Once upon a time, I offered my daughter the chance to go with me on my zany adventure, because she really, really wanted to go. I explained how hard it would be and how much walking was involved and she still wanted to go. I told her she would need to train with me every day, and she said that was okay. We trained, she did all right, but once the gravity of how much walking she was really going to be doing hit her, she decided she wasn’t going to be able to hack it. Her response, “Wow. That’s…that’s a lot of walking, Mom.” Umm. Yeah.
The day before yesterday, my daughter went out with me again while I was training, only this time she was on her bike while I walked. She rode on ahead of me for a block or two and waited for me to catch up. “Hurry up, slowpoke!” she yelled at me, while she grinned from ear to ear. Hah! Easy for her to say. We went on this way for about three miles, I think. That little ride was very easy for her. After her performance, I saw that she easily could have ridden one of my middle distance walks no sweat. We didn’t go farther than those few miles that day because I wanted to keep it a shorter day originally and also because it was pouring down rain. That part wasn’t very fun for her. But she’s not alone on that score. Walking or bike riding in the rain sucks for anybody.
I honestly wasn’t sure how she would handle biking for more than a mile or two. Because we live on an extremely busy street, we don’t let her ride out of the parking lot of our apartment complex, unless she’s accompanied by one of us. And since I’m walking training, not biking, I don’t really get in biking time (that’s code for I don’t get on the durn bike at all). I probably ought to. Cross training is supposed to be good for us, yeah?
I asked Willow if she would be interested in going with me if she rode her bike, instead, since that would be a lot easier. Her eyes lit up. “Yeah!” But then she deflated. “But won’t it be a lot harder for you? You’ll have to be feeding two people and carrying lots more stuff!” This is true. The logistics would become much, much more difficult. And therein lies the rub. Trying to figure out how to make it happen. With no support vehicle, that means my cart would have to be able to carry all of our stuff, because obviously I’m not going to make her tote a 40 lb. pack. And, of course, it also means more expense.
Last night, I stopped by The Bike Gallery to look at their carts. I’ve been trying to figure out something that I might be able to adapt for what I want, as I mentioned before. I was on another idea-gathering trip. Burley makes a cart that converts to skis and has a sled-like pull attachment that buckles around the waist. Bingo! I don’t want the skis, but the other part is fabulous. While I was chatting with the sales lady, I joked that if I ever got tired of hauling it, I could attach it to my daughter’s bike and let her haul it for a bit. I was joking, but then it got me thinking–wait a minute! Why not? I actually COULD do that! She could have her own little cart attached to her bike so I’m not having to haul her stuff, too, and she’s hauling her own.
Hmm. Am I evil for even thinking that? I mean, I made my dog carry a dog-pack when we were walking before. He carried a bit of food and water, his bowls and poopie bags every day we walked. But, that’s my dog. He’s a German Shepherd. They’re supposed to be working animals. I think it made him feel useful and he was excited to put it on every day. But Willow is a kid! Don’t get me wrong, I make her do chores around the house. I don’t completely coddle her. But this is a big thing.
But leaving that aside for a moment, I’m still torn about whether to bring her in the first place. I want to, God knows I want to. I think it would be the adventure of a lifetime for her. She would learn bucket loads she would never learn in a classroom. I mean, it’s one thing to read about the history of our country and where certain things happened in a classroom, but to actually visit those places and see for yourself, that has got to be awesome! Same goes for geography, ecological sciences, biology, math (using math in everyday scenarios to learn that yes, math IS used every day), and so on. If I supervise her keeping a journal or blogging about her own experiences on the road, she would get in plenty of writing practice, too.
And she’s ten. She’s developing. She might start her menses this year, and if I wasn’t home and missed that momentous little-girl-turning-into-a-young-woman occasion, I would be very sad. Sounds like a weird reason to want her to tag along, maybe, but it is a big deal. It’s a rite of passage, in a sense. It’s a gift.
I also think that bringing her along would be great bonding for the two of us. IF we don’t kill each other along the way, that is. We’ll either be 1) even closer by the end of the trip, 2) murderous toward each other or 3) both. I love my daughter, but she is a very attention-needy person. She’s isn’t particularly good at entertaining herself, though recently she’s discovered that she likes to read, so that’s good, at least. I’m the polar opposite of her. I’m anti-clingy. And since I would be with her every day, day in and day out with no respite, I might go nuts. I have to admit, one of the perks of this trip for me was the solo part of going solo. I was looking forward to the expanses of alone time.
Soooo. I would have to figure out rules and boundaries so that we don’t drive each other batty. Not to mention rules about safety, rules about schooling/learning along the way, rules about everything, pretty much. The extra structure might be good for the both of us, who knows?
If I bring her, this could be something she could casually mention (brag) about to her friends for many years to come. “Yeah, my mom and I walked across the US when I was ten years old. It was okay. She made me do all the work.”
So what do you think? Do you think it’s a good idea to bring her along? And if I did bring her, what would your advice be?
NOTE-all of these photos were taken one Mommy-Willow day the summer before last, when she was still eight years old. I’ve wanted an excuse to use them, since I think they are adorable. My profile pic of me doing the weightlifter pose was taken the same day, and inspired the pose she made in the bottom photo. Willow is actually much taller now. She’s only a few inches shorter than me (not difficult since I’m a shorty myself) and her feet are darn near as big as mine!!