So this parenting thing, it never really goes away.
I tried to get away from it this morning, when I ran what was supposed to be a 5K but was really a 4.3 mile loop on a multi-use trail with its own mini-Heartbreak Hill in the second mile.
Like I’ve said, part of why I run is to get away from the brain-buzz, the constant undercurrent of motherhood and what I am supposed to be doing for my kids, even if I am too tired, too lazy, or too stressed out to do so.
I left my children in the hands of Taxman, my stepmother, and about five other relatives. My dad, my uncle, and my cousin got snookered into running with me. (“Who’s going to run the 5K with me?” I exhorted in an email two weeks ago. “There’s no leaf-raking at Mom Mom’s house this year; how are you going to earn your pie?!”)
My cousin ran the Boston Marathon in April, so this was just a quick walk for him. My uncle took off at a decent trot, after implying he’d run a 12-minute mile (ha!). And my dad…he stayed with me. He’s in really good shape, but running makes his back hurt, so he prefers to swim or bike. It was incredibly kind of him to stay with me. In addition to being pretty slow (10:30-11:00 minute mile), I am also a full foot shorter (or is it 13 inches?) than he is. So it was really a painfully slow jog for him.
But he did it for me, I’m assuming, because he’s my dad. As we made the hairpin turn at 1.5 miles and started to slog up the hill, he said, “Why don’t you take the inside–the bikers come down here really fast.”
“You think your reaction time is that much quicker than mine?” I joshed him. “I’ve got 28 years on you.”
“I know, but you’ve got two kids to think about.”
“So do you,” I shot back.
“It’s not the same anymore.”
I had to concede that it probably wasn’t. But feeling protected, at the sometimes-ancient-feeling age of 33, helped me get up that blasted hill (with just a minute of walking and a good three or four to get rid of the asthmatic-feeling lungs). We made it through the rest of the loop, and he even let me finish a second ahead.
It’s good and it’s hard, this parenting forever.