I fight attachment to traditions because life is so full of change. However, we did something so much fun, when Jason suggested we do it again next year, I jumped on it. Maybe we’ll call it an annual affair instead of a tradition. It sounds a bit more flexible and if things change it won’t be as dramatic as breaking tradition.

K-Life, a local student ministry all three of our kids were a part of in junior and high school, held their 5th annual Labor Day walk/ run. Jim and some of the adult kids have participated before, but 12 Brawners were out in force this year. Maybe next year Jill, David and Vivian can join us.

To cut down on the confusion, Jim and I got to The Branson Landing early to pick up all the packets, t shirts and numbers. I felt so official with a computer chip twist tied to my shoes lace and it was the first thing I’ve ever done where I had to pin a number on my shirt.

Kari, Travis, Jason and Alison ran the 5K. Alison pushed baby Smith in a jogger stroller. That left Jim and me with 5 kids in the mile. We were way outnumbered from the start. Jim had the Big Daddy double jogger and I had a single jogger stroller. The plan was for Jackson and Jameson, the 7 year olds, to walk along side us while we pushed four-year-olds, Owen and Mollie Jane, and baby Kaylin.

Most everyone was there for fun and to support an organization that benefits the entire tri-lakes community but there were some serious runners too. They were the ones with sponsors’ business names on their shirts and 2% body fat. None of them were pushing jogger strollers.

The 5K runners took off, then those of us doing the mile lined up. I had Mollie Jane and Jim had Kaylin. Jackson, Jameson and Owen were beside us, but the minute the starter yelled “GO” the boys took off and they were gone. I immediately started thinking of ways to explain to the kids that we had lost their children.

At one point Jim said he was certain the boys had taken a wrong turn sending them on the 5K course and wouldn’t their parents be shocked if they found them. I was certain we would never be trusted with 5 kids again.

Kari’s mom, Karen, had come to watch and she was waiting at the finish line. The boys had run the whole mile course and were at the finish with Karen and bottles of water when we got there. Grandparents have to stick together.

Mollie Jane got out of the stroller and we ran the last 100 yards holding hands through the finish chute with spectators cheering us on. I’m sure it’s what runners in the New York City marathon feel like as they run under the finish clock. For a four-year-old and her grandmother it was big stuff. This simply must become an annual affair.

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