March 23, 2007


I realized this week that I'm not going to become an Ironman.

You see, I took the kids to the beach for a few days this week. We go a few times a year to Sandestin, on the Florida panhandle. It's an easy drive but a world away.

Although they are young, the kids feel ownership there. They've explored most of the couple thousand acres beachside and bayside. They know which is our table at Roberto's, the pizza place where we go at least twice each trip a couple hundred yards from the condo. They know every nook and cranny of the mega-playground also walkable from the condo. It's their place... No, it's our place...

I wish more people, moms and dads, had the chance to spend several consecutive days uninterrupted with their kids. It is an amazing experience. I'm talking EVERY minute of the day with them. I think that's a rather unusual thing these days to spend every minute of the day with your kid. The rewards are priceless.

My 3 year old Anna has recently learned to create and tell stories. Now she's heard me tell countless stories, always starting "Once upon a time." Hers always start "Once a little time..." I smile every time because she knows she is so right. Her stories usually are about mommies and daddies and little girls named Anna (surprise!). But she weaves into the plot monsters and tornadoes and houses and volcanoes. She gravitates toward destruction, which is 180 degrees contradictory to her sugar sweet demeanor.

And she always wants you to guess what she is going to say.
Today, she was telling us a story, "And then the su..."
And I'm supposed to guess the word she is going to say.
Me: "Sun."
Anna: "no, sunn....."
Me: "sunny"
Anna: "sunnd.."
Me: "Sunday"
Anna: "no, sunday..."
Me, now laughing "I just said Sunday..."
Anna: "Nooooo... sunndyday"
Me: "Sunny day?"
Anna: "Noooo... sunndyday"
Me: "It's not sunny day?"
Anna: "Noooo.... sunndyday"
Me: "I don't know then."
Anna: "Guess daddy!!"
Me: "I don't know what it is, what is it Anna?"
Anna: "It's sunny day!!"
Me: "But I said that a bunch of times..."
Anna: "But I didn't hear you..."

And the story goes on...

I had 2 occasions this week when I was struck with the idea that my life is absolutely beautiful.

The first was Tuesday when we were building a sandcastle just out of reach of the ocean's waves. There was no time, only the moment. The kids were quiet, each digging, pouring, and shaping the sand. There were people around us, but the sea breeze and the crashing waves drowned all other sounds. The only noise - wind, and waves. Kids working diligently, healthy and beautifully happy. Middle of a weekday when most people are sitting at a desk. And my thought - I'm here. This is where I've worked to be. I don't need anything else, because I have it all right here.

The second moment was of similar thought process but it occurred this morning when we were all in the hot tub. 9 am. Azure skies. Quiet. The only noises were the water jets and the kids' laughter. And my recurring thought - I'm here.

We often get trapped into always looking toward the future. Our goals for the future too easily control our lives in the present. But we can't shortchange the present or we'll end up with an unappreciated past. And you never know when the future will stop following the present.

On June 24 I'll complete an Ironman. But I won't change. I won't become an Ironman.

I realized this week that I don't need to become anything - I am everything I want to be.


stronger said...


TJ said...

Very nice. There's nothing like getting away to the coast with family to help put things in proper perspective. Sounds like completing your race will only add to an already full life.

Iron Girl Nyhus said...

Nicely put...thank you.

Megan said...

I am learning that being an Ironman is not about the finish line, but integrating the concepts of perseverance, focus, and the ability to keep life in perspective, especially to help create balence and organize priorities. When you look at it that way, you were an Ironman a long time. The medal is just the jewlery. Glad you took some family vacation time.

ironjenny said...

Omigosh. Your kids are awesome! I love the video, "... once a little time...".
What's so cool about the sand message is that it's just the TIP of her iceberg with you. You are priceless in her eyes and in her heart.
That you can recognize it for all that it is, is just beautiful. I can't decide who's luckier - you or them.

Bike Chick said...

Boy, look at those smiles! :) The video is a riot. She is too cute. The love in your family is a great thing and something that will give your kids a wonderful foundation as they grow.

Love the pics! :)

TriGirl 40 said...

Great post. You seem more like an IronDAD, combining the best of what makes you, you - with giving the world to your kids.

Matt said...

Awesome post. Well put. It appears your priorities are in order.

Jennifer said...

Great post. You are very fortunate

Robin said...

Beautifully said. I loved hearing your daughter's "Once a little time" on the video, how cute is that!

The time we have with our kids, just to be with them and see who they are right this minute, it's solid gold. I'm glad you got some of those beautiful moments on the beach.

Mallie said...

Great post. You said it all, there's really nothing to add.

Di aka "Mrs Bigun" said...

very nice.very nice.

Cindy Jo said...

Wonderful post! In those moments I want to freeze time. I think to myself: remember this, remember this. It is bittersweet to know that they are growing up every single day.