Mother’s Day Guest Columnist Laura Rossi Totten: Reaching The Finish Line, Your Cheers In My Ears

Laura Rossi Totten, mother of 9-year old girl-boy twins, is a recovering perfectionist and transplanted New Yorker, She blogs about parenting at My So-Called Sensory Life and recently made her publishing debut with Make Mine A Double. A public relations expert (, Laura lives a “few hours away” from her favorite city with her family and border terrier.

Dear Julia and Matthew:

In January, when my sister Lisa convinced me to sign up for the More + Fitness Magazine Half Marathon in New York City, I first felt fear, mixed with a little panic. What had I gotten myself into?

I had never — and I mean ever — participated in a race. And unless you count my 100-meter high school sprinting, I’m no distance runner. So how could I possibly run 13.1 miles? When would I find time to train for 12 weeks? Would I be claustrophobic running with 10,000 other women in Central Park?

When I told you two about the marathon, you exploded with excitement and joy and words of support and praise. There was no turning back now.

I showed you pictures from last year’s More + Fitness Magazine Half Marathon on my computer, printed out the course map, and explained my training schedule. You helped me pick out new running gear and shopped with me for energy gels. And through it all, your reactions — along with your Dad’s — delighted me.

“Go, Mom!” you cried out.

“You can do it!”

“Find your can-do-coach!”

“We’re proud of you!”

Your cheerleading was tireless. It was all I needed to hear to get me going. Throughout my runs, I thought about you two all the time.
Seeing myself through your eyes motivated me to believe I could pull it off. As I moved through my weekly training , increasing my total mileage from 10 to 21 miles, you two were with me for each mile.

When my knee felt stiff, I saw your smiles.

When I was tired, the cold water bottle you tossed out the car window with Dad gave me strength.

And when I thought I was too exhausted to get through my training, you played coach and told me I could do it.

As only children can do, you two treated my run every Sunday like it was the real marathon. You helped me make a healthy breakfast and plot my course. After my runs, you offered me ice or a massage or a nap. You made dinner every single Sunday with Dad for three months — meals more delicious than any in a five-star restaurant, meals that nourished my body and my soul.

As my marathon countdown turned from weeks to days to hours, it became clear to me that my main source of motivation was the two of you. Already, at the ripe old age of nine, you already know never to give up.

On April 15, along with almost 10,000 women, I ran that half marathon, feeling as if you two ran every step with me. I saw your faces on the sidelines. I heard your cheers in my head. You reminded me to drink my water and slow down, take it easy on the down hills.

As I ran the long last mile, I imagined over and over again how it would feel to hug and kiss you two when I crossed the finish line. You made me feel invincible, like a super hero. I’ll always treasure my Marathon Medal and the beautiful green sign you made (“Congratulations Marathon Mommy!!! Love, Julia & Matthew”). But nothing will ever shine as bright as your eyes on me at the finish line.


P.S. – Please see guest column from Annie Powell tomorrow.


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