Saturday, March 22, 2008

Egg Hunt, or on Being a Parent

I don't usually delve too far into my personal life here in this blog (are anywhere else for that matter ?), but today a completely off-topic event reminded me of a 5K, so here I am, writing about it.

I'm not your typical parent- at 42, pushing 43 pretty hard, my son is just 3 years old, and we have only a few friends with young (or any) kids, and I would not say those are friends we spend much time with. I'm not exactly tapped into the kid nation either. I had sort of an odd childhood in that my parents were even older than I am compared to my son and I'm not sure they were dialed all the way in either, although they tried pretty damn hard and on scant resources. As a result, there's an awful lot I don't know about what is typical family activity.

Take the egg hunt. Branford sponsors a town-wide egg hunt and this is a pretty well-attended event. My wife was swimming out in New London until 9AM, and really wanted me to go to the egg hunt. For this and other reasons I was left with getting my workout (and shower) in between 9 AM and 10:40 AM. I went long on the bike yesterday (in my basement) and in honor of the EH crew being out in Arizona, did another part of the virtual reality Arizona DVD from Coach Troy- the Mt. Lemmon climb (yesterday was Gates Pass). If you really want to work your backside off on the trainer, get this DVD. If half an hour straight in Big Ring 13 is not to your taste, then this is not the DVD for you (or you're not working hard enough, pal). There's the workout related, on-topic part of the blog.

At 10:30 I was in the shower, and at 10:40 we were in the car for a 5-10 minute drive. This was still probably a little bit too late to leave the house. We pulled down the side-road to Foote Park wedged between minvans and Jeeps, grabbed one of the last parking spaces in the park, and headed over to the start. We ran into a number of Ian's friends from school- children that had been in his pre-school class at day care until recently when he moved up. We happily settled into line with them and snapped some pix as the VFW volunteers waited for everyone to get into place for the 'hunt.'

Now, as hunting goes, this is a step above hunting with Dick Cheney (how a guy shoots you in the face when the birds he's supposed to be shooting are basically stationary until the moment of they are flushed and he knows where the birds are going to be, in other words in the air, not at ground level, in other words, accident my ass), but a step below English foxhunts. The 'eggs', hundreds of them along with store-bought candy bars, are laid out on a relatively flat patch of grass in corrals, divided into different age-groups. Meanwhile, the Eastern bunny was roaming around- costume perfect except for some pretty beat-looking basketball shoes that kind of ruined the illusion for me.

The problem was that Ian, standing with his friends, was in the 1-2 corral. We moved over to the 3-5 corral and I smelled trouble. First of all, we couldn't even get to the line, second, their was a slew of parents blocking the way and hovering over their kids. The VFW crew announced that parents could follow their kids. I determined not to do that, but wow.

The whistle went off and I finally knew what it was like to be on the wrong end of a 5K. The locust went up the grass and with the machine efficiency of terminators, they eliminated every egg, every piece of candy, every wrapper. It was a horde lurching up over the Urals, while I watched it retreat away from me. Even the grass browned under the press. Ian got a decent amount of candy, but was not exactly the high earner.

He happily scooted over into the 1-2 corral, where he had half the area to himself and filled his basket without depriving anyone else of their candy.

Man, being a parent is weird.

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