Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Not Running in the Rain

It’s a beautiful rainy day.

I love the rain. It doesn’t rain enough in Southern California, so when it does we celebrate.

But the bad side of rain is that sometimes I use it as an excuse to skip the morning run. (I use anything for an excuse to skip the morning run.)

Running in gentle spring rain is exhilarating. I actually love it. But this morning Kip didn’t want to run and I didn’t feel like running alone, so I tried something I haven’t in a very long time – an exercise DVD. I don’t really like exercise programs because I have to constantly pause and concentrate on whether or not I am doing anything resembling the perfectly agile host. But I probably need to learn a few new stretches, crunches, whatever those exercises are called that tone and firm all those problem areas.

So here I am in the living room, with my exercise ball, two little free weights, staring at the TV. Denise Austin, no relation to Jane, is clapping and smiling at me.

“Great Job!! You’re doing great!”


The rapidly deflating exercise ball slips out from under me and I flop to the floor. I’m no longer tightening my abs, working my glutes.

My six year old, who is sitting on the couch dutifully watching my contortions and pushing pause on the remote every time I scream, “Stop it! Am I doing it right?” looks at Denise.

“Is she a mom?”

“Yeah, I think so.”

“She seems like it.”

My husband, who is effortlessly doing a 100 or so sit ups, stops to check out the TV.

“She has had kids?”

I’m fighting to keep the ball under my lower back.

“Don’t say it.”

My sleepy 10 year-old daughter wanders through the living room.

“Cool you’re using the ball.”

”Go get dressed,” I grunt, desperately trying to emulate a very easy looking crunch.

“She’s weird,” my daughter comments as she wanders back through the living room five minutes later.

“Why is she all like, “Yeah!!””

She does a frightening impression.

“Yeah I don’t know, I think she was a cheerleader or something.”

My daughter smiles and I am amazed at how she has come to accept my dry sense of humor, my slight sarcasm. She seems to know when I’m trying to be funny. But somehow she knows when to take me seriously too. I wonder how long she will let me paint her reality. I respect her intelligence, and I try to always tell her the truth, as far as I can. So maybe she’ll let me have a voice in her heart for a long time. I hope so.

So that is how I started my day. In my world, a simple exercise DVD is a family affair. And what should be a personal struggle has become a family learning experience. As annoying as it is, it is kind of what I idealize, living life together, transparently, letting my kids see me try hard, maybe even fail.

On the other hand I like the relative peace of running through our neighborhood – alone.

If it rains tomorrow morning, I’m going to run.

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