I've been doing a lot of thinking lately, probably a dangerous amount. My runs are getting a little longer each week.
And, I'm going through a phase.
This past week, Googs registered for school as a junior (11th grade). JMan registered as a freshman (9th grade).
As I run I think back to the days that I pushed them both in the running stroller and then hooked them up to my bike and rode them around town and to the parks.
Later as I was on my long runs, Mike would drive by with the boys in the backseats, strapped into their carseats. I would see these little fists waving up at me, and I'd hear their chants of "Go Mommy".
Mike would tote them to my races. He'd have Jman on his shoulders, and he'd squeeze Googs to the front of the crowd, so they could see me start and finish.
We'd go to the pool, and the boys would play in the fountains and go down the slides, and I'd swim laps in between games of "pool crack the whip".
When they got a little older, I no longer needed to pull them on my bike. They were able to ride along side of me. All three of us, loaded with camelbacks and snacks for the long 10 mile ride.
Then, they got old enough to run races. They were more of run walks, but they never let me run with them. They always said, "Mom, run your fastest!" So, I would. When I finished, I always ran back through the course looking for them.
In the early days, they would be miles back.
Last year, Googs was only :42 seconds behind me.
When Googs was training for his first half marathon, I even named a route after him. To this day, my 5.5 mile run is known as the "Googs Death Run". After he ran it the first time and began to doubt his abilities to run the race.
Every day I run or swim or bike or lift weights or do yoga or do ANYTHING, the boys always ask detailed questions about my workout, showing that they pay attention to my races. They know my paces. They know my finish times. They know the difference between a tempo run and speedwork. They know what drill work means. They know what my favorite movies are to watch while I'm on the trainer.
That's when it hit me. I was running the Googs Death Run today, and I realized that I have only a few more years of hearing their cheers
As fate would decide, this evening, Mr. Tea and I just happen to be out when we realized that we were close to our old neighborhood. We decided to drive by our old house.
We lived there for 11 years. We moved in one month after JMan was born. At once, I was overwhelmed with memories.
The house that I had built up in my memories looked small and run-down. The neighborhood sidewalks showed their age with giant cracks. The neighborhood that I remember being filled with kids, was empty except for cars lining the streets.
It left an empty feeling in my stomach.
As Mr. Tea and I drove home, we were quiet. Finally, I turned to him and said, "I don't want to ever go back there. My memories are better. I remember teaching the boys to ride their bikes. I remember them doing chalk drawings on the road. The house was like a castle." I stopped and whispered, "My memories are better."
The boys are growing up. Over the next few years, they will be moving on to their own lives.
No matter where they live. No matter what they do.
Every time I run, I will see their little fists pumping in the air and hear their little voices chanting, "Go Mommy!"