by Serena Burla on October 27, 2011
In the last month I’ve done a lot of learning around here. I can tell I’ve been acquiring new information through the process of reflection and by looking in the mirror. You see, I’m almost positive that the folds and wrinkles of my brain have expanded onto my forehead for more space. It was Boyd, my two and a half year old son, who drew me to this detail. With my cheeks squashed between his little hands he questioned, “Mom, what’s that line on your face?” As I reached up to my forehead like he was referring to something I could wipe off, I realized he was talking about my new deep set wrinkle. I told him it was a wrinkle and that my hair was going to turn gray too. Unfazed he told me, “When I get old my hair will be blue.” See, you learn something new every day.
The things I’ve learned lately may be more appropriately described as indicators we are starting to settle in here in Virginia. I’ve learned how to get to the trails, the grocery store, school, the bank and a few other places without the use of GPS. My training partners no longer have to point which way at every intersection on the trail (although Friday we ran the loop in reverse, and I realized I still have some learning to do). Our neighbors, their kids, and their pets know us by name and vice versa. I’ve learned how to wash dishes by hand with Boyd’s help. I’m even learning a few words each week in other languages thanks to my faithful and patient friends and Boyd, who is learning some Spanish in school. It’s really quite amazing how much living and learning one can do in a months’ time.
Boyd is in school for the first time and fortunately he shares what he learns with us on a daily basis. Almost every night between books and prayers, as if on cue, but unprompted, he’ll begin the sentence, “Teacher says…” I’ve now started a list in his quote book of all the things that his teacher says and teaches him. My personal favorites so far include “eat your chicken” (Boyd is not a meat eater), “shake your bushy tail” (from a song about squirrels), and “purple is morado.” It’s interesting to hear what he reflects on ashisschool learning experience for the day. As a former early childhood educator, it is a learning experience for me to be on the parent side.
I can only imagine what Boyd shares about his learning experiences at home. Boyd’s always been interested in running but lately he’s been even more inquisitive. Will his teachers realize that when he lies on the floor and announces that he is doing his exercises, it means he is stretching? What a conversation it will be when he shares that his mom puts 20 pounds of ice in her bath and then we play color changer cars to pass the time (These cars change color in hot and cold water-genius until they start doing cannonballs into the frigid water and I have to fish them out with my non frozen hands). I wonder if he’s modeled his high knee drills yet? Does he line up the cars at school on a starting line and broadcast, “Runners start your engines” like he and I often do at home. I am looking forward to finding out during his parent-teacher conference next week.
Speaking of Boyd and running, he just did his first big kid fun run. He was so excited to get a race number and line up on a starting line. He chatted with the other kids on the line and cheered with the announcements. I made sure his number was pinned on and his shoes were secure. I think I had the chills. It’s funny how invigorating this environment was for me as a runner mom. It was awesome to see so many kids enthusiastic about running. When the word “Go!” was shouted, Boyd began his trek with mom in tow. The environment and sites along the short route was half the fun. My chatter box of a son talked almost the whole way and when we passed dad he stopped to tell him, “I run very fast Daddy.” When we came around to the uphill finish, Boyd ran through the finish line and took the turn to do another lap. Then he ran 20 meters and stopped at the tent that had sample juices set up- I guess this was Boyd’s version of a fluid station. I was probably most proud of the comments I heard from the volunteers on the course, “That boy smiled the whole time.” What a wonderful reminder to enjoy ones running journey and to cherish the gift. Never take a step for granted. It also reminded me to say an extra prayer of thanks today for beating cancer and my ability to continue to run. Thanks for the memory Boyd!
Yes, it’s been a fun month on learning and I’ll take all the wrinkles that come with it!