Monday, June 27, 2005

my mother

My mother has long had a tendency to take over my interests. When I got interested in horses in elementary school she went back to riding, and after I had lost interest and we had moved from New York City to Concord, Massachusetts, she bought a horse. In 11th grade in Concord I developed an interest in Concord authors. I moved on to major in history of science in college, but when my parents moved to New Jersey the year I graduated from college my mother got a very part time job working on the new edition of Thoreau's complete works.

Saturday before we left, my mother and my kids and I went for a walk. My son and I started talking about running--he is trying to figure out how I can be happy about running 13 minute miles when he feels slow running a 9 minute mile. My mother said: "In this family we reach our athletic peak late: when I was in my 40s and 50s I was winning championships." None of us asked her to tell us more and I wasn't paying much attention in those years (I turned 25 the year she turned 50), but I assume she was talking about winning championships in local horseshows.

In some old way I feel my accomplishments are less mine after her comment. Luckily it goes away when I run or bike or swim and feel myself using my body. One of the nice things about physical accomplishments is that they feel real physically.

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