Friday, September 24, 2010

The Spectator

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.

12 comments:

Kate said...

Yes to all of that. My kids too are ridiculously energetic and I spend my time chasing after them. However, as an old curmudgeon myself I have to keep quiet about my antipathy to all things sporty and group related - I don't want to pass such unseemly feelings on to the children.

Di Foden said...

Even heroes need someone to hold the coats xx

Iota said...

You were doing weight training - all those clothes and water bottles and what-have-you.

Alcoholic Daze (ADDY) said...

When my ne and only child was growing up, her social calender was far busier than mine and I was always ferrying her here and there and standing on the sidelines. Not a lot has changed even though she is away from home now!!!

billatbingley said...

Well done to your children for taking part in the run, and your huband for doing the half marathon, and congatulations to you for supporting them! Someone has to haold the spare coats and water bottles.

Our local vicar and his wife did the half marathon, being sponsored to the tune of £1,000 for Cancer Support!

merry weather said...

Perhaps spectating is also a learning process. A sort of prelude..

Hmm, I anticipate your appearance in vest, shorts and racing number shortly wifey.

Fingers crossed!

;-)

Livvy U. said...

There's something very moving about this: I often wonder whether I'm a spectator in my own life, too - and then I remember that my life is the sum of my choices, and that the biggest, best choice is the one I'm taking to gym/the playground/the sponsored bounce and I understand that in the natural ebb and flow of a life it won't be for very long that I'm required to do this, and that I will miss it when it's gone.

annie said...

My son plays cricket and I spend the whole summer sitting watching him and his mates and chatting with the other parents or reading the paper or dozing off. I absolutely love every minute of it and am just like him in wanting the winter to be over so we can go off again. Having gone to boarding school and not had parents to watch I want to go to everythng my children do, as long as they want me there! And I know there are those nintendo hugging obese teenagers out there, but when I go to a tournament and see the teams of slim, athletic and enthusiastic young cricketers you know it's not all bad news.

AMD said...

7 kids (6 boys ,youngest a girl). Ages 9-23yrs. All had swimming lessons during school and pre-school yrs. Older kids swam for 1hr week, on different days and times. Younger ones swim for 2hrs on different days. Just trying to work out how many years of my life I've spent sitting at the local pool! Not to mention getting caught at the level crossing on the way there!

Crystal Jigsaw said...

I often watch my life as it glides past and remember I should have done something before it's too late.

Well done on the running; quite an achievement.

CJ xx

Amy Choi said...

My kids don't tend to exert themselves very much except at odd times. We have 2 acres of land but they never run around in it. If, however, we are walking from the car to a restaurant, they will sprint and play all the way down the street. Or if the they're waiting for me to come out of a shop or something, they'll run rings around a nearby pole. Go figure.

rheese said...

there are some who like watchin, some as well who like being in the thick of it