There are families in this world who are regarded as active, outdoorsy types. The kind of people who name their kids ‘Glacier’ or ‘Avalanche’, who register at Cabela’s or REI for their baby showers instead of Babies R’ Us. Their friends will, when talking about them, shake their heads in awe about the crazy camping trip from which they just returned. Or the insane exercise schedule they maintain. How they’re so fit and in shape, it’s just unreal.
I mean, no one has ever referred to the Johnsons in this manner – but I’ve heard it said about ‘other’ people. Like the people who lived across the street from us in Indiana. The man was retired, but spent most of his day in pursuit of physical fitness. Spinning classes at the ‘Y’, laps at the local pool, lengthy rides on his bike in full regalia and early morning jogging sessions showcasing his terra cotta colored chest that hasn’t seen an extra ounce of fat in many years. His wife, equally fit and toned, could be seen going for a morning run/walk on most days. She even had back surgery once and was outside the next day with her fitness buddies….making a lap around the block with her walker.
I observed all this activity while eating ice cream on my couch, courtesy of the enormous window in our living room.
So it is something of a ‘big deal’ that the Johnsons have been trying to be more active as of late. Following a series of dreaded ‘weighing appointments’ (ob visits) in which the scale announced a number that was considerably higher each time despite my certainty that I wasn’t doing anything crazy in the eating department, I decided to start exercising a bit. Some walks around the neighborhood. Occasionally lifting the 5lb weights I’ve been schlepping from house to house for the last decade or so. Nothing that most regular people would consider exercise, though I certainly do.
And then Jason followed suit. Starting with his own solitary walks around the neighborhood, followed by occasional glances at his bike…that has been sitting in our kitchen since last October. He even signed up for a soccer league for the first time in a good 8 years.
So, it only makes sense that Mr. G – inspired by his parents’ newfound commitment to physical fitness – would follow suit.
It started with vocalizing his desire to ride a bike. Perhaps a perfectly reasonable request coming from a 5 year old’s mouth. Except…..he’d received a bike for his 3rd birthday. Two years ago. And, aside from sitting on it in our driveway a few times, never rode it. His interest in the bike was so minimal that we decided just to leave it in my mom’s garage. In Indiana.
A day or so after he started the bike campaign of 2009 I came across my neighbor on one of her frequent outdoor walks. During the course of our conversation it was revealed that she had an extra bike and I had a child who wanted a bike. By the time I returned home, she’d left the bike by the front steps. Of course this meant we had to go to Wal-Mart to get a helmet and some training wheels; the least we could do for our future Lance Armstrong.
Around the same time he started the bike campaign, Mr. G also started the baseball campaign of 2009. Almost as if he knew that it was the one request his father would never deny. Suddenly Jason started walking around the house berating himself for not having signed his firstborn up for t-ball or little league or whatever it is 5 year olds do with a bat and ball. He talked about wanting to buy Mr. G a baseball glove because he clearly yearned for one.
So we went to Wal-Mart to pick up our sports supplies. Soccer socks for Jason. Training wheels and a helmet for Mr. G. And sandals for the Hen – because the ‘size-too-small’ sandals we’d been forcing onto his feet were difficult to remove….and left indentations in his flesh.
Of course we just ‘happened’ to walk past the baseball aisle in the process. G saw his chance – to tap into his father’s dreams of having a son who plays baseball – and reiterated his requests for a bat and ball. And glove. Unfortunately his cruel realistic mother stepped in and okayed purchasing the t-ball, bat and ‘stand’ only. ‘If he’s really interested, we can buy a glove later,’ I reasoned, skeptic that I am.
This picture demonstrates the SPEED at which the ‘bike riding’ is taking place. A 20 month old boy can keep up….by walking.
Here we have Mr. Johnson fulfilling one of his dreams – teaching his son to hit a ball (on a stick). The next picture (not featured) captured their first baseball-related argument: over placement of hands on the bat. After G hit the ball about 3 times he said: ‘I’m done now.’ And walked away.
So little brother got a chance to hit a ball once or twice, before he also walked away.
And they both just played in the dirt. At least the Hen is wearing his new sandals..