I come from a family of runners. And I'm not one of them!
Today is my birthday.
It's also Patriots Day.
It's also "marathon Monday".
Unless you're from Massachusetts, all of this may not necessarily mean as much to you as it does to me.
I grew up in a Boston suburb. Marathon Mondays each year were a huge event in our town. Patriots Day, the third Monday in April, is a Massachusetts-only holiday, and it's the day the marathon is always held. The marathon begins in Hopkinton, the next town over from where I lived. We'd go downtown and get a spot on the route and cheer the runners as they went past, mid-morning, on their way to Heartbreak Hill and the finish line.
Even though we were always on school vacation on Marathon Monday (another event anomalous to Massachusetts), I can't recall a time when my birthday actually landed on Marathon Monday, until now. I'm sure it did before, but I don't remember it... and I usually remember stuff like that.
This year is extra special, because the marathon isn't just being observed by us, in the usual manner, but all eyes are on Boston since it's been a year since that terrible day when the bombs went off and killed all those people, and injured so many more. I've followed the survivors' stories closely. These people are remarkable. I sit here and whine about fibromyalgia -- but they've got REAL problems, and look at them! In a funny sort of way, I smile, too.... because, just like our 3-legged dog, Cooper, they have learned to accept the finality of the loss of limbs, and have persevered in spite of it, most of them doing things today they never would have dreamed they would be doing a year ago.
I have at least one family member running in the marathon this year. In a weird twist of fate, none of my family or friends ran last year, for probably the first time ever. I like to think my late brother was watching over them, and pulled those strings that gave each of them a different reason for not running.
I am grateful.
I wish my family and friends running this year luck and grace as they compete, and have fun, in the 118th Boston Marathon.
P.S. I was born on my father's birthday. His nickname was Butch. My great-aunt, Annie (my father's aunt) also had the same birthday. Sadly, they've each been dead for many years. This weekend, I was out running errands, and I drove by a store I've driven by hundreds, perhaps thousands of times. For some reason, I looked up at the sign in front of the store. It's one of those plazas that has a half-dozen stores inside. I never noticed the name of the plaza before: "Butch and Annie's Plaza." There are no coincidences.