It is Monday and my son came downstairs early to see me. He is 7 and something didn’t look right in his face. He walked into my library where I was quietly sitting. He asked me, “Dad can you take me into the woods on an adventure to the fort we made last fall? Can you also bring your adventure knife with you so I can make some spears?” Arrghhh I thought why couldn’t he have asked me this yesterday, Sunday? He wasn’t going to school today because in the US it was “President’s Day”, which is a National Holiday.
He didn’t know that I had already been quietly wrestling with my day, which had begun a short while ago at 5AM.
Three days ago my wife had left town to play with her buddies at the beach (two groups: Tennis and drinking buddies). We had agreed 3 years ago that even though I was taking on my adventures she would continue with her quest as well, which was to achieve the highest level of tennis playing that she can. She is an ex-Olympic team member and she has been very successful in this journey of re-kindling her athletic talents.
Normally, we juggle babysitters and switching between each other, shuttling the kids between their sports and activiites while both doing our athletic passions as well. However, this weekend she couldn’t find any babysitters to watch our kids so I could train. As a result, I had to take 2 days off in a row (Saturday and Sunday), I was just completing an intense 2 week training-cycle designed to really fatigue me into mimicking the effects of MDS Marathon des Sables, which requires me to run multiple marathon type days of running in a row and my achilles was sore so I asked my coach what he thought of taking two days off in a row. He was thrilled and I was relieved.
Saturday and Sunday with no training and total kids time….yippie!
Well, Monday morning arrives and I have to start and finish the workout that was set up for Sunday and was moved to Monday (1.5 hours of biking and 1.5 hours ….with a 20 pound pack 9.5k )…..Then the guilt sets in. Gosh I need to get into work. This workout is so long. I won’t be able to get into work until much later than I want to. The noose in my mind starts to tighten. I try to journal about my frustration…..that doesn’t work. I try to meditate…..forget it!….no go here either………
It’s 7AM Time’s up!…..into my library walks my son. “Dad do you promise to take me into the woods on an adventure today with my two friends?…..I choke, “yes I do promise”.
I have an idea, “Since you have the day off why don’t you ride on your bike while I run? he agreed to go with me and I run for 1/2 hour while he bikes along side me.” Since I was wearing a 20 pound (9.5 k) pack I was not going fast. He was bored. We decided that he would go to his best friend’s house while I finished the last hour of my run. I decided to ignore the guilt of showing up to work late and go get my son after the run to fullfill my promise. Secretly I was hoping he would be having a ton of fun at his friend’s house and not want to go on the adventure anymore. I told him I needed him to come home now so we could go. He said, “dad give me a few minutes and I will be there.”. Well for a 7 year old a few minutes is not a few minutes and he never showed up at our house and just stayed playing on the trampoline at his friend’s house.
I left for work. I called my wife during the day wondering if he had said anything to her about being mad at me. She said he was having a blast playing and had said nothing to her. He mentioned nothing.
As I laid beside him last night I asked him if he was mad at me for not taking him into the woods and not fulfilling my promise to him? “He said Dad you didn’t take me in the woods, but that is ok. I am not mad. I would have been mad, but I learned how to do Back Flips today on the trampoline.” (I cringed when he said this….mainly concerned for his safety….but I said nothing). He continued, “If I didn’t learn how to do Back Flips then I would maybe be mad, but no I am not mad. I had a great day.”
I am not sure how to feel about how the day ended. I am not sure if I should have asked him if he was mad at me, but I did. I reasoned that the honest dialogue with him was better than metaphorically pretending that it didn’t happen.
I am already planning this coming weekend’s Saturday adventure.