Yesterday I got to participate in a triathlon with my daughter. I don’t mean she was there and cheered me on, and I don’t mean that I was there and watched her compete. I mean she was a racer and I was a racer. As I write those few simple sentences, it doesn’t seem like it would have meant to me what it ultimately meant to me. It was one of the most powerful experiences in a relationship chock full of powerful experiences.
We got to train together before the race. We got to load the car the night before, racking the bikes, being sure we had all the crap you have to have for a tri. We got to wake up at the buttcrack of dawn together, and make the hour-long car ride together, trying to get out the heebie-jeebies you always get before a race. We picked up our packets together, got body-marked together, prepared our transition area together, and stood in the start line together. Then, because of the nature of a triathlon, we didn’t see one another again til the finish line.
The race was a sprint distance, and as those races go, it was a fun and well-run event. The bike ride was very picturesque around the lake, and the weather was flawless. It’s a small race (350) so it has a very festive, homey feel, and it has a post-race beer and food tent that is superior. Amy did a great job in her first triathlon experience.
I’m trying to come up with the words to describe why this was so meaningful to me. I love this sport and everything associated with it…the research, the training, the preparing, the event itself. To have Amy not only willingly but enthusiastically participate in all those steps with me was unbelievably gratifying. She has seen me repeat this process numerous times and chose to not only willingly, but enthusiastically want to accomplish this goal, attempt this undertaking, and that thrills me to the core of my soul. She was wide open to the suggestions I made about training, she asked me about the nutrition, she was interested in the strategy of each leg of the race, she worked out her own plan, and in so doing, made her mom spastically, deleriously happy.
Amy may or may not ever participate in another triathlon. She kicked ass in this one, and she may, as some triathletes do, feel the bug to do another one. She may choose to let this experience stand for itself and on its own merit. Neither of those decisions will in any way add to or detract from the opportunity I had yesterday to share in this demanding, intense sport with this phenomenal human being.
When you are in love with someone as I’m in love with Ames, and they choose to participate in something that holds great value to you, it moves you beyond words. It makes me revisit and recommit a promise I made to my children years ago: That anything they would allow me to do with them, I would do – whether that thing would require me to change my schedule, my fitness, my attitude, face my fears, my insecurities, my past, tax my wallet, my patience, my limits – I reaffirm that vow.
Thank you Amy, for your tremendous gift yesterday.