I remember a time in my life when I was a single mom and I was looking for something to do. I thought, hmmm I should maybe come out of retirement and start throwing the hammer and discus again. I was a division I athlete at one point in my life on an athletic scholarship to a division one school, so how hard could it be right? Wellll…..my return to the sport was not short-lived, but very quickly a reality check as I competed as a “Master” athlete. I will have to write a whole other blog post about master athletes, cause don’t get it twisted, it is competitive and I had the time of my life. This whole new adventure led me to the Castro Valley Track club. This was a club who embraced me as an athlete, a mother and just plain ol’ someone who needed to have a sense of community.
One of the first families I met was the Mackey’s, and my eyes were drawn to their family right away. First, they are all gorgeous, but their son Carter was a captivating distance runner from the very beginning. I initially saw him as a little guy, maybe he was about 10 years old give or take. He didn’t look like the rest of the runners, he just looked strong. He always made my stomach hurt and my nerves would be so bad when he ran because he was a run from the back of the pack type of runner, and it would drive me crazy. I am sure he didn’t even know that he had that type of effect on me, and why did I worry because Carter would power from that last spot to that first one on a consistent basis. We all knew it was coming. I wonder if he did it to make us crazy, lol.
Now Peyton, I remember her as clear as day. When I first saw her she was in leg braces, had golden blonde hair, normally in a ponytail, and it would sway side to side as she made her way around the track. Those braces did not slow her down a bit. I would later learn that Peyton had Cerebral Palsy. For a description click the link in the previous sentence. At the time I had no idea what that meant, but in my mind her big brothers always seemed to know exactly where she was on the track no matter what they had going on themselves. She never failed to greet me with kindness and the sweetest smile you can imagine. She was so sweet.
So fast forward to four years ago and I was newly married and had been away from the track for several years. We were invited to the high school’s fundraiser and we were happy to oblige when we heard all the yummy food on the menu, and so yah we went, lol. Did I mention we love good? Ok, so the band starts up and I really couldn’t believe my eyes, there was Ms. Peyton on the stage dancing and jumping while smiling ear to ear, but something was missing, the leg braces. I immediately started to cry, busted out my phone and started recording. I sent her mom Kim a text and said “look at your baby.” Having been away I have only known Peyton to wear braces and to see her dancing and moving and shaking up there blessed my heart SO much that I talked about their family all the way home. Blessed my soul in so many ways, and besides all the great food and music, seeing Peyton was the total highlight or me.
When Kim and Rob called and asked me to do their family picture, even with their oldest being away now living out-of-state, I was more than happy to oblige. I was so honored and blessed to have captured these pictures of their lovely family. Getting Peyton to look into the camera directly can sometimes be a challenge due to the cerebral palsy, but she tried so hard and I was ecstatic to have several options to choose from with her looking right at the lens with those baby blues.
I know this blog is getting super long but when I see the Mackey’s today from when I first met them you can see the growth, the love, determination and true partnership they have for one another. They are like a fine wine, they are truly getting better with age.
And that runner that used to run from behind, well his strategy has paid off well for him as he has been offered a full ride to a division one college!