Life's Not A Race

Life's Not A Race

A few months ago, a friend told me that life is not a race. She’s right, it’s really not. Sometimes it does feel likes it’s racing by me though and my struggling to keep up has been a mistake. And so, I tried to spend this summer immersing myself in the moments. Moments of mess, chaos, loud, meals, laughter, yelling, and even the waves of emotion- all the energy that flows with four children. Though our days raced by, I slowed down and I think, just in time.

Amos. My fourth child. My darling son with his extra special needs relishes his siblings as I remember doing with my big brother. If they run to the pool, he is running behind them, stumbling in the thick green crabgrass, squealing when I call for him to stop and laughing as he flees. Though he joins in their antics, he is the observer more often and when they overwhelm him, he finds mama, his safe place. His brothers and sister lather him with affection and when they get too close to me or him, he will shout his version of “move!”

His sister, Blair, longs to have him adore her and so, she strives to touch him, help him, bring him snacks, anything to win his adoration. One evening we played at the playground; it wasn’t quite dark and the heavy heat had lifted its’ lid with the impending sunset. Shevans Park is an amazing playground, a wooden fortress of mazes and slides, steps and ramps. A bit difficult for Amos to navigate and so, Blair took it upon herself to try to lift him up one of the wooden platforms and he protested his annoyance. When I mildly scolded her to leave him be, she protested and said, “But, he’s slow!”

I was dumbstruck. I was embarrassed. I felt a wave of protection for Amos wash over me as well as empathy for his sister. For me, I felt shame. In an instant, I thought of the phrase “life’s not a race” and I was back in the moment. “He is slow,” I told her. “He will likely always be a bit slow but that’s okay because we are not in a rush. Life’s not a race.”

I was reminded again to slow down. Slow down with my expectations of the children I have been gifted. This amazing flicker we call life flies by, but I don’t have to chase it. I can take my time, observe and ponder, love and be loved, and in the end, the finish line of my life will only be crossed by me. How I played the game is what they will remember, nothing else. I am thankful for the words of a friend and hearing the words of my only daughter, both equally important in realizing the path I should follow has no clock.

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