You know the best way to ensure that you get your miles in? Do them with someone you love. And do them for them instead of yourself.
I have two sons. Maddox is 9. Tyson is 6. Tyson is like my husband. He’s shorter and stockier and athletic. He plays soccer without a care in the world. He sprints faster than I do.
Maddox is my thinker. He’s a proper genius and has been since he was tiny. I have videos of him naming every county in the world on a blank map when he was 2 1/2 years old.
Unattended fruit bowls would be arranged into scale models of the solar system, including dwarf planets and moons, while I was in the shower. Ganymede and Europa were grapes. He’d fetch an egg from the fridge for Haumea. I swore up and down that if he ate one more organic honeycrisp apple into the shape of Saturn I’d sell him to a traveling circus.
Kidding. Sort of.
This is the year he insisted on attending the school Halloween parade as an astronomically accurate model of Jupiter that I managed to create under his close supervision with a massive balloon, paper maché, and a lot of patience….
But he’s not really a born athlete. He loves team sports and insists on playing soccer every season but he’s happy just being out there with his team. He just this good kid who’s smart and kind and happy and I can fully identify with the fact that he’s not lining up to run the mile in gym class because that was me too at his age.
But we run together. We’ve started doing it more because I want him to be able to stay on the soccer team as the kids around him keep getting better. But also because I want him to see his body get stronger. I want him to feel as empowered as I do when I’m out there. I want him to look back on earlier runs and see how much stronger he’s gotten simply by staying with it. And I also want to spend time by his side, going at his pace, no matter how fast or slow. I want to hear the stories that he doesn’t have time to tell me during the regular day. I want to watch sunrises and sunsets with him while his brother sprints ahead and walks back over and over again.
I want these to be the memories that we look back on when he’s grown. I don’t know if these runs together will make him a track star or just a kid that can last through an entire soccer game without getting winded. Honestly, I don’t really care. I just want to be next to him along the way.
And the crazy thing is, I’m getting stronger next to him and not even noticing – because these runs aren’t about me.
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I want to hear your stories too. Do you run or bike or walk or swim with your kids? What has it done for them and you and your relationship?