Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Ice Cream Trumps Running.

Hadley recently came home with a form to sign up for the middle-school cross country team. I swiftly threw it in the trash. 

Hadley will not walk across the hall to throw her dirty underwear in the clothes hamper, so I think cross country running might be a bit of a stretch. I've watched her attempt to throw something in the trashcan, miss, and then decide she doesn't want to bend down and pick it up so she keeps on walking. I've seen Hadley have her sister, Cameron, put socks on her, because Hadley didn't want to bend over.

Running is everything Hadley hates. It requires effort. It's outside. It will make her sweat. 

Before I knew better, I once signed Hadley up to run in a child's "just for fun" run. At the time, again, before I knew better, I was really into running and wanted to share the joy with my daughter. Clearly I was suffering from an endorphin over-dose because running is horrible. But I put the poor kid at the starting line, told her to run when the gun went off.  I was waiting on the sidelines, maybe just an 1/8th of a mile into the course, when I saw her run around the bend. She looked terrified. She looked like she was being chased by a serial killer. She made eye-contact with me, glared, ran swiftly under the rope and abandoned the race. 

"What are you doing?" I asked her. "You're in the middle of a race! Get back out there!"

"It's horrible mom!" she said. "It's hot. I can't breathe. I might be having a heat stroke."

"Hadley, you have literally been running for two minutes. You haven't had time for a heat stroke! Plus it's only 75 degrees. When you have a heat stroke, you can quit, but for now, get back out there!!" 

"Nope," she said. "Not doing it. You can't make me and I'm done."

Well, the girl is decisive. 

We left & went to Dairy Queen. She needed to cool down from her heat stroke. Ice cream trumps running. 

Yet I was not giving up on her. Last year Dubois County introduced Girls on the Run. Girls on the Run is a program that teaches girls about self-confidence, supporting each other, goal-setting and more through running.  Well, Girls on the Run, let me introduce you to Hadley Rumbach.

Hadley participated in the program and didn't hate it. That is a rave review from Hadley Rumbach. I love my tiny hater. She's all tightly-wound and guarded, but when she opens up, the love is mega-big. Her mega-big love would not be opened up for Girls on the Run. Perhaps Hadley could be the founder of Girls at the Diary Queen, where she promotes and encourages girls to give up and eat their feelings.

The culmination of the Girls on the Run program is a celebratory 5K. This is not competitive. This is about "girl-power." Hadley wanted nothing to do with girl power. The 5K intimidated her to her core. I get it. Staring down the barrel of 3 miles, can look pretty dangerous. Nothing dangerous about the Dairy Queen except the calories. However, she trained throughout the program for the 5k and she was prepared to run it.

The day of the race, I stood with her at the starting line. I had agreed to run along side her as her running buddy. I was happy to have the job. I figured, if I was beside her, she couldn't duck out of the race. 

When the gun went off, my tightly-wound Hadley exploded. She began sprinting as quick as her legs could carry her - in the opposite direction. 

She didn't even look back.

"Where are you going?!?!" I yelled after her. "We're supposed to be going the other way!!"

"I know," she yelled back over her shoulder while running at full speed. "I'm too scared to do it!"

"Buy you are doing it!!! You're doing it in the wrong direction!" I screamed. "Turn around."

She stopped running and I caught up with her. I'm not sure if I was out of breath or had no words, but we just stood there.

Then without speaking, we took off, together, in the right direction. We caught up with the group and finished the race.

There has been no running in the Rumbach household since that day. We had to press the pause button on the running theatrics. 

Hadley then decided to press play.

"Mom, where's my cross country sign up sheet?" she asked. "I need you to hand that in."

Oink. Oink. Did pigs just fly?

"What?!?!?" I asked. "You want to run? On purpose? I threw that paper in the trash"

"Mom!!" she said. "Why would you do that? Why would you think I wouldn't like running? You didn't even ask me! God!"

It must be really tough for Hadley to have such a stupid mother.

So, I dug through a weeks worth of garbage, dusted off the form. And signed Hadley up for the Jasper Middle School Cross Country Team. Perhaps out of a trash can on Gregory Lane will rise the greatest cross country runner the school has ever seen.

Whatever happens, however this season progresses, I do know for certain that she won't take the easy way, she will not make it easy on herself - or me.

She'll get side-tracked, side-lined and might even stop for a snack at the Dairy Queen, but she'll get there and the path she takes will be one that is all her own.