Watching your kids grow and the inevitable slope of time

Happy 8th birthday Izzy!

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate,

A few years ago I remember sitting on the front porch on a warm spring day. I was feeling melancholy that day despite the weather change that normally brightens my spirits. For some reason I noticed my own hands that day. I didn’t recognize them and I began to wonder how that could happen. The hands I saw were old, with distinct lines, wrinkles, and the general withered look of age replacing youth. In my mind I was still young. I was a triathlete. But that day my hands looked old and it made me sad to realize I didn’t know who was anymore.

I’ve always been fond of the saying: “how old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?”

I’d prided myself on saying “oh, I’m still 18 at heart.” After all, I was out racing climbing mountains on my bike, and doing things most aging people don’t. I certainly wasn’t old yet, but the signs were starting to show.

That was the day though that I realized that time moves on. Now I see the grey in my hair, the crows feet at my eyes, and the weight of each day in the mirror, even the good days. Sometimes I still feel young at heart. And sometimes I don’t. I guess that’s the difference for me.

All of this sad talk to say this: one of my favorite things to do is to watch you in the rear view mirror, Izzy. Saturday morning I drove you to gymnastics. Just me and you. I could hardly keep my eyes off you. You stared  out of the back window  with the wind from the open sun roof blowing in your hair. You squinted your eyes, wrinkled your nose, and I wondered what thoughts go through your head. I wondered if you dream about the ocean, our summers at Seabrook Island and Sea Grove Beach, or about places I’ve promised you in Europe. I love that you love words like your daddy and art like your mommy…and numbers “aren’t your thing.” I have no doubt that you’re going to change the world and I can’t wait to be there for you the whole way.

You’re growing up. You’re becoming beautiful instead of cute. And my heart feels proud when I see the sweet spirit you’ve always possessed matching the beauty you’re growing into.

This makes it easier for me to see my own face and hands growing old. It really does.

8 years ago when I first saw you, I learned my purpose in life when I became a father. I love you, Izzy. Happy 8th birthday, baby. There are lots of adventures ahead of us and I can’t wait to see the amazement they bring you.

It was mommy’s birthday on Friday, but she wanted to celebrate your birthday instead. We had 10 of your friends spend the night. It seemed like a good idea at the time. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard as much squealing. Max and Kate, you two spent the night at Grandma and Grandfathers.

The party started with pizza and Xbox Kinect. (thanks again, Xbox) Then mommy had a couple of the local teenage girls come over and do hair and nails. Your friends loved it!

It was well past midnight when I finally had to get up and lay the law on going to sleep. Your friends were just too excited.

Saturday you went to a party for your friend Emma. Sunday Nana and Papaw and Grandma and Grandfather came to our house and we celebrated all over again. It was birthday weekend for you! We’ll celebrate mommy next weekend.

It was a big training weekend for me.

Saturday I did a 12 mile progression run with each mile being faster than the previous. I think the first mile was around 9:20 and the 12th mile around 7:30.

Sunday morning I did 50 miles on the bike. I normally like to do my run the day after a ride, but because of our crazy weekend I had to reverse it this weekend. My legs weren’t happy. The 50 miles hurt more than usual. I did take this interesting picture of the sunrise though:

I love you,

– Daddy

Training:

Wed: none (long work hours)

Thurs: none (long work hours)

Fri: none (long work hourse)

Sat: 12 mile progression run

Sun: 50 mile ride on the time trial bike