Have Fun (Whether You Like It or Not)

Picture this: it’s New Year’s Day. You are successfully not hungover after hosting a combo birthday party (in case you didn’t see me getting all misty-eyed, Cian turned four this weekend. I KNOW.) slash New Year’s Eve shindig at your house that went approximately nine hours long. You’ve spent the morning writing a list of resolutions and goals that might be a bit too ambitious (three pages too ambitious, to tell you the truth). You’ve spent the day teaching your girls how to blow bubbles with gum and hanging out with your son and now, you, my dear friend, have ventured out to a little wilderness trail with your family and dog.*

“Let’s go on a fun walk with Riley!” you’d told the family, and you smiled the entire forty minutes it took everyone to find their gloves (or “glubs,” as our favorite four-year-old calls them. I KNOW.). And you do: the sun in shining, and the dog is actually not losing her shit over being someplace new, and everyone’s happily trudging along. Everyone, that is, except the Mighty Quinlan, who makes it exactly 0.4 miles before she starts acting like we’ve strapped a two-ton boulder to her back and told her to march. She trails behind us, stopping every few feet to sit down in the grass and sigh. She walks dangerously close to the sides of ponds and creek beds, like she knows that if she just happens to fall in she won’t be forced to do this hideous walking anymore. She complains that her legs hurt, even though the trail is flatter than my chest circa now  1990. At one point, she calls out to me.

“Mom!”

There’s another sound from her, like a sigh and a groan and the nail-scraping wail of indignant angst all mixed together.

“How do you LIKE this??”

We were at mile 0.5 by this point. I know.

We still managed to get another 1.5 out of her, I think. We held hands, and ran sprints, and raced. She only almost fell into one body of water after that, and walked the dog herself without getting dragged along like an aluminum can tied to the back of a newlywed’s car. She even smiled a couple of times, so there you go.

Wait’ll I tell her what I have planned for tomorrow.

* This wilderness trail is actually a defunct golf course erroneously built on swampland. Its new developers “generously donated” this swamp to our township as a preserve. Wasn’t that kind?  #suburbs