Goodbyes and an epiphany

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Sometimes people ask me why I’m such a huge football fan. I tell them that my very earliest memories are of sitting at the local football stadium watching games. By the age of 5 I had taught myself the different positions, scoring and could even anticipate how a play would flesh out.

Why? Because I’m the daughter of a band director. And let me tell you, that led to a childhood that was maybe not the “norm”. My childhood consisted of football games and marching bands and concert halls. Trips to Disney were not family events; they were field trips that we tagged along for. Birthdays were spent at marching competitions. And my dad was busy. Very busy. But he loved us even more than he loved his music, so we tagged along on all of his adventures. And as I grew up, I became one of his countless students and learned first-hand how passionate he was about developing great musicians and helping his kids become productive people. It was his calling.

Last night it all ended. After 38 years of teaching (33 at the same school) he decided to retire. One final concert was the exclamation point on a career that was so much more than a job: it was his life. And as the final note of “Happy Trails” (a cheeky choice that somehow still managed to become very emotional) reverberated through the auditorium, I stood with tears streaming down my cheeks as I applauded the band and my father. The tears came from a sense of pride, but also sadness. This was not only the end of my dad’s journey, but also our family’s. I was sad for myself. Because I loved what my dad’s career meant to our entire family. It was a crazy, fun adventure. I experienced so many things and went so many places and met so many people because of music. Because of Dad. And I was sorry to close that chapter of my life.

As I drove home last night, I had an epiphany of sorts. I’ve been struggling with guilt when it comes to running and my son. 2 nights a week I go out and run after work, missing precious time with my son. On weekends I do a long training run. And race days consist of early mornings and a tired mommy. I love running so much. But I love my son more. And I questioned whether or not I’m doing the right thing when I spend time doing something as selfish as running for myself.

But then I thought of my own childhood. I followed along as my dad lived out his passion through his career. And I loved it. Why don’t I think that Gavin might feel the same way someday? I bring him and Will along to as many races as I can and I’m always explaining to him what I’m doing and why. I’m a happier, healthier person and mommy when I take some time to live my life. My career is just a career. And that’s fine; it’s something that provides me with a paycheck and enables me to help support my sweet family. So my passion is with running right now. And that’s a good thing. For me and for Gavin.

My wish is that my son will grow up to be happy and healthy and content in life. Why not help him achieve that by showing an example of it myself? Like my dad did for me.

Thanks for the epiphany, Dad. And for setting an example of how to live your life.

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