Ever since the children were little, we have tried to eat dinner at the table as a family. I suppose it started as an excuse to talk to the children, and to get them to talk – to tell stories about what we had done during the day. When I say “we”, I of course mean “everybody except me”, because nobody ever asks what I have done. I complained about it once – and my other half stopped the children:
“Why don’t you ask Dad what he did today?”
“What did you do today Dad?”
I had their undivided attention, and launched into a really interesting overview of a workflow I was building to integrate two business systems. My other half waited for me to finish, and then said this:
“And that’s why we don’t ask Dad what he did today.”
They all laughed.
Anyway. I sat down for dinner this evening and Miss 19 sat opposite, looking like thunder.
“Are we going running tonight then?”, I asked, in the most uplifting tone I could summon.
“It’s training night!”
“I’m too tired.”
I very nearly lost my shit instantly. Thankfully Miss 14 interrupted.
“I’ll come running with you Dad!”
It’s very difficult to talk Miss 14 out of things – she is perhaps the most optimistic, persuasive, instantly likeable people pleaser I have ever known. And that’s how we ended up getting ready to go running together an hour after dinner.
SHE RAN TWO MILES!
We ran a loop into town, along the high street, and back towards home. Normally the training consists of intervals of several minutes running with a minute walk inbetween, but I wondered how far my younger daughter could run, given that I had never been out with her before. It’s worth noting that she goes to a special school – a sports academy, so does some form of sport every day.
I worried throughout the two miles that I would be causing some sort of lasting damage to her legs, so repeatedly slowed her to a gentle jog – asking again and again if she was ok – if she was tired.
Towards the end I think the people-pleaser side of her nature had kicked in, and she was actually knackered, but I didn’t say anything. While running we talked about all sorts of things (or at least, the all sorts of things that run through the mind of a 14 year old girl – mainly about her friend who’s online accounts had been hacked earlier in the evening after she told a stranger her passwords).
We both agreed that perhaps it might be best if she doesn’t tell her big sister how far she ran.
Talking of big sisters, apparently I’m heading back out tomorrow night with Miss 19 to do intervals training. I wonder if my legs will remember all about this running lark, or if they’ll start complaining bitterly?
While out running this evening, we passed one of the leaders from the club session earlier in the week, I presume out with her regular mid-week running friends. She waved and cheered as we passed each other – the smile on Miss 14’s face was priceless.