One year ago today I was thinking to myself, life is pretty good. I am in (probably) close to the best shape of my life (training for Long Course Worlds which consisted of a 4k swim, 120k bike, and 30k run). I have an incredible family – both immediate and extended (you say tomatoes, I say tomatoes – what is really the difference). Things were happening and it was a great year.
Anyways, back to the race in November. I believe it is a good process to think of something a year ago …. and reflect on it… at any point in your life.
I remember a few things about that weekend vividly. I remember driving with our kids, following my parents, to Vegas. I remember it was my son’s birthday and I kept telling him how lucky he was to go to Vegas for his 7th birthday. I remember being grateful they were there as we pulled over to dine at the infamous Mad Greek restaurant after 5+ hours on the road (LA Traffic = Long). I remember my dad playing tennis with our kids so I could rest. I remember the nerves the night before the race. I remember giving my dad a hug at 5am when I found out the swim was cancelled. He didn’t have to say anything because he knew just how I felt (he has been with me a lifetime remember). I can remember seeing my husband, kids, sister, parents, and best friends watching me, cheering for me at mile 55 of the bike pushing up a hill. I can remember the proud look my dad gave me when I finished (amongst so many other smiling proud faces!). But one of the best parts I can remember is the “speech” my dad gave at dinner the night after my race. He spoke about how proud he was, sure, but it was a speech about being – simply put – a PROUD DAD. It wasn’t about that particular weekend. Sure, it was a goal of mine to compete at Worlds, but it was more than that. I had always enjoyed triathlons, specifically being competitive, and this was just the icing on the cake knowing how hard work truly does pay off. Not just in triathlons, but in all facets of my life. A good year and I had my family there to celebrate.
Anyways, the speech wasn’t about me. It wasn’t about racing, or triathlons. It was about being a good parent (did he ever truly know how great he was? sure hope so). It was what my dad coined as his “Laws of Parenting”.
1. Play with the kids while they want to play with you, time passes quickly.
2. Get them involved in something to the extent you can influence it; they will find something that you may not like.
3. Get to know their friends, include them in family activities in genuine ways. You’ve ‘won the battle’ if their friends say “your folks are really neat!”
The funny thing is I never saw this list. He didn’t post it in our bedrooms, he didn’t preach it to us daily. He LIVED IT. And that made all the difference.
I think about that a lot. I think about those three sayings and how even up until this year with my young children, he never told me how to parent. Advice, yes. Force, judge, no.
A lot happens in a year. With my father no longer around, I will hold onto these memories more than I ever imagined. I guess that’s how memories work. You live your life the best you can and you hold on to what you can. I knew that night how lucky I was. Lucky to be surrounded by my family and close friends. Lucky for what my parents have given me throughout my life. They didn’t just stop at waving me off to college and that was it, they kept going. They kept supporting, they kept loving, and they kept believing.
I am grateful. My mom has already done my dad proud by continuing this show of love. She is amazing, strong, supportive, giving, and loving. And and and and and!!! The memories of what wasn’t really important are being slowly erased (the swim being cancelled) and the memories of being surrounded by loved ones are continuing to grow. I am pretty damn lucky. Do me a favor and remember what IS important in life. Hold onto it tight as you don’t know what tomorrow will bring.