Failing as a mother, and other pride-filled moments

I pride myself on being a good grandma, a good mama. Sometimes I fail miserably though. Like I did yesterday.

As most of you know, my daughter Megan had Baby Mac in June. And as some of you might know, since having Baby Mac, Megan has made running her thing, her time for herself, her time devoted to being Megan not just Mommy. And devoted she is, running 5Ks and 10Ks and "fun" runs for practice most days of the week. She's become quite the long-distance runner despite being a sprinter—and a reluctant one at that—during her high school years. She sets goals; she accomplishes them.

Yesterday featured a big goal, one Megan hoped to accomplish with aplomb: her first half marathon. That's 13.1 miles for those non-runners (like me) in the group. She's been training for it since right after having Baby Mac, and nothing was going to deter her. Except maybe that Preston, her hubby and daddy to the boys, was scheduled for a business trip that would take him away the day of the half marathon. Which meant there'd be no one to cheer her on with her babies in tow (yes, the babies should to be in tow, to see the importance of Mom setting goals and accomplishing them). And no one to take photos of her crossing the finish line.

So she asked me and Jim—Mom and Dad—if we'd cover the support shift. Which, of course, we were happy to do. Not only would it be a chance to see our grandbabies, it would allow us to cheer on one of our daughters in her athletic pursuits, something we've missed since our nest emptied out.

We arrived in the desert, prepared for duty. The plan involved Preston driving Megan to the Women's Running Magazine Women's Half Marathon starting point before hopping the plane for his business trip. Then Jim and I were to pack up Bubby and Baby Mac and arrive near the finish line of the marathon pert near the time Megan figured she'd be crossing. Other than getting us there, my primary job (in addition to caring for the grandkiddos, of course) was to take pictures of Megan meeting her goal.

I failed. On both counts.

Despite setting out as planned, with detailed directions and maps for a city we'd never visited, we got within blocks—"Special Event" flags marked the area, so there's no questions of that—yet couldn't get to the exact area we wanted. Because of the special event, because of all the roads closed for that very same special event. Because not a single direction for spectators was given on the official website and because Google Maps didn't note the very roads we needed, the very roads we were instructed to take would be closed. There was no way to get were we wanted to be. At least not by the time we needed to be there.

AS we drove around the special event area, we lucked upon a spot where other folks were cheering on their running mothers and daughters and sisters and friends. We hopped out. We ran into place. And, heavens-be-shining-down-on-me, Megan was coming around the corner. She was smiling, Bubby was waving, Jim was shouting GO, MEG! and I was scrambling for my camera...and in all the excitement I couldn't get it on and get it focused, get it shooting as it should. At least not while she was in front of me. This is what I managed:

Then Jim and I were off and running ourselves, with the kids, trying to figure out how the heck to get to that freakin' finish line before Megan did. Not knowing the city at all, not having uninterrupted service on my iPhone that would provide me a map and direction and GPS or something of use, I asked another spectator for assistance. He told me how to head in the general direction, "but I don't know how you're going to get there with the way they have the roads all jacked up," he said. "Just get as close as possible then walk as fast as you can," was his only suggestion.

Thing is, that "general direction" he gave was off by about 15 blocks. Or maybe my interpretation was off by about 15 blocks. And in those 15 blocks, the tension in the car rose. Baby Mac was hungry, Jim was frustrated at my (usually stellar) navigation skills, and Bubby was asking from the back seat, "Why are you so mad?" The "you" meaning me and Jim, as we were bickering and not being our best Gramma and PawDad selves by any means. But gee freakin' whiz...we couldn't get to our daughter who would soon be wrapping up an incredible feat and it appeared we weren't going to be there as promised.

And we weren't. Just as we got as close as we could possibly get, the point from which we'd have to quickly pop open the stroller, throw the two boys into it and make our way across a seemingly endless obstacle course, heading for the very same finish line as Megan—where Megan would be—my cell phone rang.

It was Megan.

She'd crossed the finish line.

And wondered where we were.

Oh, the humanity, er, humility...of having to tell my daughter I'd failed. I'd failed to get us there on time, I'd failed to get photos of her accomplishing her goal, I'd even failed to get one front-facing photo of her at the one single moment the gods did allow us to see our pink-clad racer girl despite our missteps.

No big deal, Megan assured us, just get here. Call when you get to the finish line, she said.

With my tail between my legs I got us there. And I got a few photos of Half-Marathon Megan with her medal:

... and of Half-Marathon Megan with her babies:

I failed at my task. Megan didn't. At all. She finished her very first half marathon in a respectable 1 hour 54 minutes and 52 seconds. An amazing feat any time, but especially impressive just six months after having a child.

Oh, and that 1 hour 54 minutes? Exactly the time (well, minus the 52 seconds) I guessed the night before, when Preston, Jim and I all put in our guesses for what Megan's final time would be. While I'm not so proud of my mom fail when it came to getting us to the finish line for photos, I am, in a very small way, proud of my accurate guess on Megan's time. (I gotta take my successes any where I can find them.)

In all seriousness, though, and in a very large way, I'm proud of Megan—my marathon-running mommy/daughter—and all she's done to get where she's at.

(Disclosure: All guilt mentioned above was purely self-inflicted; Megan never took me to task nor seemed even slightly disappointed at my failure to come through as promised. Yet another reason I'm proud of her.)

Today's question:

Describe a recent fail on your part...and/or a recent moment that filled you with pride?