This past weekend our town had its "Whitefield Day" celebration, with events and activities planned for the day. M and his buddy/band-mate managed to get themselves a gig opening for the professional band that was to play at midday. C and I planned to go watch his rock & roll debut, but didn't have much interest in the other aspects of the event.
But then, Thursday night, Z announced at dinner, "There's a run on Saturday. I want to do it."
"You mean the 5K?" I asked. "You really want to do that?" I had thrown the several dozen fliers that had come home from school about it in the recycling bin. I mean, who pays money to go run?
"Yeah. How far is that?"
"About three miles." I looked at C, "You wanna do it with him?"
"No way," said the spouse.
We both looked at M.
"I've got to save my breath for my show." Uh-huh.
I dug the flier out of the recycling bin. $15 per person. $30 per family. Walk or run. Okay, well, I can walk three miles, no problem. But I'd rather walk it in the woods, up a mountain, on a trail, alone or with my kids. Not on the side of the road with sixty people who paid money to run and who actually take it seriuosly. No thanks.
"You know running's bad for you," C said. Great, just what I needed, for him to discourage the kids from exercising, especially the kid who never, ever stops moving, and should probably run a 5K every day. I hushed C, dug the flier out of the recycling bin, signed us up, and talked E into walking with me.
Saturday morning, we arrived early, got our shirts and our pinnies. Z lined up at the front of the pack. E muscled to the middle, with the walk-joggers. So much for my walking partner. I worked my way to the back, where I found my friend R, who came even without her kids to drag her there, and who showed up in jeans. My kind of 5K-er. I asked some of my running friends to keep an eye on Z, but there were lots of kids in the pack so I figured he'd be okay.
About a third of the way into our walk, we saw the front of the pack returning––the people who take these things seriously––and not too far behind them was Z, red socks pulled up to his knees, red t-shirt, red baseball cap, and red cheeks. He was running and taking it seriously. I never saw E––we must have crossed paths during the short loop section––but he did finish the race, even if he never went through the finish line and handed in his sticker. And R and I didn't finish last-last––we passed a kid with a knee brace.
We went home, showered, ate lunch and returned in time to watch the debut of Double Jinx.
M played guitar, sang, and worked the crowd, saying things like, "Some of you might be too young to know this song," before launching into Nervana. They even played two songs of their own composition. I can't quite explain why it makes a mama's heart swell with pride to hear her twelve-year-old on stage singing, "A mosquito, my libido," and "Lock up your daughters, lock up your wives..." but it did. I had a tear or two in my eye, I have to say.
Music is as alien to me as running. I never played it, and most of the stuff M likes to play is music I never listened to myself (AC/DC, what?). For some reason, it shocks me every time I realize these babies I gave birth to are individual human beings, whose mission from that first moment is to become their own selves. And they're going to awe us and perplex us every step of the way. I mean, runners and rock stars? Never would have predicted that.