Dear Jessica, Brendan, Ashton and Christian,
Two years after I first had this wild notion, I finally did it. I took the plunge and registered for my first marathon. Yikes!!!
My goal since I finished the Couch to 5k program has been to do a full by the time I'm 55. In running Disney this January, I'll eke under that by just two days.
I want you to be there with me. Dad, all four of you, with your spouses, kids -- the whole happy, tumbling, chaotic mob of you. I want to share this milestone in my life with the people I love most. I want you to see me cross that finish line.
After all, you've been with me through so many events and occurrences in my life -- the good, the bad and, yes, the ugly. The most amazing and happiest: the days you were born, although of course none of you remember that. You've been there through the years that I was learning to be a mom...how to hold you, bathe you, feed you, protect you, teach you, love you.
You were my world.
You have seen me at my lowest -- the times I was tired, short with you, yelled at you, tuned you out when I should have been listening. The times we argued. Wounded each other. But through that, loved. Now I would like for you to be there to witness something powerful.
All the good that I have tried to do in my life, I have done for you. I've tried to show you what love, faith, honesty, responsibility, empathy and dedication mean. Now I'd like to show you one more thing.
By the time I run this marathon, I will have put in well over 4 months of training. I will have run hundreds of miles. I'll have sweated buckets, thrown up, cried, fallen, gotten back up and run some more. It's going to be grueling, I already know that. I am not fast, athletic or confident.
But here is what I want you to know.
I want you to know it's never too late to chase your dreams. No matter what life hands you, you always have a choice. You can follow any path you want, write your own chapter, make your own movie, sing your own song. Age doesn't crush your dreams and desires. Age doesn't mean you have to surrender, let go of what you want to do in life. It's all there for the taking. Reach out and work hard for your dreams.
You can do whatever you set your mind to do. Fear is a liar and whispers relentlessly in your head. Refuse to listen to it, and boot it right out of there. Yes, I am terrified about undertaking this race. But I am going to spit in fear's face, look deep into its eyes, and see for myself that it is a fraud. Do I know I can run a marathon? No. Most days I am petrified I will fail. But I know I am going to give it everything I've got to finish, no matter what. Even if I have to crawl.
I want you to know what you're made of. You come from a long line of strong men and women, and I don't mean physical prowess. We have guts. We do what has to be done. We endure; we prevail. And that's in your very marrow.
I want you to see the value of commitment. That by working hard, sticking to something even when you don't feel like it, doing the same tough things day in and day out, you will succeed. Whether it's in a race, a job, your marriage, or life, perseverance and passion will see you through.
I want you to understand the significance of faith. Having faith in something bigger than yourself gives life meaning. It forces you to think outside your own self, nurtures compassion, expands love. Have faith in yourself, your family, and God. Not necessarily in that order.
I want you, most of all, to know and remember my love for you. You are all grown now, with your own lives, and the busyness that all our separateness entails. We don't get to talk to each other every day. Some of us don't see each other as often as we'd like. I want you to know that I carry each of you in my heart, every single day, and I will be taking you along with me during every step of this race.
While I run, I'll be praying for the special people in my life. I will be dedicating a mile to each of you. You all have meant everything to me, and your lives have made me who I am. I will thank God for the gift of your life, for the privilege of being your mother, and for the joy of seeing who you have become.
You are my world.
I wish I could give it to you. But instead, I'll try to give you the best of me. I love you.