Today was absolutely a day that I will never forget. My brother Mark ran the Twin Cities Marathon and I must say that I never anticipated my sibling running a race being a life changing experience. While my big brother checking an item off his bucket list was a huge deal in itself, today reminded me how incredibly blessed I am.
Jeff and I dragged the kids out to the race bright and early at 8am. For the previous few days, talks were in motion between base camp (my parents), Team Schaffer & Team(s) Lehnert as to where we would all strategically place ourselves to watch Mark and encourage him every step of the way. I calculated by the end of the race, there was one or more members of our family at 10 different locations throughout the course. Now maneuvering the course is tricky via vehicle...all the while trying to monitor Mark's pace and make sure we were "in position" with plenty of time to catch him and jump, scream, holler, yell, clap...and do whatever else we could think of to give him an added skip in his step. Mark had told us in advance that the last 6 miles of the course would be his most challenging...so we had family at miles 21, 22, 23 and 24. With all of the runner's conditions depleting as the race progressed, my brother Matt, Jeff and I and the kids made a mad dash to the Capital...not wanting to miss seeing our big brother round the corner of the Cathedral and set eyes on that finish line. We made it...with about 2 minutes to spare as he came down along the straight away. We were jumping out of our skin with excitement and could barely stand the sight of witnessing Mark make this accomplishment. Mark even managed to throw his hands up in the air as if to make the whole experience look easy.
It's now almost 12 hours after his finishing time and I just can't seem to come off this "runner's high." I have an unbelievable, indescribable feeling of pride to see my family unite in support of our own. It didn't matter that the kids were tired, it didn't matter that we were fighting traffic, loading and unloading children, strollers, it didn't matter that we were feeding a baby a bottle while jumping up and down to cheer him on...he needed our support...and the words didn't even need to be spoken in order for us all to be there. I have such an amazing family. Jeff was in high gear all day making sure we got to every stop I wanted to, making sure the kids were taken care of so I didn't miss Mark running by. He was keeping me calm when my nerves were shot from the excitement, anticipation and struggle of seeing my brother tired and battered by the end of the race. He is an amazing husband and he values family just as much as I do.
So today I add to my list of most memorable, awe-inspiring moments: Seeing my big brother complete a Marathon. This accomplishment stands among other incredible moments in my life such as seeing my brother Matt graduate from Medical School, watching my nieces in their Christmas programs, hearing the touching words spoken at my dad's retirement party and starting my own family.
As I was saying goodnight to Rosemary tonight, I told her what a good job she did cheering for Uncle Mark today. I told her that the most important thing in our lives is our family. I just pray that my daughters come to understand the value of family and the importance of their siblings as much as we were taught to.