July 31, 2009

A year older/wiser?

Last year, I wrote about the upcoming family vacation with a similar enthusiasm. This year our trip is tempered somewhat by the myriad of activities that have usurped the lazy, hazy days.

The two older children are both entrenched in (oh my goodness) HIGH SCHOOL activities. The paper work and cajoling it took with the leaders of these activities to allow our children to vacation this year was incredible.

Once again, my spouse gets to assume control of my exceedingly cool Minivan. I just know he is chomping at the bit to take over, so he can indeed prove how good he is at *making time*. I still haven't followed through on my threat to put a bumper sticker about honor students or loving our dog on the rear end of it. This does mean he's one year closer to the alloted midlife crisis vehicle.

Once again, we have chosen our tie-dye shirts and this year's color will be dark green. Once again, our younger ones struggle with how old they have to be to still share a co-ed room. Once again, we wonder if they still will find potty humor funny. My younger one has been warming up her "grossology" inventory. Once again, we wonder how many margaritas it will require for us to admit that "a police officer standing in poo is on dooty*. C'mon, you know you chuckled!

Once again, we cherish each minute of each day we spend together.

We logically know it won't last forever, but, once again, we refuse to admit it.

Viva la Vacation!

July 23, 2009

Lazy, Hazy or Crazy, Dazy?

A random comment with another writer friend inspired today's post.

Gone are the days of "nothing to do". Today's parent strives to provide every opportunity for their child. No child is denied the chance to participate in anything that strikes their fancy. I don't even consider my children particularly busy, but their activities do demand a great deal of their time.

The younger one is on a softball team. That starts in April and goes through the end of June. There were usually 3 games a week. With only 11 girls on the team, missing a game needed a good excuse. Missing more than a game was a ticket to warming the bench. So we didn't miss.

My older one is in the marching band and on the cross country team. We were informed that the 4th of July parade counted toward their grade. We also were informed that band camp begins August 1st and that it is mandatory. Cross country training began in late June, but is not mandatory until August 1st also. The band director and cross country coach have coordinated the practice schedules so she will have a half hour between the two. I have pages of colored calendars and websites to cross reference. There are days I think I need a spreadsheet to keep track of where children need to be and when. One day, I logged 70 miles on my car and never went more than 5 miles from my house.

I contrast this with my own childhood. We lived on a small farm. We had our chores, naturally. We had animals to feed in the morning and the gardens to weed or pick sometime during the day. But I remember the afternoons spent lying underneath a willow tree by the creek, making daisy chains. I remember the kick ball games that all the kids who were close enough to ride their bikes would meet at our house. I remember mud pies and fishing poles.

What I don't remember is a shuttle service, an activity driven summer of running from one activity to the next. I don't remember wishing for a day off. I don't remember having to get to bed early because I had to get up for practice the next morning. We would run around catching fireflies, playing flashlight tag, and telling ghost stories.

I wonder when we became afraid of unstructured days and nights. I wonder when we became afraid of having down time. I wonder when it went out of vogue to give your children the luxury of free time. But mostly... I wonder, why it is considered a luxury?

July 13, 2009

Just Another Mile(stone)

A few weeks ago, I challenged myself and committed in writing to run a 5K this time next year. My daughter is a runner on the highschool Cross Country team and really works hard at it.

I'm not, nor have I ever been, athletic. I trip over air, I throw like a girl, and I generally spend more time bruising myself than bulking up. When I played on our town softball team as a kid, the most running I did was to close up the coaches' windows if it looked like rain. When I was in college, I delayed my phys ed requirement until my last quarter before graduation. I thought I was being clever by taking volleyball, where I could coast and the rest of the class would pick up my slack. I wound up with Rambo the volleyball instructor. His insistence that we wouldn't pass his class without serving a volleyball overhand almost prevented me from receiving my college degree. In short, athletic has never been an adjective people use to describe me. The most athletic feature on my body is my mouth.

I work out a minimal amount, in areas where I cannot hurt anyone, i.e., alone in my basement, not at a gym where I may subject myself to ridicule or wipe out an entire aerobics class with one misstep. (It's happened). I've worked several charity 5Ks as the person who sells raffle tickets or hands out bottles of water at the finish line. I've watched young, old, large, and small people participate and always insisted I was best behind the scenes, not running with the pack.

Then it happened. I realized that for all my encouragement that my offspring "could do it", I was not walking the walk. I was only talking the talk. It was time to run something besides my mouth. I'm not excited by my proclamation that I would run with her next year, but figured if a senior citizen with two knee braces could do it (I watched him at the last 5K we attended), so could I.

Today after a few weeks of rather embarrassing attempts, I ran an entire mile without stopping. But that isn't the best part. Two days ago, I was running with my daughter (with being a rather generous term as she was quite a bit in front of me). She had rounded the turnaround and was coming back towards me and she was cheering me on. I cannot think of a better feeling.

Maybe that is what is meant by a runner's high.


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