“Are you ready to go?” “Yes Mom.” “Do you think you’re dressed warmly enough?” “Yes, Mom.” “You know it’s only 50 degrees outside?” “Yes, I know Mom.” “Because you could run back in and get a sweatshirt, I would wait.” “No Mom, I am fine.“
So began an episode of what I used to fondly call, “Walking the Mom” back when I was in high school. You wouldn’t know by the button down sweaters she used to wear on these walks, but my Mom was a walking speed demon. Once she headed out the door she was off like a shot and for the next 30 minutes or so I was hard pressed to keep up.
Our walks would take us around the neighborhood, by the elementary and high schools, through downtown Middleton, by her folks house on Hubbard Avenue, pretty much anywhere you could draw a 2+ mile circle from our house on Columbus Drive. Despite the open-air locations, at one point or another my Mom would use the opportunity to “corner me” so to speak and ask the list of questions she had been compiling since our last walk. Typical answers by me included: “Mom, I am just friends with that girl, and no one says ‘make a play’ anymore“; “ Yes, I did say thank you”; “No, I was not aware that boxer shorts are healthier than briefs and by the way can we talk about something else.”
Fast forward a few decades and I am once again walking with my Mom. This time she is joining me at the Middleton Dog Park off of Hwy Q for walks around the .75 mile loop with other dog owners hoping to work off some of their dog’s energy before getting on with their days.
Both in high school and more recently my Mom’s main reason for walking was to get in better shape, with perhaps the collateral benefit of getting to spend some time together. Who knows maybe in high school her primary reason was social and the exercise was just a ruse. As a parent of two teenagers I realize that you take what you can get as far as social interaction with your kids. Teenagers tend to relate to us when they are ready and not always on our timetable. As I get older I also recognize that things won’t always be as they were or are and that I should take advantage of the opportunities as they present themselves.
These walks are a small example of something I have been thinking about for awhile that I call “social movement”. In a former career life I studied what people can do to improve their overall health status and quality of life and being physically active and socializing are among the most important. Combining these two you get “social movement”. If you look around the Middleton community you will see dozens of opportunities for social movement (nature conservancy, dog parks, exercise groups, bike rides, fun runs, etc.) and I look forward to exploring these in more depth in the not too distant future. But for now you will have to excuse me as it is once again time to “Walk the Mom”.