Where did that week go? It must be a matrix thing. You open your eyes one Monday morning and by the time you get up and start the day, it's the weekend already. Last weekend my children did the junior Great North Run. Due to some rogue gene, all three appear to be horribly active sporty types. This means my four-year-old daughter and seven-year-old son both ran a mile, and my nine-year-old ran three along the river banks of the Tyne. (The next day my husband ran 13 so perhaps the gene isn't all that rogue.) Instead of running alongside them, I spent all day festooned with bags and spare clothes with water bottles in every available coat pocket, spectating and cheering - not just my child but all of them. You read all these pieces about children being blimps and lifting their chubby hands from their nintendo DS's only long enough to reach into the bumper bag of crisps and stuff their chipmunk faces some more, but there was none of that in Newcastle. All these kids - some of them hurting, and grim-faced, some of them grinning ear to ear, some of them wearing photos of grannies and siblings they were raising money for, but each and every one of them determined to finish what they started.
I like the idea of children achieving, of getting them into the habit of achievement, letting them feel that buzz in the hope they want to feel it again. It reconciles me at least in part to the cold, rainy touchlines, the waiting around at football, at rugby, at cricket, at dancing, to the constant driving from here to there, and wondering "Am I a spectator in my own life?" Because I guess in part I am. I get to stand in the driving rain, and I get to watch and marvel because in a way their race has only just begun.