The race of a lifetime seems so very long ago and yet like yesterday.
It all started one sunny afternoon.
My sister and I were track stars, at least in our minds. My dad was very proud and encouraged us both. His bragging inflated our young egos, and, needless to say, we both became a bit overconfident.
Dad, as dads tend to do, recognized our less than humble attitudes and challenged both of us to a race. We were to run from our apartment to City Park pool.
I remember clearly thinking my dad had to be crazy. He was 32 years old, and my competitive spirit rejoiced knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that I could beat my old man.
So, race on.
The three of us lined up and someone, probably my dad, yelled go. I held the lead all the way to the pool with my sister not far behind.
We even rested at the pool waiting for our dad, thinking we would cut him some slack considering how old he was.
Just before he got to the pool, we headed back, still pacing ourselves.
We reached the halfway point and heard dad calling to us. It was obvious to both of us that our old man needed a break. So, we stopped and waited for him to catch up.
He looked beat and asked if we could all walk the rest of the way together.
Sure, I thought, a forfeit is the same as a win.
Walking back laughing, talking about everything and yet nothing at all was wonderful. We reached the parking area of our apartment complex when my dad, who had his arms around our shoulders, yelled go.
He took off like The Six Million Dollar Man. I never saw my old man fly like that. My sister and I chased after him yelling, "cheater, you cheated, no fair."
I remember his pleased eyes as he made it perfectly clear:
"I didn't cheat. It was your choice to wait and walk with me. You believed the race was over, I chose to finish it."
I learned that day that life is a welcomed race that we can choose to quit and play by society's rules or we can just be and finish it our way, following the rules that are in our hearts, enjoying every precious moment along the way.