Once the first of August arrives, we take the girls out almost daily to practise their cross country running, ahead of the family of schools meet that usually takes place at the end of September.
We start at the high school track for the first few days, so they can get a true sense of the exact distance they'll be required to run (Eva's age group is still at 1 km; Liv moves up to 2 km this year) and then move to the road or local trails.
As I watch them run, I'm often overcome with emotions.
I feel pride in my daughters for their hard work and determination. Rarely (I didn't say never) do they complain, and they're constantly striving to improve their performance. I have to admit I also have a twinge of good-mom-moment pride ("Look at me - modeling and encouraging healthy, active living! Mom points for that!")
However I'm also overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude: first, for my two healthy, happy little blessings who have the ability to get out there and run. When I say prayers of gratitude, I feel like God's response to me (note I said "feel", I'm not hearing voices or anything), is "Yes, your girls are healthy right now...which gives you time, energy and money to spare that you can use to help other kids." So I spend every school year trying to do that.
I'm also thankful for where we live - not only do we have access to a great track, but nice quiet country roads and more beautiful trails than we could possibly hit in one summer.
Plus, I'm even grateful for the holiday time that I have to get out and do things like this with my kids. (Though I'll be honest: I love the movies, plays, restaurants and shopping trips just as much as the sporty stuff. What, you're not shocked?) The free time will change when September comes, which is one of the craziest months around our house...so it's a good thing their coach will be running them at school! (Yes, that's also me.)
Don't get me wrong, I'm no Pollyanna - there are several things I'm worried and stressed about at the moment, but why dwell on those in a blog post? For today, I'm counting my blessings...and I'm not sure I can count high enough.