I am Mom, and therefore frequently prepared for many unexpected emergencies of life, but I am not prepared for everything. Bear’s school, like most elementary schools, falls short on its funds every year for little extras like computers or books or something, and has to turn to the neighboring community and solicit monetary help. When I was a kid we sold Sally Foster wrapping paper, and we trudged door to door with our slick color catalogues, hoping to entice our neighbors of any denomination to shell out the sheckels for cheap, thin, gaudily decorated Christmas and Hanukkah wrap. My mother dreaded it. (And I finally know why. Rather than get the pretty, sturdy, and tasteful paper she wanted to wrap our presents in, she felt obligated to order twenty rolls of that overpriced crap. Ah, the good old days.)
When I moved from public to Catholic school, I didn’t have to sell wrapping paper anymore. Yes! Now I could sell CHOCOLATE! That was just as overpriced, but understandably easier to swallow.
In these enlightened days kids don’t have to sell paper or paper-wrapped confections door to door. Instead our school hosts a 5K and 1K “fun run” to raise money. And of course, people can donate online. So we decided, as enterprising parents of a Kindergartner, to get with the program. I signed up to run the 5K. I didn’t think much about it. Bear was so excited for the 1K. Dr. A was less excited for the idea of entertaining the three of them while I ran. What was I thinking? I am not a person who finds running fun. I am a person who finds signing up for things and later telling funny stories about them fun. But running? Sometimes I can really be an idiot. I just thought, “Gee, I’ll be so healthy, this is great!”
In many ways it was great. I was also greatly surprised when Bear refused to line up at the last minute, and she absolutely positively did not run. I was flabbergast, and embarrassed, because all the other kids were excited and it was just supposed to be about fun and how did my five-year-old turn into an over-stressed and over-scheduled female who cracked under the pressure to perform? I had no idea she was so much like me!
Boo, on the other hand, asked over and over again for a number and wanted to run with all the other kids just for the sheer joy of running. So clearly I registered the wrong kid. I promised Bear I would do the 1K with both of them next year, and Dr. A could finally try some form of land-based exercise. Do you know we have been married for what rounds up to a decade, and I have never seen the man run? I mean not counting chasing progeny down the sidewalk or out of the street, of course.
But how was I unprepared? Only because I ended up completing the 5K with Bitsy in an umbrella stroller. I was not the only stroller jogger, but I’m pretty sure I was the only one without a jogging stroller. Of course, I have a jogging stroller, and I use it all the time for Stroller Strides, where jogging is for short spurts and infinitely optional. But mine is a double jogger, which is roughly the size of the Titanic, and when the thought occurred to me at 11 p.m. the night before the run, “Gee, what is Doc gonna do with all three kids on the sidelines for 40 minutes? Hmm…Better push the baby,” it was immediately followed with “Man…I don’t want to push the double jogger…” and I, foolishly, just packed the umbrella. How many women do I know who own a single jogger she was probably not going to be using that Saturday morning? Plenty. Did the thought occur to me? Nope. Did I wish about five-hundred times while huffing and puffing during the three-mile run that I was A.) not running and/or B.) pushing a smooth-rolling, high-handled baby jogger instead of a futsy four-wheeled umbrella? Yep. Did I keep (walk-jog-run-walk-jog-)running anyway? You betcha. Because it was fun? NO WAY! Because I am stubborn.
But hey, we all gotta be something.
I would also like to note how kind the race volunteers were. They all kept shouting, “Coffee and doughnuts waiting at the finish line! Coffee and doughnuts waiting!” But of course I didn’t have a doughnut. I had a banana, and later a hot bath, and then I declared to Dr. Awesome that I was taking the rest of the day off and would eat a steak and lounge around reading magazines in my bathrobe and would he mind taking three whining children to the grocery store? And he didn’t mind. Because he’s awesome. But I think that might have a little to do with why he wants to run the 5K next year.