Remember Saturdays before children? No? Me neither. I, too, have consciously blocked out the memories. The loss is too great. The pain, too much. And while I don’t recall specific details, I do remember the delicious, slow laziness of it all.
A SOCCER MOM IS BORN
The buck and the three-year-old joined the local soccer club this morning. So at 8.45am on a Saturday morning, I have all three kids in the car. Nobody is happy. I was out last night (important detail required to fully understand the level of effort we are talking about here.) We’re trudging across the community centre car park in that seemingly innocuous wet mist which manages to soak you to the skin in an instant. We have armfuls of water bottles, hoodies and toys which have been brought along to bear witness to the event. You can imagine the scene: raincoats dripping; crotchety squirming toddler; tiny footballers everywhere; parents looking forlorn and tired, wondering how it has come to this. At 8.45 am on a Saturday morning. 8.45. Saturday. My 20-year-old self wouldn’t believe it. My 30-year-old self would even have trouble.
I had no intention of signing the three year old up for anything this year. She’s quite young and at this age she won’t afford me the peace to a) spend an uninterrupted hour on social media, b) chat properly with mom-friends or c) scarper for a coffee and a doughnut somewhere. And there’s always the possibility of having to participate awkwardly in some sort of song and dance class, so it’s altogether unappealing.
THE MASTER PLAN
The soccer, however, was different because herself and the buck could both do their thing, at the same time AND it coincided with the local parkrun in the same location. Boom! There it was. Things falling into place. Stars aligning. This might actually work. I’ll drop ’em off, wave and cheer for the first ten minutes, run my 5K and come back in time for the end, feeling like a rock-star who has won at both parenting and fitness before brunch. Score. Pun intended.
In this reverie, I am running 5K in 25 minutes. (I’m on the clock and I have 30, at a push.) I have run 5K a total of three times in my life. And when I say ‘run’, I mean run a bit, want to die, walk some, run some more, stop, partake in very dramatic hands-on-hips panting culminating in a doubled over position and hobble the last kilometer. I’ve never done 5K in under 30 minutes. But hey, this is my vision and who am I to get in the way of those perfectly-aligned stars?
The reverie is rudely interrupted. The usually boisterous, confident, independent three-year-old has become a cling-on; head cocked, eyes down, attached to my leg, not playing ball. Literally. I am forced to cajole her into playing by taking her hand and PARTICIPATING! Running after balls, jumping over little coloured cones, feigning delight. All before coffee.
My rise to athletic grandeur will have to wait. This is Saturday morning now. And the swim class starts in an hour.
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