Monday morning I dragged two slightly grumpy grade-schoolers and one plenty happy toddler to the Y so that I could run. The two older ones felt cheated because it was their Spring Break and they didn’t want to spend it at the Y, but Mommy knew that it was their Spring Break and they’d end up at the Y with me at some point, so it might as well be now.
As I was punching in my code at the Y, G said, “I’ll run with you today, Mom.” Which he’s never done but which we have talked about. I looked at him in his jeans while trying to keep Baby Chickadee with me instead of marching to her well-loved KidZone and responded to this unplanned event a bit too dismissively, “Not today, babe. You’re not even wearing shorts.”
Frustration scrunched his face and I KNEW: the episode from an hour earlier washed over me, when he stood in the bathroom doorway and asked if his t-shirt/shorts outfit was fine and I said, “No, they don’t match and it’s too cold out for shorts.” But my mind zeroed in on the split second his eyes transmitted a thought he didn’t voice before he turned away to change into jeans.
That boy had been planning to run with me and I hadn’t even caught it.
After my run I sat in front of him and told him how sorry I was that I hadn’t understood his plans but that we would definitely run together later in the week. Tuesday wouldn’t work but Wednesday, WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON we’d run together. And he nodded with a combination smile of faint hope and still small sadness at getting pushed aside 45 minutes earlier.
Wednesday afternoon turned into Wednesday evening but we did it. We ran together. I prepped him on the different lanes and how he needs to stick to one lane when running, one when walking, and for the most part he got it. Luckily not too many people were there, allowing for him to sometimes keep his arms perfectly straight as he nodded his head in sheer eight-year-old-boy goofiness, and allowing him to sprint off in front of me before hiding around the corner to scare me.
For the most part we walked together and talked about… I can’t even remember. But he talked to me and it was good.
Because I’ve told you guys before how he complains that I never play with me. His Love Language of Gift Giving has slowly morphed into Quality Time, and while I hang out with him in the living room while he plays video games and I watch him ride his bike and I bake him food he enjoys, none of that is playing with him because I’m not playing video games and I’m not riding my bike next to him. I’ve battled this internally for a while, but I’ve come to the conclusion that someday he’ll be glad I was around a lot with yummy baked goods, even if I wasn’t the mom who played with him.
But this running thing might be it. A day after our run, he told Hubby he wants to do it again. And so maybe, just maybe, we’ll be the mom and son that run together and that will be our thing.