My wife, Lynn, is very modest in what she wants in life. No fancy cars, clothes or jewelry for this girl. Oh….I’m sure she would like all that stuff but the fact that she married a guy who was not exactly rich prevented her from having to “worry” about all those trappings.
What Lynn does love is a strong sense of family and today, the day before Mother’s Day, I think she got it.
About a month ago, Andrew, our oldest who is married and lives in Baltimore, was here for the Monument Avenue 10k Race. Andy has kept the Bagby voracious-appetite-curse at bay by running daily and had never done the Monument Avenue. While here, he spoke with Lynn about coming back down and walking the Susan Komen Race for the Cure with her the day before Mother’s Day. Catherine, my middle child, who has been working out like crazy lately, also threw in on the adventure and an ensuing lunch was planned.
What Lynn didn’t know was that I also had secretly registered and was going to do it as well. I’ve been more active lately after a small bout of a recurring illness and am anxious to get back on the bike. On Thursday, Andrew came down and all three of them went to get their registration packets. I told Lynn to get mine and she was pleasantly surprise!!
What was ALSO a surprise was Jack, our youngest, had ALSO registered. The whole family was going to walk the race together. It’s the together part that meant so much to Lynn.
The Race for the Cure is a 5 kilometer (3.1 mile) event that is held every year starting at Brown’s Island to benefit breast cancer. Lynn is an 11 year breast cancer survivor and has done this event several times. I’ve written about us both having cancer but what I have is nothing compared to what Lynn had to endure. Surgery, chemotherapy and medication while I’ve had to just keep an “eye” on things. Here’s a link to what I wrote about that time in our life
When you arrive at Brown’s Island it’s like a big party. Music, tents with food vendors and photographers about. You know who the breast cancer survivors are because they wear a special shirt; this year it was a solid hot pink. You’ll see people like Lynn who have survived for many years and you’ll see women there with scarves on their heads; the badge of one who undergoes chemotherapy. Some people wear tickets on their back they say who they are honoring or who they are remembering. In honor of Tiffany. In Karen’s memory. My mom is a 5 year survivor.
I saw one family at the start who had (and I’m guessing here) a 70 year old mother who wore the survivor t shirt and was in one of those huge adult sized running strollers. What had to be her daughter also had a solid pink shirt as well. There were probably four or so granddaughters and grandsons running around the older lady taking turns pushing her the 3.1 miles. I so wanted to take a picture of this family but to do so would have been an intrusion on the sacred.
We had a great time walking around Brown’s Island. We stopped and took some pictures and even looked for a couple of geocaches.
Once the “race” started it was like a moving party. So much chatter and laughter. Sometimes I walked in silence just to listen to the banter between Catherine, Jack and Andy. Catherine whose heart is so light and cheerful. Andrew with his deadpan humor and encyclopedic knowledge and Jack who will say something so surgically hilarious that it almost makes me pee my pants. No one gets to me like Jack. Honestly I don’t know where he gets it.
The race meanders across the Manchester Bridge, takes a right then meanders to the Lee Bridge which you takes you back across the James River to get back to the starting point near Brown’s Island. You’re never alone during the whole walk. It’s elbow to elbow most of the time and you’ll bump into each other and say your “sorries” and laugh. A river of pink crisscrossing the James in defiance of this monster called breast cancer.
We all made it back to the start after seeing several people we knew along the way. We went to a restaurant called “Bellytimber Tavern near VCU where Catherine, Lynn and I received our degrees; from the college not the Tavern. We had food and beverages that more than offset the caloric expenditure of the race and we laughed and laughed and laughed.
I haven’t talked to Lynn about it yet. We all came home and took a nap; another time honored Bagby tradition. I AM willing to bet this might have been her best Mother’s Day yet. Yes I know it’s really tomorrow. She was grinning from ear to ear the whole time. Let me change that. She was literally beaming. The radiant mother of three amazing kids; one an Air Force Linguist, one a Autistic Behavioral Therapist and the other a Technology guru.
When you’re a parent you have big doubts about how your children will turn out. You fumble around and try to provide the right guidance and say the right things but the truth is you don’t really know what you’re doing. Nobody does. It’s more art than science. All that being said, with all the degrees and job honors they have garnered, I was most proud of my children today. Showing up to support an angel in pink.
The End – not really