We are, genetically, a speedy little family. Laurea has always been a fast walker, and I spent more or less my entire childhood running wherever it was I had to go—whether or not it was permissible. Kina has mostly taken after us both, and is known by various neighborhood parents and caregivers as “the running girl”. Walking, for Kina, is a way for her to mock other, slower people. Running, to her, is how legs work.
I am forty-seven years old, though, having become one of those slower people now, and ill at ease with conventional exercise rituals; I have taken a trust-and-follow approach to walking with Kina, who can usually be found a full city block ahead of me on our strolls, as I plod dutifully after her. I usually manage to keep up with Laurea, at least, but a recent switch in my mid-pandemic footwear led to an unexpected bout of achy calves and a somewhat more predictable bout of whiny me.
This helps to explain how I could be seen slouching yesterday towards the local playground in a dismal third place, waving desperately to the rest of my light-footed nuclear family as they scampered into the distance. “Slow your roll!” I shouted after them in vain, perplexing the strangers who flowed around me like water around a stuck log.
I later gained an ally in my struggles, as Kina, who had stumbled while (wait for it) running and gotten a proper scrape on her left knee, took up the mantle of Chief Family Whiner. The Running Girl hung back with me, Daddy Tendercalves, as Laurea trotted off toward some consolation ice cream six blocks away. “Slow your roll, Mommy!” she called out to Laurea, now nearly half a block ahead of us and clearly irritated with the impediment of a family with burdened limbs.
Finally outnumbered, Laurea reluctantly slowed to a relaxed stroll, at which pace the three of us could finally hold hands and talk about the important topics of the day: booboos, calf strain, gelato, and dinner. We limped home together like mortals, taking in the cracks on the sidewalk and the numbers on houses, the details crisp and our breaths even.
Today’s Parade is a collage curated by Kina from coloring books, Highlights magazine, and the most recent issue of Elle Décor. The resulting artwork was pasted up by her mother, who is very proud of her efforts—and should be.