In the Race of Life, They Have Each Other

This summer, my children took part in a summer track series competing against other children in various races. Each week, we headed over to the school track where dozens of kids were lined up ready to compete. They would line the sides of the track waiting for their age group to be called, experienced and novice runners alike; while the parents converged in the center of the track, talking and mingling while waiting with anticipation for their child’s group to be called.
As I looked at them waiting in turn, I found myself thinking how courageous these kids were to get out and race. None more courageous than my daughter Moira

All summer long, Moira ran each race with all of her might. Each week she would fall just a few steps short of coming in first place. After we arrived home each week, I would tuck her into bed and she would ask me if I thought she would ever be first. I explained to her that sometimes she would be first, but sometimes she might be last. As parents we know almost to well that life is not fair and no matter how hard we try, there will be times when we do fall behind and don’t finish on top. That said, how do I get her to understand that finishing the race is just as important as coming in first? I wondered if as a parent I am teaching my children to cheer each other on regardless of how well they do in their own race.

Little did I know, the answer was an unequivocal yes.

On the last night of the program, they called Moira’s group to the track once again for her final race. On the way to the starting line her older brother Daly pulled her aside for a last minute pep talk. Daly hadn’t finished as well as his sister in any of the races he competed in all summer and could have easily stayed on the sidelines and focused on his own upcoming race.

But, on this final night, that was the last thing on his mind.

The two of them huddled together, and I heard him tell her that he would be waiting for her at the finish line. Moira went to her starting block on the track, while Daly headed for the finish line. I choked back tears when I saw through the crowd of people a little boy waiting at the finish line for his sister . At that moment, the love between my children was second to none. It didn’t matter what place she finished in, or where he would finish for that matter. The only thing that mattered at that moment was that Daly was there for his sister.

The gun signaled the start of the race and Moira took off like the wind. Her eyes were locked on her big brother waiting for her at the finish line. Daly’s pep talk had paid off, and Moira came in first. She won, with her brother waiting for her at the finish line.

Watching them celebrate her victory together I couldn’t help but think maybe I was doing something right as a parent. I hope they will be strong enough to know that in the race of life sometimes they will finish first, but sometimes they will be bringing up the rear. What matters is that they keep trying just like Moira did. I hope that as my children grow older they will continue to cheer each other on, and that they always know that no matter how challenging the race may become or how well they do, they have five siblings standing at the finish line to cheer them on



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