Boston Marathon

After a ten hour drive, we arrive to an overcrowded city where the hotels are busting at the seams and you have to wait forever for a seat in any restaurant. 28, 538 people running this thing, and my son is one of them, bib number 2842.
In the hotel room, we figure out his pace and where he should be when according to the marathon route we downloaded from the internet, and then we try to match it up with the subway stops. After hours of figuring it all out, we go to bed, assured that we would be at the right place at the right time. But things don’t always go the way we plan them. The subway is ridiculously overcrowded and makes super long stops along the way, trying to stuff more people in. And the time is ticking away. Finally we get off, ready to cheer him on with our special T-shirts and sign. But we are in the middle of nowhere, and there sure isn’t a marathon going on around here… “Oh no,” the young lady said, “no marathon here! It’s a few miles away. You’ve got to get back on the T and…” My stomach churns and I want to cry. Daniel running this marathon is the whole reason I took the time off work and came to Boston, and now we’ll never see him, we’ll be too late! We get back on the next train and follow her directions. There are signs for the marathon at our exit; we finally did one thing right. We go as fast as the crowd lets us, following the arrows and the noise.
There are people everywhere there is an inch of space—high up on lampposts, on the roofs, on balconies. I inched my way to the barricade that bordered the street, one layer of people at a time—competing with 500,000 of them for a spot in the front so I could see my son for a couple of seconds and let him know I was there for him. I squeezed myself between a woman with a huge red sign that read, “NAVY!” and a man with a very large camera. Yes, at the front, finally! I am standing at mile 24.5 and waiting.
This superbowl of marathon sounds so cool and exciting until you get right there, and you see them for real right there, on the streets of Boston, putting one foot in front of the other again, and again, and again. Emotions well up on the inside of me and I have to hold back a couple of tears. I see bib number 50 run by me; good, I have some time before Daniel comes by since the bib numbers were given by qualifying times. But you never know, the kid is pretty fast. I climb up on the little ledge of the fence and strain looking way in the distance for a pair of dark blue shorts and a dark blue shirt. Nothing. The sound around me is deafening, from yelling to stomping to cows bells with everything else in between. The cops are friendly, but keeping the crowds away from the street. Bib number 89 runs by me. And then I see a woman run by; she looks good. I focus way out in the distance—no blue shirt. Right in front of me, the runners’ faces are fascinating, some of them so intense that they don’t even see anything but the pavement in front of them, others totally engrossed by the crowds. I see one in excruciating pain—oh my goodness, what if Daniel is hurt? My heart starts beating into my temples. I will my emotions back in check. Bib number 1128. It shouldn’t be too much longer. A man runs backwards right in front of me. Did he do this for 24 miles?
I wait, and look, and pray, and wait and look and pray. And wait and look and pray. Still no Daniel in sight. And then my husband yells, “here he is!” I see his strong legs, his beautiful stride, his curly hair held back by a homemade headband that reads, “Psalm 36:8-10,” or something like that. He looks exhausted. But that’s my son, and he is here, running the Boston Marathon!
“GO, DANIEL, GO!” I yell with every ounce of breath that my lungs give me. Our eyes meet for the tiniest of split second. I know he saw me, and I know he knows I am so proud of him. That’s why I came. I walk away from the fence and give my spot to someone else.



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