“I’m going out for a run.” I holler into the kids as I begin to make my way out the door.
“Can I come?” Asks my 10 year old son.
Him coming changes the whole experience. I won’t be able to zone out in my usual way, it probably won't be as transcendent or pleasurable.
I’m super protective of my workout time. I seldom let others influence it.
But today is different. We’re visiting my mom at the house I grew up in and last time we were here my son rode his bike along the sidewalk as I ran behind him and it was pretty great. So I’m down for recreating that experience.
“Sure!” I say to him.
I’m willing to forego the experience I had planned to have this one instead.
We make our way along the sidewalk and the trail through the woods. I point out to him the different schools we pass. I get to show him where I went to kindergarten, middle and high school. We even bump into my high school social studies teacher on the path through the woods.
[How could that have been over 30 years ago! Yikes.]
I ended up running 5 miles with him biking along in front of me. He pauses at times to let me catch up, at one point he asks if I need a break. It’s the cutest.
I'm inside one of those moments as a parent that fills your heart so completely you wonder if it might burst.
I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude; for this time together, for being fit enough to share this type of activity, and that my kid still wants to be with me in this way.
I’m well aware that there may come a day soon when he doesn’t.
So for today, I make sure to soak it all in.
The birds chirping, the warm fall weather, the leaves changing colors, the earthy smell of the woods, the cuteness of my kid, and how thoroughly I’m enjoying this experience.
It wasn’t what I had planned. It was so much better.
I’m still going to be highly protective of my workout time. The majority of the time nobody gets in.
But what a welcome and wonderful reminder of what might be waiting for us on the other side of loosening our grip and allowing for something different than what we had planned (or thought we needed.)
My initial story of 'probably won't be as pleasurable' proved false.
Want what you want. Protect what is sacred. Prioritize what you know you need.
But every so often, break your own rules, question your default story, put aside your usual way and welcome the chance to feel deeply satisfied by saying yes to something you hadn’t planned.