Spending quality time with one’s children is something that most parents realise the importance of but life does kind of have a habit of getting in the way a bit. I’m sure I’m not alone in my daily-reflection on the lack of biscuit baking, balloon modelling and piano recitals with my offspring, thinking ‘bugger, another day’s gone by without parent-child quality bonding time!”
So, a couple of years ago, in an attempt to address this internal daily berating of my woeful parenting skills, I thought, “I know what, I’ll introduce my daughter to sometime I LOVE DOING” A genius idea! Win win…
It’s fair to say she was positively underwhelmed when I presented her with her very own Parkrun barcode (I’d laminated it and everything!) She was at first what you’d call a reluctant participant. There were tears and tantrums and serious sulking (and that was just me) But I knew this was just a cunning facade, she was secretly enjoying being dragged out of bed to run for 45 minutes with a hideous stitch and anyway, the alternative of piano recitals while balloon modelling a giraffe and nibbling on burnt biscuits with me was not an option.
Fast forward 2 years and we arrived at a local ‘Fun Run’. A word of warning, never ever trust a race which sells itself as a ‘We’re Not Competitive At All, It’s Just About The Taking Part’ type of ‘fun run’; they’re liars, the lot of them!
Anyway, it was too late to back down, I was there in my capacity of mother to a now very able running daughter who had deviously developed a bit of a competitive streak and as Coach to my many C2-5k protégés; it’s fair to say I’d have happily swapped for some giraffe balloon modelling at this point.
On the one hand there was my daughter who thinks I’m just some bossy old woman who USED to be able to run a bit but peaked about 100 years ago, so it doesn’t t count and on the other there’s the C2-5k graduates who think I’m some Olympic athlete who’s obviously going to win the ‘not competitive at all fun run’ because I’m always in my Active Leisure Wear and am somehow related to Mo Farrah…
“You just go on ahead Mum, I’m not feeling it today and my calf is twinging a bit” said my now ‘sounding like a real runner’ daughter.
So I set off on the ‘g’ of bang (my reaction times aren’t what they used to be) and hurtled off with all the other ‘fun’ runners at about 6 minute miling with my daughter shouting “You’re going way too fast for me!”
It would appear I was also going ‘way too fast’ for me too as she glided past me in the final 200m, shouting an encouraging “Stick on my shoulder mum, come on, dig in, KEEP UP!!” and then proceeded to put 3 seconds on me, which may not sound a lot, but believe me, it looks a lot in the photos!
Of course I’m thrilled for my daughter, she’s flourishing as a runner and is a fantastic role model to her teenage friends but there is an insey-winsey (OK, quite big part of me!) that’s actually envious of where she is at on her running journey. right now. She’s improving and enjoying the new found confidence it’s giving her and making friendships and creating lots of fabulous stories to tell and I’m immensely proud of her. I just wish she’d get so much better that I’ve no chance of keeping up with her so I can stop being so bloomin’ competitive and just give up altogether!
I’m also mightily relieved that my bossy-style of parenting has actually produced a positive outcome and not put her (and me) in therapy for years. However, next time I think we need some quality bonding time then I’ll just buy some bloody balloons!