Inertia

June 13, 2013

“I want to run with you, Daddy.”

This unexpected statement fluttered into my ear canals as I popped in my contact lenses. As my mirrored face came into focus, like an online image loading in stages, I wondered if my ears were experiencing technical difficulties.

When I started running last year, I had visions of jogging trails with the daughter. One day. These sneaker daydreams weren’t based solely on wishful thinking. Alice showed potential, being able to walk for significant stretches. However, there was an obstacle.

As noted above, Alice doesn’t have a problem with kinetic energy. Get her spinning and she’ll make a top jealous. Put her outside and she won’t want to come in. The problem is that sometimes her potential energy is difficult to convert. I call her Little Miss Inertia.

That’s why it startled me when she suggested a run. Unfortunately, my hopes were momentarily dashed when Alice wanted to take her “babies” along. Currently, Alice dreams of being some sort of reality TV star who has multiple kids. Quadruplets is a deceivingly fun word. So our run morphed into a wagon ride with Hetta the Owl, Ling-Ling, Teddy from Jerusalem, and Ellabee Bear.

After dragging a wagon, I thought my Gumpish dreams were over. But not to fear, Alice brought the guilt. “You said we were going to run, but we didn’t,” she stated in a voice that seemed to hold me responsible for Lieutenant Dan’s missing legs.

“Why don’t we run this evening when Daddy gets back from work?” I suggested.

“Yeah!” came the reply.

Her enthusiasm was surprising. I wondered if “run this evening” got transposed to “skip a nap,” “eat large quantities of sugar,” or some equivalent in her mind. Nevertheless, her unprompted second reference of the day had me believing that the run would happen.

After dinner, I didn’t wait for the other shoe to drop. “How about we go on our run now?” I said, probably sounding a little too needy. Apparently, not even 3-year-old girls dig that.

“No, I want to watch a Curious George video,” she responded. Starting with “No”, each syllable she uttered was a hammer that crushed a different part of my sentimental father dreams.

Before they could be completely shattered, I thought quickly. “Why don’t we do both? We can run and while we cool down, we can watch the video.”

We had ourselves a Daddy-Daughter Deal.

Then came the run. I wore black shorts and a tank top that Sara made not-so-subtle comments about. Alice chose a blue dress with pink Velcro shoes. And then we were off.  She sprinted ahead and slowed down, sprinted ahead and stopped. The trees, and blackberry bushes, and horse poop all proved a bit distracting and in need of their own talking points. Then a breeze kicked in. That made her laugh.

Eventually, we got to the pond. “Let’s sit down here, Daddy.” She motioned to a patch of weeds with some grass poking out. We watched a bird ride the wind. We talked about a helicopter we saw earlier. She asked me questions about the local weeds that I didn’t know. “We can Google it,” she said assuredly. There were periods of quiet too. Moments where I wondered what thoughts were running through that disproportionately-sized head.

The breeze became cooler, stronger, and a little more perfect. The colors of sunset closed in. That was the best part of our run, the part where we weren’t running. After a few minutes of bliss we headed back home.

We ran back with alacrity, particularly on the downhill sections. We probably went about a mile and ran for half of it. Not bad for a first run.

My contact lenses are soaking in solution now, as the saline removes the residue of the day. However, some stubborn particles remain.Guess you gotta love inertia.

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2 Responses to “Inertia”


  1. perhaps my favorite blog post yet! run, alice, run!

  2. teachiro Says:

    Glad you enjoyed it, Colleen! We went on another run tonight, with Sara following behind. Lots of stops for not-quite-ripe blackberries, a teary fall, and two parents who forgot a camera. But even with those bumps, it was pretty close to perfection.


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