A few years ago I ran a marathon, as I wrote about here. It was the Marine Corps Marathon, and my dad is a Marine, so it felt a little special, and I was so grateful that my parents drove four hours to Washington, DC to cheer me on, running around the city to wait for me and hold up homemade rally signs.
I found them somewhere around mile 18 or 19, and by that point I was in bad shape. I had taken a walking break which gave my body time to seize up and decide it didn’t want to do this marathon thing anymore, and every time I tried to run I had a shooting pain from my left hip to knee. I was feeling slow and mad at myself and embarrassed that my parents had come all this way to watch me hobble.
So I walk up to them instead of running and my dad is proudly snapping pictures of me the whole time even though I’m crying. I apologize to them for being such a disappointment and they just tell me over and over how impressed they are and how proud and how I am going to finish and it is all okay.
I stand with them for a little while, but know I have to get going again. I’m about to cross a bridge back into Virginia, and the crowds along the route are pretty light along that stretch. As I am about to leave, my dad asks me if I’m going to run or walk. In my whimpery messiness, I say I don’t know.
He says, “Well if you are going to walk, we will walk with you for a while.”
I hadn’t thought about this story in a long time and then I told it recently and immediately started to cry. That is my dad. He is always willing to walk with me, to do for me, to help me however he can. He would move mountains if there was something he could do to ensure my happiness. I am positive that I don’t tell him enough how grateful I am for that level of unconditional love and support. There is nothing I can do to repay it, and the crazy thing is, he doesn’t care.
So today I just want to thank my dad for always walking with me. I may not always act like I see him there beside me, but I do, and I feel so lucky to have him for my father.