Oklahoma City family fun lets us lead by example.
Following through with what you said you'd do is every parent's life lesson to show and teach.
Last week was that week for me. You know the one when everything hits at once: I had a child starting school with all the implied preparation and change that requires, a sore throat that turned out to be strep throat and a 5K I had committed to run on Saturday.
My oldest son, Sam, is 9. He's watching. I see him sizing up situations, deciding what to do when and where.
Every passing moment is another chance to decide what he'll see.
We talk so much to our kids about responsibility; them seeing us practice it, though, is what I think helps them put words into action too.
"Mom, are you doing the GloRUN on Saturday? You're sick, you know," Sam asked, worried that we'd miss it.
"Yes. I'm doing it. We're going," I answered, hedging a little every time he asked, which was a lot in the days leading up to the event. Those days quickly became filled with antibiotics, soup and cough drops. "Definitely going. Don't worry."
I was worried. Strep really knocked me down and running a 5K didn't seem like a great idea.
I kept training, though, pushing forward, showing my sons that you can because you said you would and sometimes you just have to keep a commitment. You work until the job is done.
Sunday came around and I was feeling better, good enough.
Pop music blared at Mitch Park and my sons happily visited vendor tables, painted their faces and waved dollar store glow sticks. My husband agreed to run with Sam so he could go ahead of us. I stayed toward the back of the crowd at the start line since I had a stroller with our 20-month-old and our toddler, age 4.
The starting gun sounded and we were off.
I saw Sam's orange t-shirt disappear around a curve about a quarter mile in and the crowd pressed forward, leaving us behind.
My husband texted me about 30 minutes later. They were finished. Where are you? he asked. Everything okay? it read.
Everything was okay but it was slow going with a baby and a toddler. I pushed the stroller with one arm and carried Isaac with the other. He tried to jog and made it about half-way but there's only so much running a four year old can do.
I scooped him up and kept moving. My phone's flashlight lit the path and we followed the chalk arrows marked on the asphalt.
We sang. We cheered. We ran and walked and skipped, at night in the park's darkness.
There we were, away from the crowd, alone in the park.
More than an hour later, we crossed the finish line.
Isaac, Gabriel and I were dead last. A golf cart closed in behind us at the finish line.
We gathered up three tired boys, wiped off the face paint and herded everyone home for late night showers and immediate because-you-have-to-go-to-sleep-right-now bedtimes.
Sam was proud of himself, having finished in just under 40 minutes. He sat back in his still-necessary booster seat and beamed.
I was surprised by what he said next, though: "Mom, I'm really proud you finished that 5K even if you weren't very fast."
He noticed. He saw the effort and that we finished what we started.
That's a win.
It's enough sometimes to do it on your own, in the way you can.
One foot in front of the other is still moving forward. It's still finishing.
If you're looking for community fun and opportunities to live out what you talk about at home, visit MetroFamily's website for family fun ideas, advice and a place to talk about parenting in Oklahoma City.