Help – I don’t think these children are mine!

Help – I don’t think these children are mine!

I often moan about the fact that because of my back I can no longer exercise. Well, that’s not entirely true. It’s not the fact that my back issues prevent me from exercising rigorously – that is true, but the impression that I ever did exercise rigorously is a big fat fib.

Aside from a period of fanatical diet, dancing and exercise during my year abroad in Aix-en-Provence, where my motivation was having an achingly beautiful best friend (she still is by the way, my best friend and achingly beautiful) and having to face the beach alongside her and desperately tiny French women, I have been a lifelong exercise dodger. At school I magically had my period every Thursday afternoon without fail. I was reliably the last to be picked for any team amidst sighs of ‘ahh come on – I got Proctor last time’. My natural instinct is to run in the opposite direction of an incoming ball and how anyone connects a ball with a bat will forever be a mystery to me. I can’t run, I hated hockey and my brief exposure to lacrosse was an exercise in torture survival.

My son, however, can turn his hand (or feet) to any sport he fancies, the little bugger can swim like a fish, run, long jump and is at his happiest when either connected to some form of fast wheeled device or is doing something with a ball.

Yesterday, in his little life, disaster struck. Sports day was cancelled. In my childhood days that would have been met with loud whoop and a fist pump. Leo’s day was irretrievably ruined from the moment opened his curtains to torrential rain. To find out that it couldn’t be rescheduled as it was so close to the end of term was the tin lid on it. He descended into a cloud of doom. He’s surely no child of mine?
But happiness was restored this morning, apparently as sports day was so cruelly canned they are going to play rounders all afternoon today – that my friends is a cue to leap into school clothes and hop and skip your way to school! Even my daughters are athletic and sporty (although the youngest perhaps the least so but she does it all with just as much gusto). Ella had all her gymnastics BAGA awards by the time she was six, danced before she could walk.

Having said that. I guess dance is where our paths meet. Dance is the one thing that I can’t do right now that I am sad about. I was never a pro tapper and the grapevine move in aerobics was only ever designed to confuse people like me, but I was always the first on the dance floor and the last to leave, the first to drag people onto the stage and the last woman standing (and the only reason that my University installed a rail on the back of the Students Union stage was because I spectacularly fell off!).

My husband will no doubt read this with a small smug chuckle. In his head he is the climbing god and fearless master of the outdoors. The fact that the last time he scaled a rock face was probably 15 years ago doesn’t come into it. Yesterday a fancy climbing rope arrived in the post. I raised a confused eyebrow… “I’m getting back into it” he said, “watch this space”. I’ll watch…as the rope gathers dust and joins the mountain bike and the rest of the gear in the shed. No, my dear, the kids don’t get it from you either.

One thing they do get from us both is sheer bloody-mindedness and a ‘right I’ll bloody show you’ mentality. If he reads the last paragraph I can guarantee he will be cycling his way to a sodding huge rock this weekend just to prove me wrong.

And as for me, the kids reminded me this morning that I promised them we would get a dog – this must have been in either a drunken moment of ‘let’s live this country life to the full’ or when I wasn’t really listening and just said yes. So, I’ll be adding one more member of the family to clean up after but I will get out and walk lots – and maybe even run a little…maybe.

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