After the week we just had, the plan was to have a quiet, relaxing Saturday. Particularly as the wife woke up with a headache this morning. So, once the girl child was kicked out of bed, and the boy child was fed breakfast, I rather benevolently gave them the plans for the day:
“OK, we’re going to take it easy today. If you go outside, make sure you put on sunscreen. I’m going to work on the kitchen for a while, because it’s a disaster area. It would be nice if you guys could spend some time cleaning up your rooms. Other than that, I’m going to work on my bike a bit and go for a ride.”
The girl’s eyes light up.
“I’m going for a LONG ride. By myself.”
At this, her expression changes to one of sullen resentment, and she glares at me.
“Every time you get a chance to ride your bike you always ride by yourself! You never take us for bike rides!”
This is absolutely true. But you should know that this is the first time I’ve had a chance to do ANY riding, other than commuting to work, in a couple of months. Also, remember that this is the child that sprained her ankle this week, and so should not be pedalling anything for a while yet.
Although I routinely abandon my own needs and desires in favor of my children’s happiness (no, really, I do) in lots of ways large and small, this nevertheless triggers an instantaneous guilt trip. And resentment.
After all, I don’t ask for much. I want to be able to play my video games without them yelling advice in my ear, and I want to be able to go for the occasional bike ride. On roads. At speeds greater than 9 mph.
Also, I need to be doing these bike rides. I need to be pushing my endurance up and improving my conditioning. And I simply don’t get much aerobic workout keeping pace with my kids on the bike path. Going on long rides improves my health, improves my mental outlook, and in turn improves their lives in ways they can’t really grasp just yet.
So why do I still feel so guilty?