Christian likes to come home from school and hit the treadmill. It unwinds his day. He runs hard and he runs far. Sometimes, I hear that thing going on and on for what seems like a really long time. So I intervene.
I come around the corner and he's plugging away .. with the belt at a decent incline and his hands jammed in the pockets of his shorts.
"Not the best way to run!" I call.
"What??" he hollers breathlessly, headphones still in his ears. I touch mine and he pulls out an ear bud.
"Running with your hands in your pockets .. not the best way to run. If you face plant tripping on your shoelaces ..." at least after all these years he's finally learned to tie them.
"You've been down here a long time." I say, peering around at the treadmill's dashboard stats. 7.5 miles at 5.6 run with 75% incline.
"Don't you think you've had enough?"
I can't even begin to imagine that kind of run. "Sorry, I lost track of the time," he sucks in a big breath and hops off looking suddenly easily un-winded.
Still can't imagine it. My brain would scream hateful thoughts at myself should I even try.
"How do you do that?" I ask on the way back up, "What can you possible be thinking to produce such motivation??"
I'm genuine. I'd really love to know the secret. The rhythm of my feet chant in the moment, 'Don't like this, Don't like this, Don't like this' no matter how much distraction I attempt to use in over-ride.
"Well ..." he pauses at the stair top to inhale one last breath, "Mostly ... I think about candy ... and whether or not they'll be enough candy selections at the gas station the next time I go in ... and how much money I might need to earn to buy all the candy I could want if they had it ... like big league chew .. and swedish fish ... and zebra striped gum ... " and he continues trailing off up the stairs.
Oh, to be an uncomplicated fifteen year old boy.
It's later and I'm shoving dishes into the dishwasher. Cleaning a kitchen left over-turned by afternoon snack making. There's frustration behind it because by now these folks should know better. But there's homework stacks and I'm allowing the slide.
Still, there's gripe in my voice as I call the 6'3" boy in to take out the trash for the third time.
"Are you irritated, Mom?" he asks in apologetic tones.
"How could you tell?" I can't help the squint and smile approach as his astute concern melts my momentary irritant.
He pauses at the garage door trash bag in hand, "You know, Mom ... Maybe you should try thinking about candy ..." and the door closes behind him.
I shake my head at uncomplicated simplicity.
Amid the smart mouth truth of it.
That moments in motherhood's rougher run can come with a sweet solution of affectionate reflection. And when it doesn't .. just think of candy.