Thursday, June 21, 2012

Sweatin' Like An Oldie

This week, we had a rather unexpected heat wave in NY. It's only mid-June, but for the last three days, the temperatures have been in the mid- to upper-nineties, with a heat index (that is, what it actually feels like) in the 100-105 degree range. In a word, brutal. Some schools districts that don't have air conditioning dismissed school a few days early for the summer because, they figured, why torture everyone? No one is learning anything now anyway.

So leave it to me to drag my kids to a sporting center for their final day of after-school sports. Think 'giant warehouse with multiple rooms'. Think 'high ceilings'. Think 'completely impossible space to air condition'. Yes, on the second to last day of school, with the temps in the upper 90s, I dragged my kids to said location to wait for the teacher, who was running late. This gave the kids ample time to run around inside a building that had no cross ventilation, no windows and just a couple of ceiling fans about 40 feet above them circulating the hot air in the room. This helped them to work up a sweat so that, by the time the coach arrived, they were nice and slippery and oh-so-ready to wrestle with other equally slippery, sweaty kids.

I told myself it was the last day, the classes were already paid for, and we were going for ice cream afterward so they could tough it out. I schmoozed with other parents to take my mind off the fact that I was sweating profusely and becoming downright offensive myself, even more so than usual. And I looked at my watch every four minutes or so to see when class would end.

Ultimately, the kids did great. Sure, they finished the class more flushed, dripping and uncomfortable than usual. But they wrestled, played soccer and ran around like kids should, which is all I wanted. Honestly, once they got started playing, I don't think they even felt the heat. OK, maybe they did, but it didn't stop them, bless their little hearts. In fact, they didn't once say to me, "Mom, can't we just skip it today? It's soooo hot!" It never even occurred to them.

It occurred to me though. Truly, the last thing I wanted to do was sit there sweating on the sidelines while they ran around for an hour (OK, maybe that was the second to last thing. Doing what they were doing was the last thing I wanted to be doing). But they never suggested blowing it off. So I did the right thing and kept my mouth shut, rather than walking into the building, declaring it way too hot and giving them permission to cut class. As much as I wanted to, I thought staying would send a better message. Their choices and chances to cut classes will come soon enough, and I'll likely never know about it when they do it. Why encourage it now, when it's not even an option on their radar?

When we finally dragged ourselves outside, the temperature had dropped to about 86 degrees. There was  a hot wind blowing. But after being inside, where the temps were probably closer to 112, it felt like a cool spring day in comparison.

And the ice cream only made it better.

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