My family’s late summer and early fall schedule combines one of my favorite things — watching my kids run — with one of my least favorite things — early mornings. I’m a night owl by nature. My name is one of the great ironies of my life; it’s a time of day I rarely see by choice. These months of 8:00 a.m. practices on our county’s greenway and Saturday meets when we leave home in the dark hours of pre-dawn, however, are made not only bearable but enjoyable by the company of the other runners’ moms and the sweet friendships I’ve made.
On those weekday mornings while our kids run, the moms walk. Individual schedules vary; it’s surprising how different the mom crew might look from day to day. Sometimes there are only two or three of us but on other days we look like a small-but-nonthreatening gang.
On a typical morning I’m slow to get ready, but not on practice days. I throw on exercise clothes, wash my face, brush my teeth, and pull my hair up into a ponytail or tuck it under a cap. These ladies have only seen me once this season on a day when I washed my hair.
Absent is the polish we’ll apply later when we go home and clean up. I wonder how often we as women allow appearance and its trappings to build barriers between us. There are no filters here and it seems to free us.
On this damp Wednesday morning four of us venture forth under a canopy of trees, early morning mist rising from the ground, the sleep barely blinked from our eyes. It rained last night so we tread carefully, watching where our feet land on the wet boards scattered with decaying leaves.
The faintest hint of autumn moves in the air. Isn’t it interesting how the same temperature can feel different in the fall than in the spring? I welcome the cool breeze in the wake of summer’s heat, feeling guilty that the hurricane that delivered devastation to others brings me pleasant temperatures and nothing worse than a gray day (and I like gray days).
Two of us move ahead, strides quick and long as we hope to cover four miles of walking while our kids run five. We are united in no other way than by our kids’ team and only see each other during practices and meets: cross country in the fall and track in the spring. I know her children by name, but I don’t really know them (sometimes I’m not sure which kids belong to which moms). Yet the details of our lives unravel as we walk through the woods, sharing our struggles and our stories.
We wonder what life will be like when our kids graduate and move on, and the design of our days in their absence. We worry about kids who struggle with the pressures of school and of jobs. We talk about our aging parents and the importance of staying connected with them and keeping our children in their lives. Our conversation runs the gamut: from mundane moments to generational legacy. Because our everyday lives intersect only in the smallest of points, we serve as unbiased listeners, springboards for ideas, an outlet, and a much needed opportunity for adult conversation which flows on for an hour, unbroken by the steady rhythm of our strides.
The one who walks with the wise will become wise . . .
Proverbs 13:20 (CSB)
We return to the parking lot and round up our kids, saying goodbye until Saturday’s meet when we will stand on the sidelines with our families, wearing makeup, dressed for the day. I know from years past how I will feel one day soon, at season’s end: glad to turn off my 6:40 a.m. practice alarms and take back my Saturdays, but sad that the sisterhood of walking moms will disband until the spring when track season brings us together again.
Michele Morin says
I’m in a wonderful season of companionship with the theater mums at the high school. Our kids have been working since September to produce a musical, and these next two weekends will be all about the performances, cheering for our stars, and selling goodies in the concession stand during intermission. We have great conversations that only improve with the passing of days, and some of us have been doing this for a long time because of older children, so we just pick up where we left off. There’s a special collegiality among women who are supporting their kids’ activities, and it’s such a gift!
Dawn Camp says
I love this Michelle: “there’s a special collegiality among women who are supporting their kids’ activities.” So true! It sounds like you’ve found a great group to do life with and share this unique experience.
Darlean Tipke-Kane says
This is lovely and poignant. My daughter is named Dawn. I am not so young, but your message for women
was healing. Collegiality is a brilliant word. Blessings and peace to you.
Dawn Camp says
Thank you, Darlene. I’ll bet your daughter was also called Donna a lot growing up. 🙂 Thank you for sharing.
Mine is being part of a small group of moms who serve dinner for our Varsity football team each Friday night. I’ve been blessed to be part of this “sisterhood” for two years. My son is a senior and tonight is round one of the state playoffs. If we lose then this will be the end of a huge part of our lives. I will miss the ladies I’ve served with and the sharing of our common thread which is our fierce love for these young men we call sons!
Dawn Camp says
Misty, I truly hope I’ve given you extra reason to appreciate this day, but I also hope—for your, your son’s, and your Varsity moms’ sake—this your season doesn’t end tonight!
In the past I have found my sisterhood with soccer Moms. During our children’s practices we walk around the 3 soccer fields talking about our lives, children’s behaviors, etc. I know from past experience how it feels to be left out so I invited any Mom sitting on the bleachers to join in our walk. Heck, I even asked a Dad or two to join us and they did! I thank God for the past seasons I have been in that have taught me how to invite others because I was left out. He is at work always and for good. Soon, I will be in the sisterhood of watching ice hockey games.
Dawn Camp says
Amy, it’s great that when one of your sisterhood groups ends, another will begin, and I love the way you’ve made others feel included. 🙂
I have my group in runners too. But we the adults are the runners. We run to stay healthy and we run because we love it. We come from all ages, backgrounds, ethnicities, speed of running, single, married, divorced, with kids, without kids, with 4 legged kids, some with young babies to those of us with kids out of the house and its just us now. I love my running family! There friendship and family is something I value greatly, they are my sounding board, they are my peace when my world is a mess, they are ears to listen and arms that hug when its needed. They provide wisdom of age and insight of youth. Like any family we don’t always get along but we always encourage each other to get to the finish no matter how hard it is to get there, we may run, we may walk, we may crawl but we always finish.
Dawn Camp says
Denise, you’ve brought tears to my eyes. I LOVE this! What a great group you have here.
Well if your don’t have kids get a dog. Its amazing how many people you get to know by having a dog. One of my good friends I met by walking my dog, she stop me one day and wanted to know the breed. A friendship developed from there.
Make sure you get a friendly dog. 🙂
Dawn Camp says
My dad is a social butterfly by nature, but it’s amazing how many conversations have been initiated over the years because of his dog(s). You make a great point!
It’s Friday afternoon, 11-9-18 and tonight, I’ll be reunited with a missions team that just returned from serving in Haiti the last week of October. The six servant-hearted women of different ages and backgrounds bonded in preparations before we left, and want to continue the relationship now. The many powerful moments of women interacting with women from another culture via the Holy Spirit can be shared and appreciated, as well as the components of a salad eaten during the working week in Haiti that will be replicated tonight. The common goal of spreading the Gospel through service unites many who are His Image-bearers. Thank you for validating my excitement for seeing my team-mates this evening….and I do hope I put enough key limes in the salad dressing…:-)
Beth Williams says
How often do we as women allow appearance and its trappings to build barriers between us? This world sets a high & lofty
standard of beauty. God’s view is different. 1 Peter 3:3-4 states: Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. He doesn’t want us to worry about perfect hairdos, painted nails & toes. He wants us to be real with each other. We were made for community. He wants us to forgo perfection in favor of friendships. I have a group of friends who try to meet once a month. Our commonality is working together for a number of years. It is a joy to be with them, talk over life & how things are going now. Soon I pray one will be done with chemo & radiation for breast cancer. One will graduate college next December. So much to pray over. I have also made good friends at church. We bonded over our aging parent trials. We could talk & commiserate with each other. I got meals for her & hubby when people were in hospital. She got food for me when my dad died. Great that God allows us to have such good friends even if for a season or longer.
Angie Ryg says
These seasons change so fast and this encouraged me to not fear change, but embrace it and see the small moments of GOd’s grace within it. Thank you!