I love my morning walks. I also hate getting out of bed in the morning 30 minutes earlier than absolutely necessary. I always have to give myself a pep talk: “Don’t think about it, just get out of bed”, “You’ll be glad you did it later in the day”, etc… but once I’m up and out the door, I really do love it. Even if it’s dark and rainy and cold, it’s worth it. It helps me keep my sanity, clear my head, improve my posture, which saves my back, and it keeps me healthy… physically, mentally and spiritually. It’s also a rare time I can separate from my children and their constant needs, as well as my working life, and just BE. But lately my 5 going on 15 year old daughter has been begging me to take her with her. This is not new, but it’s getting more persistent, and she’s finally getting to the age where she could possibly keep up, so I thought we could give it a try (grudgingly releasing my hold on the alone time part of it). So, last Saturday we took a test walk. She almost immediately asked if we could make a stop at a coffee shop. “Not this time, we need to keep walking and get our heart rates up.” “But I’m SO thirsty for hot chocolate,” she complains. “When we get home, I’ll make you some,” I say. Then she asks to stop at the playground in the park. I say, “I told you, if you want to do these kinds of walks with me, we can’t stop, we need to keep walking.” She starts dragging her feet, and I’m nowhere close to getting my heart rate up. “What about running?” I say. “You like to run.” So she starts running. This is more like it. Now I’m trying to keep up with her and getting a fast walk going. She even turns it into a game by racing me to the end of each block (I always let her win), and we make it all the way home like that. Cool! This is maybe going to work after all, I think. On Monday, I get up to walk again. It is a school day, it’s pouring down rain and super dark, and I really hate to wake her up when her days are so long already, so I sneak out without her. When I get home, she meets me at the door with tears pouring down her cheeks. “Mom, I thought you were going to let me walk with you!” she sobs. We cuddle on the couch for awhile as I tell her my reasons for not waking her up early, and I show her how soaking wet I am, which of course she already knows from throwing her arms around me as soon as I walked in the door. “Are you really sure you want to go with me next time? Even though it’s dark and wet and cold and super early?” “Yes”, she says stubbornly. So we make a plan to lay out warm clothes the night before, and I tell her she’ll have to get dressed quickly, etc. Then, the following day, I wake her up and she quickly hops out of bed and gets dressed. We walk out the door and get 1/2 block away before she says,”Is it the middle of the night?” “No, it’s just really early in the morning, the sun won’t come up for another 1 1/2 hours.” Then we get about 3 blocks, and she says, “I think I want to go back to bed now.” “Really?” I ask. “Sometimes I need to go a little bit further before I really wake up.” “No, I’m sure,” she says. So I walk her back home, telling her that it’s probably better that we take our walks together on the weekends, when it’s light out, and we can maybe stop at a coffee shop, or the playground. Then I head back out to finish the walk on my own. She hasn’t asked to go with me again in the mornings, realizing that I was right about the early hour, and I’m proud of my parenting decision to let her discover this on her own. But I can’t help feeling a little bit smug, getting my alone time back and walking at my own pace again. At least during the weekdays.
The hens have also been quite anxious for their morning walks around the mud pit that used to be our backyard. Like Mae, they would not prefer to come out while it is still dark, but at the crack of dawn, they’ve been squawking their little heads off to be let out of their coop. I swear, it’s almost like we have a rooster, and I really hope the neighbors don’t start complaining.
The cats are quite sympathetic to their desires, especially as we’ve been getting some nice February “spring-tease” weather here these last few days. They’ve been sitting in the windows, soaking up as much of the flighty sun as possible, and probably daydreaming about getting out there and chasing after those lucky chooks!