I Think I Can

Two things about me: I’m not really a runner, and I’m not really a friendly person. I try to be both. Really, I do, but they are difficult and tiring.

I accidentally started running about five years ago. I signed up for what I thought was a spin class and, after sitting in the cycle room by myself for ten minutes, the instructor came in and said, “We start on the treadmills.”

I was too shy to say, “I don’t do running,” so I followed her out to the treadmills and began to run. I’ve tried to never miss a class since that first day. Somehow the instructor makes you believe that you can do anything. Like run. And so, on a warm spring evening, after my husband came home from work, I laced up my shoes and went to see how far I could run around Germantown.

My route consisted of running East on Father Hurley to Crystal Rock, down to Century, and around the library, through the townhomes I wish we lived in, back up Middlebrook, and back to Father Hurley. This, save for Target, was the Germantown I knew. The Germantown I felt I belonged in.

And then Hadley started Kindergarten. Perhaps you know my daughter, Hadley. I hear she dances at recess. She wants to be a rockstar and also an archeologist. And she calls everyone her friend. She is the opposite of me: she tries everything with effervescence and curiosity and she’s been able to work a crowd since she could crawl.

It was at the Halloween party in Mrs. Weinel’s classroom that my running route began to expand. As I was holding up the wall by the kids’ cubbies, watching Hadley eat cupcakes with a foot of frosting on them and wondering how long we all had until the sugar kicked in, a mother walked up to me and handed me an invitation to a jewelry party. She was friendly and funny and I was delighted to be invited. Quite frankly, she could’ve invited me to a chainsaw party and I would’ve said yes. I left wondering if I’d made a new friend. That’s the thing about people who aren’t good at being friendly: we don’t always know.

A couple of days later, instead of my normal running route, I turned the other direction and headed down Wisteria and then to Weingarten. Seeing another part of Germantown helped distract me from the difficulty in running. Plus, the other thing about running is it makes you bold, and as I ran past my maybe new friend’s house, I wondered if some of the friends Hadley made might have moms that would be friends with me, too. Maybe they lived around this part of Germantown.

It turned out there were. About seven beautiful and hilarious gals who didn’t seem to notice I wasn’t very friendly and that expanded more than my running route.

This story isn’t about doing things you can do. It’s about doing things you can’t do. And that’s what Lake Seneca Elementary School is about: supporting our children through the things they don’t know about, are afraid to try, or think they can’t learn.

The Cougar Dash is coming up in May. You may think you can’t run and you may be right.  I often stop and walk on my runs; annoyed and wondering whether I’ll be able to make my loop without ever stopping.  But I think you should sign up anyway. Sign up and run or walk with your child and show him or her that this part of Germantown supports each of the children getting out of cars, walking to school, hopping off the bus and heading into school: ready to face the thing they think they can’t do.

For more information, or to register for the Cougar Dash, click here.

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10 Responses to I Think I Can

  1. Tiffany P says:

    I am shocked to hear that you aren’t friendly. You are super friendly, silly! And yeah for the dash! You can do it!

  2. Sarah Wells says:

    I’m not very friendly, too! We have so much in common. <3

  3. Deb says:

    The whole unfriendly thing is ridiculous. Ridiculous I say! And as far as the running goes, you go girl! I hate running too, but sometimes when you’re done and completed the loop without stopping, it’s a major accomplishment and you can’t help but to feel good. So, keep it up Callie and have fun at the dash!

  4. Tonia Halley says:

    Me too! Not a runner. Becoming so unfriendly….
    Correct. We must try on both accounts.
    And a rockstar and an archeologist- sounds like a Harriet the Spy, a Fancy Nancy, a main character to a series of children’s books with the Chicken Butt person for an illustrator or anyone else you rub shoulders with OR a YA book for first or second grade. Just a thought. Kuddos for writing frequently
    and – with blood connections -you should just put yourself on the list for Pigs and Weasel and the next Festival of Faith and Writing…
    love your cuz

    • calliefeyen says:

      Thanks, Tonia! I love those ideas for Children’s Books. I may have to do some drafting….

      Speaking at the Festival of Faith and Writing and reading at Pig and Weasel would be an absolute dream. Thank you for your encouragement!

  5. Here’s to the merits of unfriendly, from a fellow traveler. I think what you mean is that you don’t chat up and smile at everyone you meet. That’s not unfriendly in my book, or in many parts of the world. That’s shy, or cautious, or introverted, daydreamy, or aloof, or just self-possessed. Hm. None of those have the cachet of “friendly,” do they? Anyway, I know what you mean and I think it’s fine. Read Quiet by Susan Cain yet? I love this blog and how you write about the importance of facing what you can’t do. At any age. What a great teacher you are.

    • calliefeyen says:

      Thank you, Lindsey. I’m glad to travel this “quiet” road with you. :) I haven’t read Quiet yet, but several people recommend I do. I better go check it out. And thank you for your kind words about this blog. I really appreciate them.

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