I would never choose to run. If I could be skinny and never exercise, I’d pick that, which is just ridiculous, because NOTHING focuses me and calms me down and takes the edge off my stress like a run in the morning. I just feel like I leave a little something out there, and I am better for it, for the rest of the day.
And often I have my best ideas and my most clear thoughts as I am slogging along that same three mile loop, or when I am walking Eli back and forth to preschool. Somehow this is when everything else backs away and at this point those 45 minutes are the closest thing I have to therapy, so I am not sure why I don’t appreciate them more. I am not sure why I don’t want to run, when it’s so obvious how much I need to.
Often as I am walking a to pick up Eli from preschool, I feel a pervasive sense of dread, especially on high pressure days where I know he won’t want to do something they have planned. I wonder if I am doing the right thing, and of course I think of my own childhood, all the times I made my brother pay for something at the grocery store because I was too shy to speak to a cashier, of how I hated to talk on the phone, of how it often felt as though my mother just couldn’t stand this intensely shy part of me, how she demanded I shake hands with adults and look people in the eye and how we somehow ended up with a relationship where I couldn’t tell her that I didn’t/couldn’t/wouldn’t wear pink elastic waisted cords to Outdoor School in the Sixth grade. And then I wonder what books I should be reading, if it’s wrong to try to fix a shy child, if Eli is having fun at preschool, if he hates every minute of it, if he’s just the way he is or if I should be demanding he shake hands and look people in the eye, and I hope he doesn’t remember hating school, because I hated day care and after school baby sitters so much that I can still remember intensely how awful those hours were as if it happened yesterday.
I don’t want that for my son, I really don’t, and I will do the best I can to make sure that doesn’t happen. He does need to do some things he doesn’t want to do. And I am very glad that I am now able to look other people in the eye and stick out my hand and introduce myself. I am grateful for my mom’s voice in my head every time I meet a new person, for that instinctual reaction she drilled into me. But the other day as I was walking to preschool to pick him up for the Halloween Party, as I relived my childhood and cycled through all that dread all over again in that thirty minute walk, I realized something.
I cannot use my son’s childhood to fix my own.
I can try and try and try, but it will not work. My childhood is done, and what will be will be. I can learn some things from it, but nothing I can do now can change what was. And I think it might be time for me to move on, and to figure out how to not be a mom and also at the same time a miserable five year old stuck at day care.
I cannot use my son’s childhood to fix my own. Wow. Mind blowing.
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