How should you define ‘quality time’? Depends on your point of view, I suppose. Some readers here will expect me to say ‘time spent in the gym with friends’ and, of course, that would be excellent – like these four friends all looking good.
Many will say ‘time spent with family’, and that’s right too. Young Chris (my son Leo’s best mate) spent almost the whole summer vacation with us, away from his family. Now his mum and dad are claiming him back, so he’s having to spend evenings in for a while! Of course, he still does his morning training with Leo and the rest at ours, then spends the school day with them…
So, last evening, it was just Leo and Jude in what Leo likes to call our ‘sweat room’. Jude is the new guy just moved here from Canada, 14yo and VERY into working out. They were pairing to work on their legs – squats with the other on their shoulders, or pulling back on the other’s feet for hamstring curls. I happened to be about to wander in, and caught the end of a conversation in which Jude invited Leo over to his place. Leo responded ‘No, I need to spend some time with Dad – he’s lonely ‘cos Dave is still away.’
They do say that eavesdroppers never hear good about themselves, but I thought that was very sweet of him. It’s true, too – Dave’s still with the rest of the crew at the circus tour and I’m missing him… lots…
So Leo and ‘dad’ spent our own quality time last evening. Much of it (rather freakily you might think) on our nail beds, on which we do need to keep in training for our shows. As we both get to get ‘crushed’ between two beds with others on top during the performance, we worked on that too, weighing each other down – also Leo doing his arm balancing on my stomach for a while, and me on him in various balances because our bodies need to ‘remember’ how to handle the extra weight and discomfort. OK, there are other ways of spending an evening with your son, but that’s us weirdos for you.
And we talked. About girlfriends, for example. When we set off on the circus tour back in June, Chris was ‘hot’ on Jaymee, but it fizzled to nothing almost immediately despite them being thrown together in the team. Leo similarly had a crush on a girl called Karla, who worked with Jaymee in her acrobatic classes: that died over the summer too – I guess their separation didn’t help. I wondered what was going on. Short answer seems to be they all got bored with it. But Leo and Chris (and their other friends also) still talk endlessly about girls when they’re training – hard not to eavesdrop on that when we’re all together in that ‘sweat room’! ‘Don’t worry, Leo, the right girl will come along eventually!’ I try to sound encouraging. ‘Like you found Dave?’ Well yes, I guess that’s how it was. He and I were thrown together in a similar situation to how Jude finds himself now – strangers in an American High School, thrown together (see Loving the Boy ) – but boy/boy rather than boy/girl. ‘Jude’s gay, too – he told me’ added Leo in an off-hand sort of way. Typical of a boy born of gay parents and growing up in a household with what amounted to two dads and two mums – just seems quite normal to him, bless him. And, here in 2015, down in the Bible Belt, Jude obviously just comes out with it to friends he’s known only a few days. Gosh, it took Dave and I months even to admit it to ourselves. But that was 15 years ago. Times change. Sometimes for the better. Our personal story is continued in The Power of Love .
Jaymee joined us. ‘Hi bro – will you stretch me? They treat each other like brother and sister, Leo and Jaymee. They’re not, of course, but so many people assume they are twins that we all think that way! So there they are, two brilliant 13yo kids, loving their fitness and their acrobatics, working together on their routines which have already earned them circus work and TV – if that’s not quality time, I don’t know what is.
I left them to it, and went up to the house to make supper for the three of us. Still missing Dave, but those kids are a joy. Their lives still in front of them – who knows what adventures lie along the road? In my third book, our own adventures came as a bit of a surprise – well, a shock, really. Go read! Against All Odds.
OK. Enough talk. More pictures of fit guys for your galleries!
We so often focus on the chest and abs – let’s turn a few guys around:
A strong back adds inches to the chest measurement and is vital (along with strong shoulders) for acrobatics. Here are three progressive pictures of Andrey, showing his back development:
Bottom right the most recent. And a well-developed back makes a great pose…
…especially when posed right underneath the piece of kit that helped him to build it! Every domestic door frame should have one!
Back and front:
OK, those two have more work to do. But they’re obviously going to encourage each other…
In this game, having training mates pushing you on makes things happen…
…especially when they show their admiration…
…and its fun just chilling afterwards!
So I’m up early this morning. Dave too. We’ve just Skyped a little quality time of our own. He’s looking forward to coming home too – two more weeks and there’ll be another ‘change around’ with the circus group – Pete and Ivo have been persuaded to do a ‘shift’ despite more or less dropping out of performance a while back in favour of managing the gymnastics centre. The girls will be coming back too. And, a bit further ahead, I’ll be doing another stint. Busy, busy.
But first, there’ll be some Quality Time!
Postscript: I’m experimenting with text colours: some have found this grey difficult to read but other say the same about this pink. What do you think? Drop a comment or an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org