My alarm goes off at 4:30 AM two days a week so that I can get a run in before work. This morning, I was just finishing up my banana and putting on my running shoes when I heard the unhappy sound of Colin’s bedroom door being thrown open. Sure enough, I turned the corner to see him standing there, hair sticking straight up, eyes squinting in the light, holding his stuffed frog he has affectionately named Froggy of Doom.
“Do you want to snuggle daddy in bed?” I whispered.
“Nooooooooooooooooo, I go in my bed,” he wailed.
I put him in his bed and I snuggled up next to him.
“I play with your hair, mama?” he asked.
Sure, why not, I thought as he pulled the ends of my hair and brushed them across his face.
Over the next 15 minutes, I counted the running minutes wasted. I knew it was a waste of time, he was not going back to sleep and I was going to end up missing my run. The only thing worse than getting up at 4:30 to run is getting up at 4:30 and not getting a run in before work and then still trying to summon the energy after a full day of working, cooking, and being homework helper, bath giver, and taxi service.
When Mark woke up, he told me he would take over and I could go run. By the time I got myself together, I only had time for 2 miles, which is 2 miles less than I generally plan on running and 1 mile less than I have actually been running on these frigid mornings. I decided to go for it as 3 to 4 miles tonight would certainly feel like 10.
And while I was running (very quickly on account of the cold and the need to get back in time for Mark to get to work), I started thinking that my time was not wasted at all, but time well spent. When the kids were real young and I was so sleep-deprived that I was delusional, I would sometimes (okay at least occasionally!) cherish my time rocking them in the chair and console myself with the knowledge that, someday, I would have no idea where they were at 3 am, and at least for now, I should embrace their love of snuggling at totally inappropriate times. Colin will not always be a sassy little two-year old who likes to snuggle mama and play with my hair, and I am sure the day will come that I am highly disappointed that my plans are not interrupted by the needs of my kids. Time spent snuggling is surely more valuable than time running, plus it is a lot more comfortable.
And as predicted, he did not go back to sleep and he and Froggy of Doom were demanding apple juice and Mickey Mouse upon my return. But on a bright note, I ran at a 9:33 pace, which I have not seen in two years.