Today Noah ran to school. Another beautiful morning in the Pacific Northwest. When the sun comes out, regardless of the temperature, we are outside seizing the moment. This morning Noah, Sam and I ran (ok... Sam and I walked briskly...Sam doesn't run unless there's a reward at the other end of the finish line) to school. I would tell Noah to run ahead to a cluster of mailboxes and then run back to me. When he caught me I'd tell him what to run to next. To the stop sign and then back to me. To the crossing guard and then back to me. Noah ran twice the distance Sam and I walked. This helps Noah settle into a day of learning at school.
Every morning I spend between 45 minutes to an hour getting Noah settled into his routine of the day. It frees up his teacher to be with her class and it also gives Noah a jumpstart to what is ahead for the day. Most days 30 minutes of this time I monitor his tutors who work 1 0n 1 with him. All of this takes place in a private room off of the main classroom. Today his tutor couldn't make it so I had Noah ALL to myself.
I'm not exactly sure how the topic came up but we got on the topic of his dad. More specifically his dad's death. According to the records his dad died 2 or so years ago from TB. I asked him if he remembered that day. When he began to talk about it his teacher came in, for a general question, but soon was sitting down next to me while Noah spoke. She has become his second mom, and her interest is as invested as my own.
Noah was in school on the day his dad died. He said his Aunt Genet (he calls her Gunny) came to his school and quickly pulled him out, telling him his dad was dying. They must run. He said they had no car so he and Gunnie had to sprint to the hospital through the streets of Desse. By the time they got to the hospital it was too late. His dad was dead. He was too scared to see his father's body. For several seconds Noah sat silent with his teacher and myself. I reached over to touch Noah's hand and said, "We will never forget your dad. I have his full name and we will talk about him whenever you want." Then I said, "I bet your dad was a handsome man." He looked at me somewhat puzzled. I asked, "Do you know what handsome means?" He gave me a sly cock-eyed grin and answered, "Awesome face." Absolutely 100% correct. : >) I told him his dad had to be handsome because he (Noah) was so handsome. Noah grinned from ear to ear.
I love to watch Noah run. His perfect form, his long legs, the smile on his face. Noah was literally born to run. So many times he asks to be dropped off at our mailbox (which is 1/4 mile from our house). I let him out and he starts his run. After I get the mail I take off down the road and soon am driving right beside him, my window down cheering him on. He glances across his shoulder at me and smiles with his entire face. More times than not when I am Noah's 'support vehicle driver' I flash back to my time in Ethiopia. Driving the dirt road into Debre Lebanos and the children running....begging by the side of the car. Driving into the weavers market and the children running...begging by the side of the car. Driving up to Mt. Entoto and the children running...begging by the side of the car. Noah HAS run...begged by the side of a car in Ethiopia.
On this beautiful Northwest morning Noah ran. He didn't have to run a race to beg for his survival. He didn't have to run a race to beat the last breath of his father. Today he ran for no other reason other than because he could.