Sunday, September 4, 2011

Back to school

With kids starting back to school, it has got me thinking about preschools for my little guy. Even though I would not want him to start until next year, I decided to check out a place last week. We stopped by around noon and found a small group finishing up lunch and playing. I confess, as I walked in and saw all the play stations and brightly colored little tables and chairs, I got a huge lump in my throat and my eyes started to water. My reaction to just thinking about preschool does not bode well for what will happen to me when we take Quin to college. Now I know why my dad would always hug me and tell me to come live at home, adding I can bring Jon.
As we stood in the doorway and talked to the teacher, a little boy came and took Quin’s hand and tried to entice him to come play. Being on the shy side, Quin clung to my leg, but curiosity finally got the best of him. By the time I got some information, Quin was having fun and not ready to leave. I feel good that in a year, I can see him in preschool and know that it will be a great social and learning experience for him. He will be ready, but will I?
I’ve mentioned in the past that my coach, Bob Sevene, works with a female runner in Pittsburgh who is a full-time, single mom. Her husband died unexpectedly while running due to an undiagnosed heart condition. She told him the other day that her three boys will finally all be in school, and she is looking forward to having mornings free to run and workout without having to keep an eye on them.
"Not that I don’t love them,” she said.
Sev, being a father of two, told her he understands completely.
I am sure every parent struggles with guilt from being away from their child because of their job. My job is running and preparing for the Olympic Trials. That has allowed me to spend a lot of time with Quin. But even a full-time parent needs some “me” time just to stay sane. At least when Quin is in school, I will have two or three guilt-free hours when I know he is learning and having fun.
For now, I will take advantage of every moment and spend as much time as possibly with him. I have had the same weekly running schedule for 15 years, but just recently changed my afternoon runs to different days to allow me to spend more time with Quin. It seems to be working because I feel less stressed. I know after my long workout mornings, I can just relax and do something fun with Quin in the afternoon rather than head out for another run.
This weekend I am traveling to Hartford, Conn. for the 20K USA Road Championships on Labor Day. I have not gone to a race without Quin since the World Cross-Country Championships in March. I am looking forward to being able to relax a little more and focus on the race. I might even pack a book! Even though my husband Jon is always in charge of Quin at my races, I still find it hard to turn off the Mom mode. Sev is always reminding me that races require focus and visualization. I have a feeling he told his Pittsburgh runner the same thing he told me the other day and the same thing a lot of moms need to hear, “It’s OK to do this for yourself.”

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