It’s 8 am and I wake up after a few hours of sleep. My eyes and brain pretend to be photophobic but I don’t have time for such pleas and bright morning sun should never be dismissed as too bright. The boys are as rambunctious as can be. They move from laughter to crying and screaming so fast it makes my head spin. I make breakfast and that calms everybody down for a bit. But then I understand: today is the day of the BMO Vancouver marathon. Tony, my oldest, will be there running. A first race, and these last 1.6 km will add up to the other 40 he ran in the last six weeks. A full marathon completed in increments. He’s nervous, hence the agitation. I’d be too. I am, before each race, and I tell him so. Hugs and laughs help.
We drive there and realize very soon that finding a parking spot on the moon may be easier. A tight parking space between two cars is a welcome sight. A bit far but there no other choice. We hold hands and run. We’re far enough to not make it in time but fast and determined enough to get there at the right time anyway.
“This is good warm-up, Mom, it’s good,” Tony says, wrapping my face in a look that weaves thank you and I love you in a way that will never be forgotten.
“My lungs are burning, I can’t run anymore.” Sasha is not a quitter but his previous asthma episodes might be responsible for his shorter endurance. For now. I pick him up and we keep running. We make it! Good lesson for the boys. Tony joins in and he runs as fast as he can. I cannot be prouder. I take photos of him at the finish line. Later he tells me of a cramp and thirst, saying that he ignored both and kept running. My boy is growing, and he’s doing it right.
We go get the promised ice cream. From McDonald’s no less. A first. “Just this once, Mom, I got this coupon in my race package.” Skin-coloured cones with slightly tilted cold and soft vanilla sweetness. We sit on the side of the sidewalk facing the drive through and watch the cars driving by after picking up the food fix. We talk about all the things a mama could talk to her boys on a sunny Sunday morning after a morning run. The sky is blue with an eagle pinned to it. Everything points to perfection except for the occasional nauseating whiffs of fast food fries. But that’s just a reminder of the crooked imperfections that make life perfect. Someone once told me that.
On our way to the car we pass by an old red El Camino truck parked in a sea of white dust. It belongs there. Sasha runs all around the truck like a little desert mouse. We drive home with Tony wearing his blue and golden medal. Yet he doesn’t seem to consider that the most memorable thing of this morning.
“Are you proud of me, Mama?”
“I am. Always.”
He looks at me. I look at him. Life is good. The eagle is soaring high and so am I.