Before I had my own children I did not think deeply about ‘motherhood’. Mothers, including my own, were full of unwavering and unconditional love, beautiful and consistent in their presence, like stars.
Long before I became a mother to my two amazing children, children who are now growing up into the beings they are meant to be, I was an athlete. A high performance athlete, and a young woman driven to be the best runner and triathlete she could be. Long before I was a mother, I was winning National Championships and setting personal best times and qualifying for national teams. Long before I was a mother, I was a full time athlete racing 20 times a year all over the world. Long before I was a mother I was a University running star and winning races for my Halifax school, Dalhousie University, and long, long before I was a mother, I was running in high school, striving for excellence and becoming the Athlete of the Year. Before I was a mother, I was a young woman, I was a teenager, and before that I was a kid. Before I was a mother I was a daughter. I was the daughter to MY mother, a mother who cooked us whole and wholesome food, and taught us to appreciate art and music and wildflowers and birds, and the beauty of a beach on a summer’s day. Long long ago before I was a mother and an athlete, I was a kid and my mother took me running one morning when I was 10 years old. I asked if I could join her. And we got up at 6AM, in the dark, and the cold of Bedford Nova Scotia, and I put on my baggy grey sweatpants and a sweatshirt, and put wool boot socks on before I was so cold. I stuffed my feet into my canvas Nike All courts and I went for a run with my mum. And what I remember about that run, was that it made me feel special, the way mothers make you feel when you are 10 and doing something adventurous. I felt special to be out there in the dark, in the silent, empty morning hour, the only sound the sound of my feet on the gravel and my breath in the air. My mum would not have known at that time, what future lay before me, what dreams I would have, what goals I would chase, and certainly not have known how fast I would eventually run nor that one day I would be the fastest distance runner in all of Canada. My mum was simply being my mother, saying yes to one small demand of the many she had every day.
Do not strive too hard to predict the future of your children—they will become the humans they are meant to be—but neither underestimate their power, nor your power, to influence and show them the path to greatness. Your greatest strength is to show, not tell.
Happy Mother’s Day!
Writing about the art of moving well and the lived experience of a life in sport.