Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Day of Reckoning: Counting the Years and Logging the Miles

Today, my younger daughter, Lizzy, left for college in West Texas. A casual smile and a wave, a shouted "I love you" out the window of my car as she sped off down the street with her sister, and she was gone. It's 18 years and change since she first showed up in my life, all giggles and mischief. How do you even begin to figure all the moments and milestones between then and now? The afternoon she crawled headfirst, fearless, into the ocean; the time she climbed the wall at her granny's and fell into the lavender patch; the day she saw her first rainbow, threw back her head and laughed for pure joy, explaining, "I didn't know they were real; I thought they were just in books!"  I'm playing the theme song from Rent as I write this because today is a day of reckoning, a time for counting the years, and logging the miles--for measuring in love.

Speaking of measuring, you might be interested to know that it's exactly 356.7 miles from my living room sofa to Lizzy's dorm room at Texas Tech--hell, yes, I counted! It may not seem too far to her sister, Joy, who traveled decidedly further afield to college in Minnesota, but anyone who's driven from Dallas to West Texas knows there are times when you think that journey's never going to end. You drive for hours through some of the flattest, dullest landscape ever seen outside of Holland, and the boring view is surpassed only by the dearth of decent eateries on the way. You begin to understand why people go crazy out there and why cow-tipping is a thing.

My older daughter, Joy, made her first trek to college two years ago, and the drive to Northfield, Minnesota, took two whole days. Don't get me started on the passive aggression of the Iowa cornfields, the way they suck you in with all their pretty and then go on and on and on, staring you down, moodily, from both sides of the highway until you begin to believe you've entered some bizarre, corn-filled alternate universe and may never get out again! If you've driven through them, you already know. If you haven't, there's really no way to fully explain. Six hours? Two days? Eighteen years? It's all relative. When you're in the middle of the journey, it seems like it might never end. And when it's over... Well, that's another thing.

Which brings me back, of course, to running because today is also my Runniversary--it's exactly a year since I staggered sweatily down to the end of my road on Day 1 of Couch-2-5K, wondering whether I might die on the way. In the 365 days since then, I've run an astonishing 1,110 miles, and it's quite comforting to me on this day of endings and beginnings, of counting and logging the data, to note that that's significantly further than the 356.7 miles my daughters drove to Lubbock today or the 903.9 miles between my front door and my older daughter's dorm room in Northfield, Minnesota.

I've done the math and figured out I can run to them if I need to, so I think we're gonna be OK.

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