Four days of sledding were behind us, all the presents had been opened and there were no more visitors heading our way, Christmas vacation was winding down at the Thompson household and Lulu was running out of ideas for keeping the kids entertained. Then Nona, our five year old came up with a simple request that proved to be the best gift of the season.
“Mom,” she asked, “will you take me out for a run?”
A full circuit of our little neighborhood is just slightly over 1/3 of a mile. Nona wanted to bang out three loops. She didn’t care that it was just below freezing and she wouldn’t hear of running anything less than three, she had a goal and was quite determined to make it happen. So Mom, suited up, got Nona into her soft purple Nike track suit, capped her off with a hat and some mittens and away they went. For the full distance, the chatter never stopped, with her bouncing, fawnlike stride, Nona giggled and gabbed through the full three laps. She made some noise about wanting to go even longer, but ultimately decided that the three would be just fine.
When she got home, she informed us all that “it was great” and she wanted to go again tomorrow.
In the New Year, Nonny has gone out for a run more days than she hasn’t. Sometimes she cuts it short of a mile but every time, she enjoys herself. It’s part of what she looks forward to in her day. And her enthusiasm for the work has been contagious.
The other morning, I was standing at the sink shaving when Drew showed up by my side fully decked out in running clothes.
“What are you doing?” I wanted to know, it was 6:30 and the sun was just starting to fire up the rim of the world.
“Going for a run,” he said.
No doubt influenced by his younger sister, Drew had responded to the most benevolent kind of peer pressure. He has made the 6:30am mile a regular part of his day. Today, I ran it with him and when he finished he told me that even though it’s hard, “I feel so good knowing I got it done.”
There are a lot of days I question why I commit the time I do to running. But this latest development in my kids, seems all the answer I need. In an age where we have to actually encourage children to get outside and play, it’s good to know that my guys for now, at least, find happiness in exercise. If they learn anything from me, I would be pleased were it only this.