My Superpower

Two winters ago, I stopped by my Grandparent’s house for lunch with Michael and our friend who was visiting from out of town.

“Do you have any fun childhood stories about Kristen?” my friend asked Grandma.

“Kristen was so funny. We would go to her dance recitals, gymnastics shows, and soccer games, and she was terrible.” Grandma teased. “Afterwards, we would ask, hesitantly, “How are you? How did you do?” Beaming, she would announce, “That was so much fun! I did great!”’


4th of July, 2012, I ran the Firecracker 5k. My mom and I used to jog together on weekends and occasionally on weekday evenings. After bundling up in a hat and placing our iPods in our armbands, we’d be off—slowly. Sometimes, we would listen to music (my mom liked to run to Dog Days Are Over by Florence and the Machine). On other days, we would chat between shallow inhalations.

We showcased our hard work at holiday 5ks—the turkey trot, the hot chocolate run, the Firecracker 5k.

4th of July, 2012, my mom and I ran the firecracker 5k. My cousin Brendan, who is nine days younger than me and grew up down the road, ran with my dad. 

When people start to line up at the starting line, we make our way to the middle of the pack. My dad always used to say that the first mile was the hardest, so I prepared myself to push through it. We run.

By the end of the first mile, my breath has leveled out, and my feet feel lighter. My mom and I forge ahead.

We pass the mile two markers, and up ahead, we see two people running in the wrong direction.

“Fools,” I think out loud. Until I realize it’s Brendan and Dad! They had finished—and turned right around to finish it again, together.

I loved running those 5ks. I’m not sure that my mom and I ever reached our goal of beating the 30-minute mark, but I loved our runs just the same. 


“You’re so lucky,” my dad once told me. “Being happy comes so easy to you.”

“It’s your superpower.”

“That sucks,” I thought to myself.

“I wish that I was fast like Brendan. I wish that was my superpower. Or, maybe, I wish that I was smart like Katie, or strong like Madeline, or musical like Rory.”

He might have just chuckled in response. Maybe he told me I’d understand one day (he would have been correct). 


The bus veered to the left as it came to a screeching halt. A few feet further, and we would have flown off the side of the cliff. The horn squealed as the bus moved in reverse, skimming the side of the mountain. As just enough space cleared, the sports car flew by. We were off again, flying forward.

That is how our Amalfi Coast honeymoon began. We sprinted from the Naples train station to the ferry stop, brandishing our one-way tickets, only to learn that all ferries had been stopped. After walking through the Italian spring haze to purchase new ferry tickets to another part of the island and bus tickets to get us the rest of the way, we were off again, meandering on.

After over an hour, we reached our bus stop. We stumbled off, suitcases in hand, shocked by the terrifying experience we had endured as well as the beauty of the coast we were now exploring by foot. We walked the last hilly turn as the map alerted us we had arrived at our Airbnb. We looked up. Five steep staircases, and we would be there. We stared at each other in disbelief. Then, we were off again, dragging on.

Flopping on the bed, exhausted, we looked at each other and smiled.

“As soon as I can feel my legs again, let’s get dressed and go explore.”


♡ Kristen Mary Carolan

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Maeve Scott

    I love this and I love you!

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