On occasion, you have the best of intentions. You really do. But then everything blows up in your face and you end up torturing your child to within an inch of his sanity instead.
You see, I’d intended to give Manchild the opportunity to prepare for his next race. Last year he complained that I hadn’t trained him well enough to run a 5K, and he was right. I intended to do better this year. I had planned to take him running several times in the weeks leading up to the race (which is now a week and a half away), but life sort of happened without us running together and with Miles for Midwives right around the corner, I thought some running would be better than no running, and since the boy seemed game to try to squeeze in a couple of training runs before the race, last Saturday morning we went for it.
And by “went for it” I do mean that we dove right in without much thought. We gave no consideration to the fact that he hadn’t eaten breakfast. We didn’t even think that he expected to keep up with Micah and the other kids on the bike. Nor did we bat an eye at the distance he’d have to cover to get where we were going (over 2 miles) or the fact that he hadn’t run that far since last Miles for Midwives.
And with all that leaping without looking, I got what I deserved. The boy was crying before we even left. I took longer than he expected to get ready and Micah was well on his way by the time we got out the door. That was severely upsetting to him. And, because we always eat our muffins in the park on Saturday morning, he was fairly famished. There was no chance of getting the waterworks under control. None. So I did the only thing I could think to do: get him to breakfast as quickly as I could. Which meant running as fast as his little legs – and his heaving, crying lungs – would allow. I held his hand and off we went.
I can only imagine what passersby were thinking when they saw me pulling Manchild down the road, telling him what a great job he was doing, that he’d be okay, that we were almost there, that he just needed to keep breathing. I imagine . . . actually, I take that back. I can’t imagine what they were thinking. I just hope they were generous in their judgments. I was doing the best I could.
We made it about a mile before he said he needed to walk. And then he was pretty vocal in letting me know when I was going too fast. Still, he somehow managed to find the energy to squeeze in some fartleks on the downhills. It really seemed like he was trying to lose me as we sprinted down the last hill and through the tunnel and to the field where we normally play Ultimate. But he couldn’t lose me because we were stopped short. The field was surrounded by fences and people with walkie-talkies. They told us that the entire section of the park was closed for a Nickelodeon event. Ugh.
I’m pretty sure Manchild thought I closed the park specifically to torture him even more. I didn’t. In fact, I was pretty bummed about it too. There was nothing left to do but call Micah and have him come rescue us. Which he did. Within 10 minutes Manchild was recovering from his trauma while munching on a pumpkin muffin.
We spoke not a word of the incident the rest of the day. But the next morning he mentioned that he legs felt a little funny. Like maybe they hurt a little. And after a moment of consideration, everything from the morning before came back to me, only with this silver lining: he’s sore. He really worked hard. He’ll be stronger next time.
Assuming, of course, he’s willing to let there be a next time.