Ellie and Chloe asked to join me on my morning walk the first day after school was finished.
My chances of being bitten by a swarm of mosquitoes had just been divided by three and I finally had someone to piggy-back me down the home stretch. Sold! Hanna wanted to get her morning exercise in by scrolling through celebrity pics of people pouting into mirrors with excessive amounts of lipstick on Instagram.
I did explain that the walk was about 4kms round trip and I would not be turning around to come home part way through to fix someone’s socks or check to see if anyone had moved their Halloween candy bags from the front hall closet where they’ve been hiding since October or to get snacks, water re-fills or to see if the “new” episode of Girl Meets World is in fact “new” and not just the “new” one they’ve seen 78 times since it was newly released six months ago.
They both agreed to my terms after reminding me they are young and fit and I am old and saggy. “Not everywhere. Just mostly the face and head.”
We opened the garage door and the six year old bolted down the street in a full sprint. Sort of like the family dog being let out for the first walk in 3 days after eating some bad chili.
Ellie wanted to tell me all of the reasons she wouldn’t find this walk challenging and why old people like to make a big deal out of just about everything.
We found Chloe three doors away lying on someone’s lawn looking at the clouds, waiting for us to pass so she could ask for water and some snacks. Three. Houses. Down.
We carried on for several paces until Ellie told me her ankle was acting up and she needed to do some stretching. No problem.
The break gave Chloe an opportunity to take our only water bottle and pour it over her head in a dramatic, “Man, this is the best work-out ever!” Four. Houses. Down.
After Ellie’s lengthy series of stretches that resembled someone re-tying their shoes, we psyched ourselves up to continue our journey. Four kms was now seeming completely out of reach, my new goal was five houses with no one becoming completely dehydrated or tying their shoes together. Five. Houses. Down.
Chloe moved through the walk in chunks. She would sprint for twelve seconds, collapse for thirty-nine seconds, walk kneeling forward suggesting her energy reserves were protected if she kept everything crunched at her core until she was ready to run again.
Ellie’s bones were hurting.
Chloe’s ribs were spiking.
Six. Houses. Down.
We agreed to call it quits after three mosquito bites (each) and I found myself high-fiving the kids (for what?) while admitting aloud that they were better athletes than I could ever hope to be.
It’s going to be a long summer.