Thursday 18 April 2013

Reflections on Boston and Family

Let's face it, I'm not keeping up with HAWMC this month. Today's entry has nothing to do with the prompt for the day, but this is where my head is at right now.

Whether I'm running myself, or a spectator, I love everything about racing. I love the training, the package pick-up fairs, the bibs and medals, the cheering and celebration, and, especially, the atmosphere. There is an air of accomplishment in racing and it doesn't matter if you're racing to place, for a PB, or simply to complete. Everyone is a winner.

Monday morning I woke up and immediately found a website that was broadcasting the Boston Marathon live. Not only is it a huge event, and the pinnacle of marathons in North America (because it's the only marathon that has qualifying times just to enter), but my sister was running it for the first time, and I wanted to watch her cross the finish line!

Flipping back and forth between a site that was updating runners times at every 5k mark, and the live broadcast, I was thrilled to see that she was well on her way to a PB and possibly even a sub-3:00 hour marathon!! But just after the two hours mark, minutes after the male winners crossed the finish line, I lost the feed on the site I was on, and couldn't get it back. 15 minutes later, still nothing, so I headed out for a 40 minute run of my own, knowing I'd be back home before she finished. When I returned, still no live race coverage. Refreshing the stats page every few minutes, I was thrilled to learn that my sister finished the marathon with a time of 2:57:37; a best for her, and an absolutely incredible race time. After bragging in a Facebook group about her awesome achievement, I went on with my day.

About an hour later I received a message from one of the group members I had been boasting to, stating, "Jen, I hope your sister is ok." There was a link attached and upon clicking it, I learned of the horrible aftermath that had occurred mere minutes prior. With my heart in my throat, I knew I had to find out if she was ok. But get this: I don't have a phone number for her. I didn't even know what hotel she was staying in. Why? Because we aren't close. In fact, we barely know each other.

Here's the deal, in mini version. I was adopted as an infant because my parents were teens. They split up, went on with their lives, married other people, and had more children. I grew up in a great home, with terrific parents. I always knew I was adopted, but I knew I had to meet my biological parents. Not because I was unhappy or felt like something was missing, but because I needed to know where I came from. Period. When I met my mother, I was 19. She was 36 with 12 and 14 year old sons. I didn't meet my father until I was 29. He had 4 children, 3 boys who were then 19, 16, and 14. and a 17 year old daughter.

The age difference between my siblings and I is pretty big, and it seemed even bigger when they were teens and I was an adult. When I met my father's children, I already had 3 kids of my own, the oldest of whom was 10. The whole situation was awkward and strange for everyone, and I don't think any of my siblings really understood what was going on, or why I had suddenly intruded into their lives. Is that reason enough to barely know them after so many years? No. As completely overwhelmed as I was trying to assimilate all the new members into some semblance of organization in my head, I should have tried harder to get to know them. I should have made a more concerted effort to find out who they were as individuals, and build relationships with each of them. But I haven't. And I regret it.

So here's what I learned from the Boston marathon bombing, in a nutshell: I love my family more than anything in the world. And life is too short, too precious, and too unpredictable; every day is a gift, and should be lived as if it's our last. My plans for today? Give my husband and each of my children a hug and tell them I love them. And call my sister.

1 comment:

  1. Wow -- this is a lot for one person to handle! I just had to take a deep breath after reading it (and I didn't live it!).

    Your learned lesson is one that is very easy to say and share, but not one that is easy to understand and follow. I'm glad that you've got this renewed sense of value (circumstances not withstanding) and that you chose to share it with the rest of us.