Warrior in Training

Written by Kelsey Armamentos

Quarantine has been difficult, I miss you a lot. Having this abundance of quiet time has thrown me into a period of reflection. Looking back on what used to be and looking forward at what is to come. Much of the end of my childhood was foolishly spent longing and wishing I was older, more independent, more confident. All things that seemed so close, yet so far. As I moved through my younger years and onto a scary new phase of life: Young Adulthood.

The beginning of my young adult life has been a whirlwind. I’m coming into my own. Discovering an independence and a tenacity I was previously unaware I possessed. This season of my life has brought along so many new experiences and emotions that I am so grateful to have you by my side to be a sounding board and confidant.

Recently I’ve spent a lot of time organizing photos and checking things off of my never ending to do list. Thanks to your email that has been flagged in my inbox for weeks, tonight I began my very very VERY late inquiry to the Chicago Marathon Staff about the photos I purchased. So I scoured my email for any trace of the link to get to my photos and I was lucky enough to find what I needed.

When I logged into the website and was presented with the photos, I was moved to tears. I was quite taken aback by my emotional response but once I sat and thought about it, my reaction didn’t seem so outlandish. The craziness that swirls around my head on a daily basis can sometimes glaze over important things, not giving the time to process and appreciate a moment. As embarrassed as I am to say it, right in this very moment I am finally processing the race I was able to win (in my own world, we both won), with you holding my hand each step of the way.

I know you’re going to tell me that I could have done it no matter what; But I’m here to tell you that on that cold October morning, as I squinted through my tears, pulling every ounce of strength I could find, I would have without a doubt quit without your support. My mantra I repeated in my head over and over again as each mile passed was, “this race we run, will be run together.”

I may not be smiling in all of the photos, in fact I remember quite vividly the excruciating pain I felt in the lower half of my body. I will never forget that feeling. But I will also never forget the sense of accomplishment. The sense of pride I felt seeing you cry as we crossed the finish line surpassed any emotion I’ve ever experienced.

I’m interested in hearing about the memories you have of when the shutter clicked.

For me, It was almost as if time stood still. Each moment that passed felt like a lifetime. As each mile passed I convinced myself more and more that it was to my detriment being able to feel each tendon seize as I attempted a stride. But looking back I’m able to appreciate experiencing those moments again through a beautiful collection of photos. Of course I hope that I’ll have these photos forever, but things happen and there is a chance someday I’ll have no tangible proof of these special moments. This moment in time doesn’t need tangible proof because it’s a milestone in my life I will remember forever. The moment I realized that my father hadn’t given me his strength to cross the finish line, he showed me how to find the strength within myself. That is a gift you’ve given me that as much as I’d like to, will never be able to repay you for.

Since that very day I have attacked life with a different tenacity.

I am stubborn, messy, and a bit silly sometimes, but by the grace of God i was placed with the two perfect parents who crafted me into the perfect mix of lady and warrior. You are my first, favorite, and forever partner in crime. No matter how many years go by or how many memories fade you will be my #1.