I went in to check on you tonight…
You had fallen asleep again with one leg dangling off the bed and your sippy cup cradled in your little hands — as though you feared someone might take it in the dead of night.
As I tiptoed out of your room, I saw your little sneakers haphazardly strewn by the door, so I picked them up.
As I went to put them in their rightful place, I noticed that the tread had all but disappeared and the seams had seen better days. You had worn one of the toes so thin; a hole was threatening to break through the fabric.
At first, I smiled because I knew those were tangible testaments of a life lived with vivacious enthusiasm, unwavering perseverance, and a wild spirit that probably never will be contained – no matter how much time and hardships try to tame and harness it.
Your shoes – little one – gave testimony to every sprint, hop, fall, trip, crash, tumble, skip, and dance you’ve ever experienced and, while that made my heart swell with joy, it also kind of made me sad.
You are always running, son. And yes – while your inability to do anything at a pace that isn’t full-speed is confirmation of a rambunctious boy whose eagerness is only matched by his need to be part of everything, I wish you’d slow down from time to time.
Son, you will spend your whole life running.
That’s something they won’t teach you in class nor will you read about in textbooks or discuss among your friends. We spend our entire lives running. It starts off innocent enough – running for the bus, running for student council, running for your school’s track team, running out of breath because you’re laughing so hard.
But that’s the easy part. As you get older, you start running into problems than running away from those problems. You might have a stupid, teenage run-in with the law or accidentally run into your highschool crush who is on a date with the homecoming king.
As you approach your twenties, you run up student debt and bar tabs and electricity bills while your car is running out of gas and your oil is running on low. Most of the time, you’ll just feel like you’re running on empty.
One day, you might decide to run after a girl and marry her and have children and then you’ll be running a household. When that happens, you’ll be running errands and budgets and numbers and high fevers because you lie awake at night wondering how you’ll be able to provide for these lives you helped create.
Your emotions will sometimes run high and your patience might sometimes run thin. You’ll have trialing times where you’ll feel like your running in circles while simultaneously running out of steam, or running behind, or running late. Loved ones and strangers alike will question your decisions and sometimes you’ll feel like you are running out of excuses.
But the saddest point is when you’re approaching old age and you look at this life you’ve carved out for yourself and you realize you are running out of time. And a huge chunk of that time was spent… just…running.
Don’t leave this life with calloused feet and raggedy shoes, dear son. Time will steal away your invincibility and leave you wondering what all that running was for. Hold on to those quiet, still, unrushed moments as you do your sippy cup, because those WILL be stolen from you if you don’t protect them.