At a 10 K race I volunteered at last weekend, at the back of the pack there was an adult and a child. The child walked past the finish line and asked with a look of absolute amazement, ” I actually did it “? The adult and I looked at each other, and in that very brief look we communicated to each other “Thank goodness, this is now the beginning of something positive for the little one”. The adult kneeled in front of the child and while holding both of the child’s little hands, looked at the child and said, “Yes, you did it, you finished the race”. The child brimmed with pride.
Six days later Barb, Carol, Diane, Ela, Helen, Laurel, Libby (first time walking with us), Lynn, Mary G, Phyllis, Rorie, Sue, Susan S. and I gathered to walk various distances on a cool Saturday morning. It was threatening to rain, but luck allowed us to walk before the downpour. Fast forward six or seven days – a dozen or so of our members will be descending on the Cleveland Rock’ N Roll marathon (and half marathon).
Between now and then we will be quietly and not so quietly be watched by children who are biological and non biological members of our family. Like the adult to whom the child finishing the 10K turned for affirmation, many of us will be looked to as examples and some of the children will need that additional affirmation.
As a group what is important to us is having fun things to do and being inclusive of like-minded people who are not necessarily a part of the group, while we walk the distance. That’s the example that we set as a group. That includes Sherry having organized the Cleveland accommodations , Laurel’s research and planning for the best shopping (Grove City) on the way to Cleveland, Saturday night dinner that includes members of other ‘clubs’ such as the Rosedale Running Room (it helps to be related to one of our members).
I met someone at breakfast yesterday after our Saturday morning walk who told me that when she started walking two years ago, MS symptoms ravaged her. I asked her how she chose walking as an activity. As she ate her eggs and toast, she told me of her adult example and how she, turned to the adult example for affirmation. What she told me mirrored what I saw in the face of the child that finished the 10K race and I began to think about our group and the example we provide.
What is unique to our example (besides most of us being middle- aged women thereby being an example to the children that what is presently negatively aligned with ageism is not necessarily a truism) is that having fun and being inclusive of like-minded people while walking the distance is our way of individually affirming a lifestyle that allows us to ‘Walk the Distance’.
Keep on Walking the Distance, and having fun! Good luck to those going to Cleveland. Bring those spinning guitar medals home!
A few notes to add:
- Marcy says hello to the group. She and a friend will be doing a Disney race in October 2010.
- Rosemarie says hello too, to everyone and that she hopes that soon she will be able to walk with us soon.
- Planning ahead – Linda and I (Susan B), are planning to hike the third Saturday in July. Anyone interested in joining us is welcome. Details to come.