Friday night I’m pretty sure I earned my parent of the year award. I took my daughter to a cross-country race that turned into more than a half hour of misery.
Let’s back up–I have run three 5ks with her now, all of which she has enjoyed and managed to do with nary of step of walking. I told her about this cross country series and we made plans to hit it. Go to three of the six races over the summer and you earn a tech tee. She was game. Or so I thought.
Let me set the stage for you: We get to the race, which begins at 6:30, right after eating dinner. I usually don’t eat so close to running, but since I wasn’t going to be running anywhere near my normal paces, I didn’t worry about it. My little one, however, probably should have passed on her meal before going. It was pretty warm that night too–summer has set in.
Right from the get go, I started hearing complaints about an aching belly, about being hot, about being tired. Before long, we were in dead last place. Not long after that, we were walking. Commence verbal abuse of mom. Adding to the misery, we made a wrong turn and found ourselves in no-man’s land with nobody else around. At one point, my daughter flung herself onto the ground (although she still had enough energy to yell at me!). And I’m pretty sure anyone who saw us drew the (incorrect) conclusion that I am an overzealous, pushy parent who makes my child do things she hates.
In the midst of all this, I wanted to just walk off the course and go home. But I also wanted my daughter to understand that this was a distance she’s done successfully before, and even though she wasn’t enjoying herself, we weren’t going to quit. And so we walked. A lot. She shed some tears. I bit my tongue numerous times trying not to yell at her when she was yelling at me. It was a long, long night.
When it was all over and we headed home.I talked to her about how I never want her to do something athletic she doesn’t want to do. The LAST thing I ever want is for her to race because she’s trying to please me. Of course I love that she runs, but if it turns out not to be her thing, then so be it. I believe the fastest way to turn a kid off to a sport is to push them.
My guess is it just wasn’t her day–we all have those. She insists that she wants to do the next one–I think the t-shirt is a bit of an incentive to her. But we’ll see. I want to be completely sure her head and heart are in it before we try again. ‘Cause I can tell you, I do NOT want to repeat that experience!
Ever have a bad race experience with one of your kids? Ever felt like an entire race course full of people was staring at you? ; )