A journey of 26 miles begins with a single step
Today you took your very first steps, almost running between us, grinning-giggling-giddy with delight. You’ve reached this milestone just in time for the Beirut Marathon tomorrow, which will be the third one I’ve been in Lebanon for.
In 2011 it was the start of our time in Beirut and we lived in Gemmayze, near the finish line. I remember walking in the wrong direction to the race, in search of a patisserie open on Sunday, and watching the last few runners run the last few miles, then crossing town to Hamra to meet colleagues who had taken part, for a post race lunch. On our way back, trying to navigate the maze of streets down to the sea, exploring with both exhilaration and trepidation,we discovered a quiet flight of stairs that seemed to lead nowhere. Unsure, we turned around, but had we taken just a few more steps we would have found a shortcut to the shore and walked right past the building where we live now. Funny how nowhere can become home.
In 2012 it was the start of our journey as a family of three and we lived in our current apartment in Ain Mreisse, near the start line. You were only three weeks old and we had planned to go to the Corniche, just a short walk from our house, to watch your papa take part in the 10km fun run, a three generational cheer-leading team (me, you and Grandma). It was going to be our first proud outing but the weather had other ideas- rain pounding the streets harder than the runners’ feet- and so did you, staying awake most of the night and falling asleep just in time for the start of the race- teaching me to ‘watch the baby, not the clock’.
And now it is 2013 and we will be crossing town again back to our old neighbourhood for lunch with friends. Once again we’ll be going in the opposite direction to the runners, watching the race in reverse, but this time we know the way. This time we’ll buy our pastries from always-open Hamade on the corner of our street. And this time you’ll be awake, and may even join in, wanting to run as soon as you’ve learnt to walk.