He must have known.
He must have seen that I was really dragging, less than one mile into my four mile jog. I’m sure he saw the sweat already pouring from my pink, scowling face. Maybe he noticed that I was trying to suck my belly away from the shirt that is probably too small anyway. Perhaps he spotted my dejected look as the group of perky, neon running ladies passed me from behind, chatting it up about pilates as they pranced along.
Yeah, I think he knew. He knew I doubted that I could really do this. That I was lamenting the fact that five years and two babies later, it’s just not as easy as it once was. Maybe I’m not still a runner after all.
Most runners you pass at 7 a.m. offer a, “Morning,” at best. Sometimes it’s a wave, or a head nod, and occasionally, nothing at all.
But not this guy. Not this 60-some (70, maybe?), chartreuse tank-top wearing, sweatband sporting, big belly guy. Nope. He gave me a full-on, arm all the way raised fist pump. Awesome.
As if to say to me, “You got this! We got this! We’re out here, and it’s hellahot, and we’re doing it. Forget the prancing ladies and the ripped dudes without their shirts. I see you, and we’re both trudging along with our bellies that used to be much flatter. Go us.”
So I mostly got over myself at the urging of his enthusiastic fist pump. And I slid into my now comfortable mile pace that would have before made me cringe. I got this.
Two miles later, after I had turned around to head home, I saw him coming towards me again, still trudging in all his neon glory. I knew what I had to do. So as we passed that second time, I offered first my wave, but then my best, full-on fist pump too. And I’m not sure whose smile was bigger, mine or his.
Day officially made.
As I ran that last mile, I thought about the power of a fist pump for a worn out soul, the kind stuck comparing herself to those running past.
So today I offer up my best fist pump for the worn out mommies:
The mommies letting their kids watch the third straight hour of movies before lunch time.
The mommies feeding their kids PB&J for the 97th day in a row.
The mommies letting their kids eat the dropped cereal off the floor because it’s easier than sweeping.
The mommies (and daddies!) comforting crying toddlers at 2 a.m. for the 7th consecutive night.
The mommies falling asleep during story time.
The mommies eating crazy things for breakfast like guacamole and brownies.
The mommies (and daddies, again) who find themselves saying things like, “Don’t suck on your socks…you won’t have any friends,” or, “Please don’t use your fork to scratch your armpit.”
I see you. I’m right there with you. We got this.
Pit stains and all.