Wednesday, October 10, 2012


My oldest daughter Olivia wanted to participate in a program at her school, called Girls on the Run. From what I understood of it at the time, was that it is an after school running program twice a week. I was all for it, but when I heard that the registration fee was more than we could swing, I got that familiar pang in my gut, knowing I was going to have to tell her we couldn't afford it. That is a regular occurrence around here, and mind you, my girls handle it very gracefully. Too gracefully sometimes. It doesn't make me feel any better though, when an afternoon activity has to be scrapped because it simply isn't in the budget.

I then was informed that if I volunteered, my daughter would not have to pay the registration fee for her to be involved. This would require me to be a coach. OK....that is extremely funny on so many levels, and for people who know me, they get it, and I am not at all offended by the chuckles. But for those of you who don't, let's just say that inserting the title "Coach" before my name still makes me almost spit out my drink.

 I have never been athletic. I attempted, mind you. Numerous times. I found some success with field hockey, and tennis. Actually, I adored tennis. I was good at singles. That was probably my peak, as far as sports. In Physical Education, I was the girl loathing volleyball. Even today, when I hear the word "rotate", I cringe! And my feeble attempt at track was heartbreaking in hindsight. I hated to run. HATED IT! I recall going around the track in the winter, being barked at by a coach shouting into a bull horn, and being utterly shocked at how cold the air was that I was breathing into places in my lungs that I never knew air went to. It felt like I had inhaled a thumbtack. Utterly painful, and my track season turned out to be very short lived.

I have done lots of things that I am proud of in my life, and as far as being a good example for my daughters, most days, I think I am doing OK. I achieved my childhood dream of working in the fashion industry and living on my own, in the greatest city in the world, NYC. I traveled, and really had quite a time of it, before I made the choice that I was ready for motherhood, and all it entailed, at the ripe old advanced maternal age of 33. I have morphed into a painter, and photographer, and surprisingly enough, writing has become a passion. I encourage my girls to never stop dreaming or becoming what they want. That even if you decide on what you want, and you get there, there is no ceiling. You can keep going, and try something else. Keep setting, and achieving goals.

My only doubt, as far as living by example, was my lack of enthusiasm for the physical arts. This had never really bothered me when they were really small, but as they have gotten older, I began to see that I was not quite up to snuff in that category. My "do as I say, not as I do" approach was not cutting it. "Go out and play, be active"! I would scream from the couch, or in front of my computer. "No you may not have anything to eat after dinner", as I remove the bag of popcorn from the microwave.

 I suddenly have begun to realize, it is time to put my money where my mouth is. Now, twice a week, I find myself running along with the girls, that I am coaching. OK...walking quickly most days, but I am trying. And Girls on the Run is so much more than running, which really surprised me. It is teaching girls that they are beautiful on the inside, and to never doubt that. That despite what others might tell them, they can accomplish anything. Even if it's one more lap around the field.

 Talk about setting goals... I have to run a 5K in a few months! Inhaling cold air and all!! The best part is my running mate will be my daughter, and a group of girls that I just adore, and have taught me, that I too must not forget that I can still accomplish anything. I have many dreams left to fulfill.

Living by example is a lot of work. Kids looking at you, to set the tone...some days, I want to run and hide. I don't want my harshest critics to see me following a different set of rules. And I really want them to know how vital it is to  never stop dreaming, or becoming what you want. And if you decide what you want, when get there, is great, but there is still more to do, know that there is no limit. You can keep going. Keep setting and achieving those goals.

It's never too late.

 Thumbtack in the lungs and all.

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  1. That's the part of motherhood I really have a love/hate relationship with - the part where it makes me a better person, where I find I need to set the example and not just talk about it.

    Good for you coach!

  2. Great pep talk coach! Im sitting here at a desk waiting for my professor to walk in and dreading it and convincing myself that I don't have the strength to do this for two more years... and then I read this entry and it really was a great smack on my forehead. Pulling it together now (again). Thanks Erin :)