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The Little Things

By Elissa Dickey
October 4, 2019

If there were an award for the worst runner in the world, I would win it.
That’s what was going through my mind the other day as I huffed and puffed my way back to my house after a less-than-mediocre jog. I’ve never been a great runner—it’s never come naturally to me—and yet it’s gotten harder in recent months.

So why do I still attempt to do it? Believe me, I asked myself that as well while walking back into my house and gulping down some water. Then my 12-year-old son came into the room and reminded me I’d promised to practice baseball with him.
We went back outside, and I crouched down next to him, tossing up baseballs for him to smack with increasing force across our yard. I marveled at how strong he’s gotten, how confident he is in his swing.
Then, my 7-year-old wanted a turn. This little guy was afraid of the ball up until recently, but on this day, he was determined. And when he sent the baseball flying into the yard, the look of pride on his face melted my heart.
It struck me just then that this is what’s important—the little things. It’s not perfecting an intense work out, it’s being able to participate in the everyday activities with my kids and to be able to keep doing them as long as I can.
And that is why it’s important to slog through a run—or a walk, or yoga, or a workout class or DVD, whatever type of exercise my multiple sclerosis will allow. I may not do it perfectly, but at least I’m doing it. I’m doing what I can to stay healthy for them so we can keep doing things together—whether that’s practicing baseball, having a dance party or jumping on the trampoline.
So the next time I’m sweating through my PiYo class, I’ll ignore the fact that everyone else seems to be fitter than me with better form and stamina. I’ll focus on the fact that I’m getting a little better at it than I was before. And the next time I go for a run, I’ll pat myself on the back for going just a tiny bit farther—slow and steady.
I’ll be content with the fact that I am far from the best runner in the world, because I’m doing what I can to be the best mom I can be for my kids.

Elissa Dickey

Elissa Dickey lives in Aberdeen, South Dakota with her husband and children. A former journalist, she is now an author who also works in communications at a university. Her debut novel, The Speed of Light, published March 1, 2021, with Lake Union Publishing.

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