I might have mentioned once or twice that teenage boys are wonderful and terrible, responsible for my proudest moments and my most painful, the joy of my life and frustrating as hell. Just today, I was mimicking the grunts and shoulder shrugs that pass for conversation in my house. So when my youngest asked me this evening if I wanted to run with him, it made me happy, and I jumped at the opportunity.
My thought process went something like this. "How cool! My son respects my fitness level enough to want to run with me. And hey, I jazzercise four or five times a week. I am in pretty good shape. I can do this."
I ignored the voice whispering, "Hey dumbass, you just spent the last 3 1/2 hours hanging with your friends, and you used that social time to consume multiple glasses of wine and an order of nacho potato skins."
We ran two miles. In my head, I thought two miles would be roughly equivalent to the 40 minutes of cardio in a typical jazzercise class.
Maybe it is when I'm not full of potato skins and chardonnay. But today?? Not so much.
I did it though. I made that two miles, and I mostly kept up. Granted, my son ran slower than he usually does, but he is 16 and I'm...not. When we returned home and the burning in my lungs and the spots dancing in front of my eyes cleared, I felt a real sense of accomplishment.
I'm not a runner. Never have been. I've always seen it as a form of self-imposed torture, but my son and I have already decided to be running partners this summer. From where I'm standing, it's a total win. I add something new to my fitness regimen, but the real benefit is the time spent with my son.
We had a real conversation involving actual polysyllabic words. We talked about school. We talked about his friends. We talked about some things he was worried about. Sarcasm, frustration and anger did not raise their ugly heads in our conversation. We just talked. Chardonnay and potato skins be damned. I kept up because I wouldn't have missed that conversation for anything.
Towards the end of the run, our conversation waned. I was breathing hard and focused on finishing. Did my kid mock me? No he did not. He encouraged me.
"You got this, Mom. We're almost there."
On Tuesday, I was so frustrated with this kid, I was shaking my fist at the heavens. Today, he ran in lockstep with me, making sure we reached our destination together.
So I'm a runner now, chasing that elusive finish line where my son is happy, healthy, and mature. Lord knows it's painful, a long distance endurance run with stretches that hurt so much I just want to quit. But I know he won't let me any more than I would let him. We'll get there together.
Next time, though, I'm skipping the potato skins.