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Running

Dear Eleanor,

 

The other day, I got home from work and you were right there to greet me at the door. I went all Mr. Rogers on the whole situation and traded some dress shoes for loafers or whatever. Then I did what I normally do and asked what you wanted to do. You said what you normally say and recommended that we run. Three-two-one GO! We started the circuit around our cozy abode. Piano room to TV room to Bedroom to Office to Bedroom to Piano room. You were right at my heels, loving the forward momentum of our aimless venture.

Traditionally, at this point, I would have bailed onto the couch so as to quit before it became apparent how limited your Dad’s lung capacity has become. However, that day I was struck by a curious thought. How long could your boundless energy keep you running non-stop? So I kept running. You continued right on my heels. We ran uninterrupted, with increasing pace. On and on through the house, with no sign of your slowing.  We ended up running for 20 minutes straight. I’ll admit, you started to get sloppy towards the end. We finally had to stop, not because you were tired, but because you fell off the bed as we launched over it. After a few tears and a thirty second rest, you wanted to run again.

Right now you have very little reason for your perpetual motion. If you grow up to be anything like me, your internal engine will continue to keep you on the move for all sorts of reasons.  You can spend your time running away from something or running towards something. You can mindlessly run through the motions without concern for where you are going. Eventually, your erratic, three-year-old attention span will develop into an ability to run with an end in mind for longer than 47 seconds. When that happens, I hope you choose to run towards a worthy end. Make your precious effort count.

Of all our runs, my favorite is when you run to me. Nothing matches that smile pasted all over your face as you gleefully frolic hither and heedlessly throw yourself in my general direction. I can only assume you run because you believe that walking is for chumps, a point on which we agree. However, it is quite clear why you jump. You do it because you know I’ll catch you. You’ve never given it a second thought. You just know. For the following moment, as any daddy and daughter will admit, nothing else really matters. It is like someone dimming the lights and dramatically cutting the volume of the whirring reality around us. For a split second, everything is simple. And then the moment is over and you are off to your next adventure. You’re going to go out and have many adventures, but when you need a break, I hope you remember that you and I can always steal a momentary slice of the simple life and share it.

 

Love,

Dad

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5 Comments on “Running”

  1. Justin Anderson July 24, 2013 at 5:52 pm #

    Great letter Daniel.

  2. Jessie July 24, 2013 at 7:57 pm #

    you’re a good dad. sounds like fun.

  3. Patricia July 24, 2013 at 8:25 pm #

    I would have tuckered out long before 20 minutes. Eleanor’s a champ!

  4. danielzehring July 24, 2013 at 9:16 pm #

    Thanks for reading- Justin, Jessie, and Patricia. The encouragement is huge and much appreciated.

  5. Joel Zehring July 25, 2013 at 9:47 am #

    Poignant and poetic, Daniel. Proud of you, bro.

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