I sometimes run out of words.
I am fairly certain for those who know me in my personal life this has prompted a smile. I tend to be ‘naturally’ wordy, which indeed has its benefits in the way of column writing. Sadly, even my ‘short’ thoughts are run on sentences.
So, when faced in these situations of ‘out of words’ with a column looming I look to outside sources. The trick of course is how to spin it from there, since a column is a different type of animal. Quite simply, it’s my thoughts. Sometimes I ask my kids, other times friends.
As our elementary schools gear up for the annual Jog A Thon, my duo is a little single minded. Their ideas were pretty direct: Ask the readers to send money to sponsor us. Write about how many laps we want to run. Then the extra special first grade perspective of my youngest: Write about how this is my LAST year on the small track.
Clearly this was a week where I turned to my phone and sent out a text to a friend. They would have to have something palpable.
As hoped, they did. My friend shared their recent concern with the overall health of our kids and how we role model versus dictate they be more active.
The text went on to place it in the perspective of myself and my duo and how my journey to become more healthy and fit has affected them as well.
Truthfully, I don’t give it much thought anymore. Running and activity is just now a natural part of our lives. They understand their mommy ‘trains,’ which is something you do to properly prepare for a goal or commitment. They’re swimmers, a dancer and a pianist so practice or training is par for the course.
As the friend and I spoke however, I did begin to realize and recognize the validity of the words and how it really has changed the ‘activity’ in our small family.
First, mommy is no longer just simply a spectator. They now have a turn to watch and cheer for me, which is pretty awesome for all three of us. Kids tend to naturally be proud of their parents. One of the things I love most about running is its inclusion and encouragement of family. My children now pick ‘races’ (aka Fun Runs) and ultimately receive their own medals. I never pressure, just inquire if there is interest. They are both quick to let me know when a distance or location is not one which interests them and I’m okay with that. Running (for us) is fun and as long as the ship is being steered by mommy we’ll keep it that way.
My daughter seems to be more driven to run races more frequently than my son. Her athletic build lends itself to running and her form is pretty natural, creating little effort. On a recent hike the two of them began discussing the 2014 Calendar with me. Yes, I’m already looking ahead to what races I’d like to cross off my 2014 list. My daughter requested a mommy/daughter race.
Recognizing my son’s interest in other activity, I began ‘brainstorming’ a bit on other activities/races they might like. Sidenote: my duo are suckers for all things in the way of ‘race swag.’ They love seeing what ‘free’ stuff mommy comes home with next. A family triathlon was added to our bucket list.
What I love most about this chapter, this new place that we now find ourselves in is the all-inclusiveness of it. We actually have fun doing these things as a family.
As an added bonus, they now look at food differently than prior years. I am not a food fanatic, but training breeds disciplined eating. The foods I choose and why are not natural conversation at our dinner table, all stemming around health. I do not speak of diet, I speak of health and the benefits the right foods offer in the way of performance and recovery.
One should not be confused by the previous paragraph. I was not a health major in college. Food for fuel was the farthest thing from my mind until I decided to make health a priority versus a bucket list item.
My childhood doctor summed it up best on a visit we had most recently. As I spoke of how great I feel, my energy level and the positive affects ‘mommy being healthy’ has had on our family. I stated, I’m in better shape now (physically) than I was at 28. To this my doctor simply stated, “As it should be. This is how you ensure longevity.”
So there you have it. As we watch our kids run up and down a soccer field, tackle another on a football field or cheer from a box on the sidelines… ponder that. Longevity. What are you doing now to ensure, better yet to model that 25 to 30 years from now you will be able to do the same for their children.
That’s the trick, the cycle is ours to break. The real question is… are you ready?
One thing I know for sure… your kids are and once you commit and make the choice the sky is truly the limit.
Teresa Hammond is the circulation manager and a former reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.