I took Big Man running with me this morning. Well, we kinda made him get up, made him get dressed and shoved him out the door. He was whining all the way. He’s gone with me a couple of times before. They run the mile once a week at school, and he’s pretty fast. He generally likes to run too. And, let’s face it, at 5 ft tall, and just 72 pounds, he’s kind of built to be a runner. So I dragged him out the door.
He trudged along beside me as we walked to the gate of our development. “Why do I have to go running? I don’t want to go running!” ARGH!! I thought to myself maybe I should just send him back home. Selfishly I knew if I didn’t have him with me, my run would be much more what I wanted and thought I needed. But we’ve made it a “thing” that he will run with me on Saturday mornings, so we carried on. As we hit the gate, we started running. He was quickly ahead of me. He is faster in the short distances….way faster….like 2 minutes a mile faster. I let him go on ahead, keeping him in my sights. Once he started running, the whining and complaining stopped.
At 3/4’s of a mile, he stopped and turned to wait for me. I caught up and started walking, thinking he might need a break. “No,” he said, “I was just waiting for you to catch up.” “Okay, then, let’s start running again then.” He made it another 1/10th of a mile, and started walking again. I let him walk for a little bit. The remainder of the 2.5 miles was spent walking and running at intervals. I felt myself getting frustrated. This is not how I train. This is not how I run. I wanted him to conform, to do it my way. But then I just started looking around. It was a gorgeous morning….low 50’s, sunny skies, lots of fellow runners and walkers, people on the golf course, people arriving at the Little League fields….and I was running with my oldest baby, the one we weren’t sure would ever be around to run, much less be able to run when he was born.
I remembered back to the days 13 years ago – a new mom struggling so mightily to force schedule and routine on an infant, and failing miserably. I remembered calling my mom in tears, crying to her that I couldn’t do this. I couldn’t get anything done I wanted, I couldn’t do anything without taking an eternity to get him and myself ready. I was frustrated he simply would not conform and do it my way. The best advice I’ve ever received from my mother came in that moment. “Let go,” she said. “Let go and just enjoy the time with him. He will figure out his routine. You will work it out. It isn’t all about you any more. That’s being a mom.”
I looked at him walking beside me. I let go. This part of my run, the part spent walking and running with him would be how he needs it to be. I would let go of my need to be so structured, realize that it isn’t all about me anymore. I have this time with him now, this time of being and watching and encouraging him. And our time is getting shorter every day. In under six years, he will be off to college, starting his life. I let go. We walked, and we ran, and we walked again. He ran through the finish corner, and then continued home while I took another 2.5 mile loop running “my way.” My run wasn’t ruined by letting go. I still got my five miles completed in almost exactly the same time it would have been without walking. His running pace negated the slower walking time. Funny how that works out, isn’t it?