One of my 2012 New Year's resolutions was to become more active...much more active - I would like to say by the end of the year that I am in the best shape of my life. I've been good about working towards that goal so far, but I slipped a bit recently; I've been so lazy this week and I felt a bit worried about falling off the exercise wagon completely. I just didn't feel like running or any other exercise, despite making grand plans to get a good workout or two in at the gym. Yesterday afternoon, I had planned on going to the gym before my elder stepson came home from school, but I didn't do that either...lazy, lazy, lazy!
Somehow or another, I finally found my motivation about an hour after dinner last night. The gym is close to where we live, so I decided to run down there and have a punishing workout, arriving back home just before the guys' bedtime. I announced my intentions to my family and my elder stepson immediately begged to go with me. Both of my stepsons are too young to use the gym, even supervised by an adult, so I couldn't let him come with me for my weight circuits. Rather than just say "no," I suggested a run instead - a quick one to the gym and back. He eagerly agreed and within minutes, we were out jogging together under the street lamps.
My elder stepson is 13 now and, like most boys at that age, he's already starting to break away from who he was as a child to forge his own personality as a young man. We see him less than we used to because he spends more time doing his own thing these days. While this is definitely good and healthy, it makes all of us grown-ups a bit wistful because we see that he's not a little boy anymore.
When we reached the gym, neither of us were tired, so we kept going...and going, and going. Next thing we knew, we were more than two miles from home and still feeling quite robust. I was very impressed with my stepson's stamina. He's obviously much younger than I am and a lot of that energy is effortless, but I've been training since November to be able to run this long without stopping and he still did it like it was no big deal at all.
The two of us had some good chat out there, and we planned out routes we'd like to take on future runs. We arrived back home just before the guys' bedtime, feeling quite tired but proud of ourselves. We both agreed to do it again the following Wednesday evening, which is the one night that nobody in our family has any scheduled activities. I dropped to sleep exhausted not long after the guys did, feeling very much back on the fitness wagon. My husband mapped our route on Google Earth and it turns out that we ran 4.66 miles. I felt great about that, and even better about having a new activity to do with a certain young man in our house.
If I could wrap this story up with a moral for those of us with kids in our lives (especially those of the adolescent persuasion), it would be to remain open to connecting with them in a variety of ways. When my stepson asked if he could join me at the gym, I could have easily said "no, you're too young" and gone off to do my own workout. But instead, I tried to make room for him in my plan and was hugely rewarded for it. Sometimes the answer really is "no," but if the kids are wanting to do an activity with you, it's probably in your best interests to turn it into a "yes" somehow.