Cheering Us On
“Girls don’t do those long races…just boys do,” my 4-yr-old son informed me knowingly as we drove out to watch my husband’s 50-mile trail (running) race this past weekend. I asked him why he thought that, and he replied, “if girls did them, you’d be running today too, mom!”
Flattered that he thought I might be an aspiring ultra-marathoner (which in case you’re wondering, I’m not) and relived that he’s not sexist, I wasn’t quite sure how to respond. “Your dad’s insane…I’m not” didn’t feel quite right. “I don’t want to be arthritic when I’m 45” is probably a bit over his head, I thought. And “believe me, I’d much rather be on a trail than sitting in this car” sounded spiteful. So I settled on the truth. “Daddy loves these races, but I love other things. We both spend our time doing things we love…just because we choose different things doesn’t mean they’re only for boys or only for girls.” And on we went to the race, where we all cheered for every single “boy” and every single “girl” who came through the aid station.
My son’s question was important, both because of what he asked and what he didn’t ask. I’ve never heard him say anything like “why is daddy spending the whole day running? Why isn’t he with me?” He’s never upset when I head out for a bike ride or a yoga class…in fact, I often find my kids with yoga mats outstretched — practicing their own downward dogs — when I get home from yoga. Just as parents want their kids to be happy and free, I think kids…even little ones…want their parents to be the same. And even more, they are watching our every move. If we think running is cool, so do they. If we eat asparagus, the odds go up that they’ll give it a try too. If we play board games, they might opt for UNO over iPad.
This brings me to the next chapter of this blog. I’m going to start focusing content more narrowly on parents, and what they can do to hack their health and design the lives they want to lead amidst the emotional and structural challenges of raising kids. This is not turning into a parenting blog. It’s not turning into a family blog. It is a blog for the GROWN-UPS. There are a ton of amazing resources out there focused on taking care of your kids and families (and I’m not trying to undermine the importance of that in any way)…but this one is about taking care of YOU. It’s about staying connected with who you are at the core and what you care about most and what you’re working on in your life. It’s about the constant shifting of priorities that mark these years. It’s about the focus that brings peace, and the experiences that connect us.
I firmly believe that we can only help our kids become the best version of themselves if we are the best versions of ourselves. And when we’re doing those things, our kids will be there to cheer us on…just as we are for them. As I’ve said before, the kids will be alright.
P.S. If you’re not a parent, it’s my hope that you’ll still find lots of interesting ideas on this blog. Again, it’s a blog for the grown-ups, so if your “baby” is a company or a hobby or a sport or a book or a band, I encourage you to stay tuned!