It’s day two of thirty days of what I’m thankful for and I’m already a day behind. Seems to be my life these days, a day late and a dollar short.

So, what am I thankful for on Day 2? Parents, not just mine which are pretty awesome, but all parents. Parents who coach soccer, lost as last year’s Easter egg because it didn’t exist as far as our small town was concerned when we were kids. Parents who stand up, clap their hands and stomp their feet just to show support for their pom-pom waving cheerleader daughter even though they secretly wish she’d have chosen to be a ball handling point guard. Parents who endure hours of squeaking and squawking while their young maestro tries to master the clarinet.

Today, I ran in the Panther Prowl, a 5k benefiting a local elementary school, one where my sister is a teacher. I crossed the finish line in about thirty-eight minutes, in no way qualifying me for one of the top three finisher’s medals. Of course, if they had a 35 – 40-year-old overweight women’s category, I’d have easily smoked the competition.

After finishing the 5k, I stuck around to watch the kids’ fun run. My sweet little nieces were running and I couldn’t miss cheering them on. Ready, set, go and off went a pack of kids with parents mixed in to chaperone and offer encouragement. Mary Ella took off with a group of her kindergarten classmates while Naomi zig zagged running along side her Daddy.

Mary Ella sped towards the end like a rocket crossing the finish line in less than 10 minutes. To be quite honest, I was pretty shocked. Mary Ella is a girlie girl who at just six years old accessorizes her outfits and dreams of living in New York City, shopping and eating Chinese food, financed by her career as a rock star. I just didn’t think she had it in her to run like the wind for a whole mile. Naomi grinned like a Cheshire Cat as she crossed the finish line holding her Daddy’s hand. I knew she’d finish. She’d been asking all morning when it was time to run.

When the last little runner crossed the finish line decked out in their yellow and black Panther Prowl t-shirt, the crowd began to thin. That was until we noticed a teeny tiny little bright yellow dot in the distance. The youngest of the runners had not quite finished. A police car was following this miniature marathoner, her Daddy right by her side. The crowd learned her name was Sadie and we began to chant encouragement to this little darling. She looked for a moment like she might burst into tears, her little legs giving out, but when she realized we were chanting her name, a smiled spread across her face. The guys in charge quickly put up the finish line again and little Sadie broke through completing the Fun Run.

Sadie’s parents let her learn a valuable lesson today. Her dad could have picked her up running the short mile with her in his arms. Shoot, I might could’ve myself. She couldn’t weigh twenty pounds soaking wet. Instead of grabbing Sadie’s hand and running with her the last few feet, her mom could have let her stop short of the finish line.

Sadie may not realize it but today her Mom and Dad taught her to finish the race, even if you feel like giving up, even if you don’t think you can, even if you are dead last. Finish the race. Mom and Dad will be there cheering you on holding your hand.

Today, I’m thankful that on days when this healthy living thing gets tiresome, when I want to give up and eat my weight in cupcakes and cookies and cream ice cream, and when I want to lay my big old butt on the coach instead of hitting the pavement for an evening run, I’ve got parents running alongside me encouraging me to finish the race.

Maybe they’re not technically running but you get my drift.

Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.image