I feel badly for them sometimes, I do. They didn’t ask to be the kids of a runner. It’s not their fault their mom runs every day – sometimes fast, sometimes slow, sometimes hills, sometimes on a treadmill, sometimes long, sometimes short. Every day I run. That, they are fine with. It’s been part of their ‘normal’ since they were born. No one questions it or wishes it weren’t so. Mom running is like mom making them food when they’re hungry or kissing them when they’re hurt – it is a given.
But what they are left with is this: a mom who is ALWAYS in need of a good foot massage. And whose feet are pretty calloused up and rough to boot. Whenever we are all lying down together – watching t.v. on the couch or reading in bed, I start to feel the irresistible urge to ask someone to massage my feet. That’s when the bargaining begins: “But they’re so GROSS!!!” “Please? I’ll read you an extra chapter…” “Can you wear double socks?” “Ok, but you’ll have to do it harder” and so on. In reality I usually do 15 minutes extra of reading for one or two half-hearted squeezes to my arches, but it never stops me from asking.
The other weekend was Mother’s Day. I could tell my son was very excited about the gift he was going to give me. He almost gave it away, but managed to keep it a secret until he presented it to me in the morning after I’d returned from my run. It was a diamond encrusted electric foot buffer. But let’s call it what it really is: a callous shaver with the hardest substance known to man ready to take on my rock-hard feet.
His gift was that he was going to buff my feet until they were baby smooth, and THEN give me a foot massage that he could bear. (I suspect the fact that the machine was electric and looked and sounded like an industrial wood planer added to the appeal for him.) So we sat down and I read while he went to work on my feet. I couldn’t help but laugh at how seriously he took it! He was so intent on filing down every single patch of rough skin. There was “dust” (aka dead callous skin) flying while he worked away, never tiring, just planing away at my feet with all the effort he could muster. The buzzing went on for so long and was so intense that my husband said after he wondered whether I’d have any feet left at all. But they ended up perfectly, beautifully smooth. My son had done an amazing job. (He then half-heartedly massaged them, but the real effort had been done). It was the best Mother’s Day gift ever.
It occurred to me that this may not have been the same Mother’s Day experience as most of his peers. But breakfast in bed will never work for me. I’m up and running and building foot callouses before anyone else is up. This is my kids’ reality – like it or not. They got a runner as a mom.