his breath smells like breakfast sausage. i know this even as i wait at the finish line of my son’s first race.

it’s canada day, and i’ve never seen his father so excited. “first we have a pancake breakfast, with sausage and bacon,” he tells me, the nights and days before, “and then there are races–a foot race, sack race, three-legged, and then, a baseball game,” and he’s been remembering his childhood all year.

i don’t understand until i see the church ladies in their parkas and smell the pancakes frying in the old skate shed, until i step into the hall and eye tables stretched long and people of all size and shape and wrinkle elbow to elbow, the syrup sticky between them and now, here at the finish line, the children dutch and little, lined up to race.

the fathers prep their sons, trenton whispering into aiden’s ear to run to mommy, beside him, uncle rob and cousin logan, and there, uncle shaun and cousin linc, and uncle phil holding the bull-horn and it’s “on your marks, get set, go” and a flurry of children’s legs and smiles and father’s cheers and crossing the finish line into mommy’s arms.

and all that matters is that he crossed the line, and isn’t this parenthood? the father at one end, spurring on, challenging and equipping and excited and “go!” and the mother ready to catch, to hold, to praise…

“therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…” (hebrews 12:1)

421. summer with its rotatilled garden and hot sun
422. berries ripening
423. fresh garden lettuce all bright and green and tender
424. a new-used washer and dryer
425. korean restaurant date with husband
426. witnessing love beneath long strings of pink and white balloons at friend’s wedding
427. maternity leave and clean windows and naps on the couch
428. anticipation of camping trips and baby, new
429. little arm hugs
430. family around the table

(with ann, here…)