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My 10 year old daughter Beth asked me that question earlier this week. Blue Earth’s Giant Days road races were coming up and she wanted to do the 2 mile run this year instead of the ½ mile kids run. Without hesitating I said yes and then jokingly added, but will you race at a pace that I can keep up with?

What a great thing to have your daughter ask you to run with her. During the week we got out a few times to train. Beth likes to talk when she runs so we have great conversations. Hopefully these small conversations will set the groundwork for her teenage years, when having someone to talk to is vitally important.

Race day ended up being a family affair, as you can tell by the picture. Dale and the boys ran a 10K race. He helped set their pace since neither of them has competitively raced at this long of a distance. Both did well even though Brett struggled a bit with his stomach and Adam got a side cramp.

Beth and I waited around while the guys ran, since our race was later. She commented a few times on how she was nervous, but I told her being nervous was normal and encouraged her to channel her nerves for positive results. The race started out fast. Dale also ran with us and we slowed the pace down a bit. True to form, Beth conversed along the way. It really was a pleasant run. Dale encouraged me to pick up my pace a bit, which I did and those two stayed slightly behind me. With about 30 yards left, who should come up sprinting from behind me but Beth. She ended up crossing the finish line at 18:01, 3 seconds ahead of me.

Doing activities together is an important part of who we are. Fortunately we’re in good health and in good shape that we can run races. But we’re not just running races; we’re using these moments as a chance to teach our kids about themselves and how to react to the various things that happen to them. Running through a side cramp now can teach them how to work through a difficult project in the future.

Beth and I didn’t just run a race today, we shared an experience.

With the end of June and the first month of summer vacation just a few days away, I think of that old song that talked about the “lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer” and I think crazy YES! Lazy, No way! June found us participating in the World Pork Expo, Grandma’s Marathon, Spat Camp, Hoops Academy, Fastbreak league, Swimming Lessons, Cross Country camp and our church festival. I think there was only one day that I looked at the calendar and said “hey, we don’t have anything scheduled for today.”

I would like to say that I always have the chance to prepare a healthy well balanced meal, but the truth is that sometimes a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is our answer to the food pyramid. It’s 10:00 pm as I plop down into the chair while the last kid finishes showering. I’m hoping to read a few pages of the book I’m really interested in. But in reality I only get one page read before I fall asleep. Unfortunately I think it’s the same page every night!

But you know what; I LOVE SUMMER! Despite the crazy hectic schedules, I love not having the pressure of getting everyone’s homework completed each night. I love the impromptu softball, soccer or badminton games that happen just because we feel like it. I love campfires and roasting marshmallows and looking into a night sky that’s filled with stars, realizing we are so luck to be out in the country where we can actually see the stars.  I love going for a bike ride later in the evening when the sun has gone down and even though it’s still a bit humid, my bike cuts through the air as I race down the road.

But most of all, I like summer because I can be with my kids. During the school year, our schedules and activities revolve around school. In the fall, I’m always a bit sad to “give them back” to school again. I know that getting an education is important and I will always encourage them to do their best in school, but in the summer time, we have the opportunity to get a different type of education that is just as valuable.

So if you hear me talking about how busy our summer is, just smile along with me. Because deep down, I love summer and all the crazy, not so lazy things it brings us.