Jian’s First Marathon
I had written several months ago about Jian bringing home information about doing a kids’ marathon. Since October, we have logged how far she has walked every day, which had to add up to at least 25.1 miles. Last Saturday, all of the kids gathered at a large park in downtown Birmingham to finish walking their last mile. Jian has been excited every day about logging her progress, but started to have much anxiety about going to finish the race. On Friday night and Saturday morning she was saying that she didn’t want to do it anymore. I constantly question how much to push her and was about to tell her that she could just stay home, but Daniel told her that she needed to finish what she had started. We got to the race and there were hundreds, maybe thousands, of people there. Not what I had expected. We thought that we would find Jian’s classmates and that she could hold her friend’s hand and walk together. No such luck. All of the schools in Birmingham were represented, and we never spotted any child or teacher from her school before it was time to begin. So she said that Daniel and I could walk with her.
When our group started walking, she shut down into a panic. It reminded me of when we take our Great Dane to the vet and she becomes terrified and gets low to the ground and refuses to budge. Jian was so overwhelmed with all of the people there, and in her mind, everyone was staring at her and making fun of her. We kept encouraging her and showing her where she had to walk, and then just turn around and come back. She finally agreed to start walking. We got her through the race by telling her that if she would walk one block, we would pick her up and run with her to the next block. We alternated that way until we could see the finish line.
At one point, she went into full-blown wailing and begging us not to make her finish. Physically, she was fine, but emotionally, she couldn’t get herself together. Finally, we stood back and pointed to the finish line and told her that after she crossed it, she would be done and would receive her medal. So she did it! She was still pretty mad at us for a little while afterwards, but then a huge smile came across her face, and later she started showing people her medal. I could tell that she was very proud of herself and happy that she had finished. Maybe in the future when something seems like a huge obstacle, she will remember this great accomplishment, and it won’t seem so bad after all.