Thursday, August 12, 2010
Or maybe it's a simile. In any case.....
Our family likes to bike, as transportation and for fun, long rides. We have taken the boys since they were big enough to sit up in the trailer, now they have bigger bikes than mine and go faster. Our first Saturday together in this new city/region we went exploring the various biking options. We discovered a great towpath trail and took full advantage of it. This region has hills, btw, our previous state didn't - now we know what gears are for.
The arrangement has always been that my husband leads the way, then the boys, then me making sure no one gets distracted or left behind. Actually - that's the arrangement in all such activities - walking anywhere, running, hiking, canoeing, skiing... It had for the longest time really, really bothered me. He is much taller and stronger than I and goes faster, certainly faster than the kids, although they are catching up. He has a way of slowly easing into his own pace, no matter what the ducklings behind him are doing. He would offer to switch positions - sometimes i would try, but somehow he would end up back in the front and I would feel compelled to play sheepdog to the kids from behind. I never feel like i need to be out in front, but the view from the back just isn't always that great either.
(This is the simile part) It struck me last week how much this is like submission. It is more difficult to bike behind someone than in front (unless there's a headwind and you can draft - then it's great). But the one in front can see what's coming and make decisions based on that. The one behind has to speed up, slow down, swerve, etc. just based on what the one in front is doing. Add two kids of questionable attention spans in betwen the leader and the caboose and the one at the end of the line ends up accomodating a lot of random movement with little apparent purpose.
I am getting better about following. More and more I have trouble keeping up with the boys, mom is officially slowest at a lot of activities now. But my acceptance of following, of accomodating the stops and starts and direction changes for which i can't necessarily see the purpose, is better. It's a choice to be there. I want to let my husband lead, and the kids still need me to come behind and watch out for them, although maybe not quite as much as i imagine they do, and not for much longer. But it's not like a tandem bike, I'm not bound by physics (or a bike frame and common chain drive) to his pace and direction. I keep choosing.
And of course - there's the fact that it's a long, slow, torturous, none of the benefits and all of the hurt, way to make your ass sore. On the plus side - everyone elses' butt was sore too.