Felice Jentis, a non-smoker and one of the warmest and most gregarious women we’ve known, was only 39 years old. To help her and her family during her illness, her friends created Team Felice. After her death a foundation, was started to help fund research and each year Team Felice raises money and awareness while running and walking with the Thomas G. Labrecque Foundation.

When Felice died, Sandra was 12 years old and was preparing for her Bat Mitzvah. Struggling with a desire to do something commemorative, she decided to base her Mitzvah Project (a service-oriented project intended to make a difference in the world) on lung cancer. After all, my mom died from the same type of lung cancer when my daughter was only 4 months old and she had always felt gypped and sad. This was her chance to do something about it. She created and sold bracelets and donated the money to the  Felice Lipit Jentis Memorial BAC Research Trust . And, we ran, together.

Each year, we meet Team Felice in Central Park and after hellos and hugs, we run. The gathering gives us all an opportunity to remember Felice and talk about her. Then my daughter and I go to the whiteboard that the Thomas G. Labrecque Foundation sets up for people to write messages. We write notes to my mom. Today, I wrote, “I’ll always miss and love you mom” and I include her name. Sandra added, “I wish I could have known you.” Today we looked for a special color and chose a fuscia sharpie marker. It matched the bright sunny sky and strong feelings we experienced.

I love this day. We struggle with the sadness and grief, but find energy and hope through today’s event.  We said our goodbyes to Felice’s family and friends today with the usual, “See you next year.” Then, we left Central Park with the bittersweet feeling that, although we cannot share this day while Sandra is away at college, whether together or not, we can always run as one.

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On Your Mark, Get Set, Go….

4 Dec

Please forgive me for gloating in this post. I am teeming with glee as I celebrate the very first time that my children and I participated in the same 5K! We did not run side by side, but we crossed the same starting and finish lines as we added support to our town’s American Red Cross Walk/Run for Life. For more than 25 years, I have been an avid runner. Some people prefer to run on their own, but I have always loved having a running partner (s). I often run with my husband and friends. And, over the last 5 years, my daughter has been an occasional, but favorite running partner. We run together for fun and have done many charity races. Five years ago she struggled to finish a 4 mile run for lung cancer and today she came in 2nd in her age group.  On our runs, I often think, “It doesn’t get better than this….” And, today, it just got better.

While I have tried, unsuccessfully, to motivate my son to run in the past, he has just recently become self-motivated. His impetus for running is to be more fit for soccer. That is admirable, but I would have even been happy if his impetus was tv time after a long run. He joined the high school winter track team and is now having a great time running with friends and challenging himself. He used to dodge any attempt I made to get him to run—with me, on his own or in an organized race. So, when we asked him about doing this American Red Cross run and he quickly said, “YES,” I privately jumped with joy! I was so nervous about him backing out that I put off signing him up until 30 minutes before the race was set to begin.

I wish I could tell my mom about our day. I’d love to tell her how this reminds me of some of her favorite activities that she wanted my family to enjoy with her.  As an antiques dealer and aficionado, she wanted us to stop at just about every antiques store we encountered. During family road trips we sometimes gave great effort to diverting her attention from any antiques store we spotted.  It was almost comical—“Mom, can you help me with this crossword puzzle….would you check the map…do you like my hair this way….” I have often thought of how thrilled she must have been the first time I said yes to her invitation to join her at an antiques auction. My attendance was only partly to appease her and mostly to try it out. I was starting to plan for my own apartment and thought I might need some antiques. And, after buying a pretty set of dishes (her treat and favorites that I still use), I converted. I started to enjoy browsing in antiques stores –with her and even on my own.

 It was not easy to “wait” for both of my children to enjoy one of my favorite activities. And, I knew it might not happen, there was no guarantee that they would ever share my passion. Just like my mom, I nagged a bit and then held back. I pleaded a few times and then forced myself to ignore the topic completely. Just as my mom was, I’m sure, excited for our 2nd antiques auction outing, I am excited for the next opportunity to pursue this newly formed family tradition!