I enjoy exercise. I’ve never been a gym person–mainly because I’m too cheap– but I do have personal trainers, four of them actually. They range from three to twelve years old and are tougher on me than any trainer ever would be; they are also better cheerleaders.
About two years ago when I started trying to get back into running instead of just walking, my then one-year-old was along for the ride. I strapped her into the stroller and off we went down a trail. I remember walking, then starting to jog, then, after a pathetically short time, slowing back down again. My barely verbal one-year-old would yell at me every time I slowed down, “Go, Go, Go!” Naturally, I had to go faster and try harder. (I also realized I will have to watch her when she’s old enough to drive. I think I have a serious speed demon on my hands.) At three, she’s still my companion and still gets on my case if I start to walk for some reason: “Mom, go faster!” But she’s the cutest little cheerleader, too. She saw another person running on the trail, a much faster, more fit person I might add, and said, “Mommy, she is a great runner just like you and just like me!” Thanks sweetie.
During the summer, my older kids attend my workouts, too. We go to a park and they play while I exercise. This summer my twelve-year-old son joined me in my workouts so he could get ready for gym. He would run with me then we’d stop and do some strength moves. After, I would keep running for a while longer. He was my timer. He would set his watch to time exactly how much longer I had. Then, as I was jogging around the trail, he’d call out to me every time I came around the track how much time I still needed to go. He and the girls would sometimes cheer for me, and if any of them saw my energy flagging, they would tell me to keep going, keep running. Twelve-year-old would even count down the final ten seconds for me, loudly proclaiming to anyone unfortunate enough to be at the park with us that I was done running.
My ten and six-year old daughters love to watch me do exercise DVD’s and tell me how much (or how little), my attempts to do the moves look like what’s on the screen. They’ll often join me, and every move takes on more meaning when my cuties are doing it with me.
But the best way my kids are my personal trainers, is just having them as my kids. I see their smiles, I hear their laughter, and I want to be strong enough to fully experience their childhood. To run with them, dance with them, push them on the swing and tug their wagon around the block one more time. And, I want to be around long enough to see their children, and their children’s children, and do the same with them. Every step I take, I take because of my personal trainers, my precious kiddos.