“Are you a runner?” he asked me? I barely knew him at the time and I was 18, about 5 months pregnant and in crisis because of that pregnancy, as one would expect. I looked the part of a runner, thin, tall, and lean, save for the belly of a 5 month pregnancy.
I was shocked by the question. I had never played sports in my life, or even had an interest in them. I spent my childhood leisure time riding my bike to the swimming pool in the summer heat, or reading books in my room, resting on my beanbag. The best days were when I had the jumbo sized jawbreaker to lick while I read, with my tongue getting raw from all the sugar. That was the extent of my interest in sports, except Sunday afternoon NFL football games on tv.
“No,” I laughed. “Absolutely not.”
I placed my son for adoption when he was born a few months after that conversation, and the man who asked me that question would become his adoptive father. He and his wife are amazing, it was truly a divine meeting that allowed for them to become my son’s parents. It’s a decision I’ve thanked God for ever since.
The whole story really is a fairy tale ending. There was a lot of pain and suffering involved too, I was a mother without a baby to hold at the age of 18, and very much alone, but it’s turned out in an incredible way. I’ve had the love of many people in my life, and my son has grown up loved too. That’s what he needed and what I wanted for him.
No one knows how to respond when you tell them you are a birthmother. It’s natural. I don’t fault people for not knowing what to say. How do you react to that news? Do you say sorry? Do you say, that’s great? I really don’t even know what the right response is myself, and I am the birthmother. I do know that adoption is a beautiful thing, and it’s been a large part of me becoming the person I am today.
A few years ago, we were visiting my son and his family, yes we are reunited, and that, too, is simply amazing. We were having a conversation and he said, “Do you remember what I asked you the day I met you?”
I didn’t, so I asked what he was talking about, and to refresh my memory. “I asked if you were a runner.”
At that point in my life, I had become a runner. A late bloomer, but I fell in love with it from the first step I took when I was in my 30s. By the time he reminded me of the conversation, I had thousands of miles run on the roads and many peaceful memories and personal accomplishments because of it.
Many of those miles were spent working out life and its problems and the tangle in my own brain. I’m a deep thinker and equally emotional, so I need time to work things out and come to understanding. I guess you could say I am melancholy, but I don’t like that word. I’m happy and friendly too, it’s just that I have a deep well in my soul that needs time to work things out, otherwise I’m out of balance. Running has been very healing for me, and it is a spiritual experience really. That sounds ridiculous if you’re not a runner, but if you are, you know what I mean.
Did he see something in me? Was it just that I had the physical characteristics of a runner? Had he seen that I would eventually learn to run one day, way back when? Was it a random comment that just so happened to be a fortune told? Maybe it was a general conversational question that meant nothing at the time, but because running has meant so much to me personally, I choose to believe that it was a foreshadowing of what was to come in my life. Healing and wholeness.
When he reminded me of our original conversation, I realized that I had made it in life. Not as in success or achievement and not just survived, but I had persevered through one of life’s most difficult trials and come out on the other side. Whole, healthy, happy, and a runner.
Now I can answer a solid “yes” to that question. For a thousand reasons, I am grateful. Yes, I am a runner.