Bare feet on the kitchen floor, the sound of waves, and 3rd grade

Izzy on the first day of 3rd grade

Dear Izzy, Max, and Kate,

Mommy and I sat alone on the beach on the last day of vacation. She talked to me about the sound of waves. I’ve thought about it since, and I’m still trying to grasp it.

The sun rises and sets, as we sleep, go about our days, come and go – the sound of waves against the shore is a constant rhythm. It never stops. Played by  patterns above and gravitational pulls. Somewhere across the world, every second of every day, oceans I’ve never seen reach shores I’ll likely never walk on, breaking in white foam and a hushed obligation to carry on. Always.

Friday you started 3rd grade, Izzy. It seems like yesterday we brought you home as a newborn- and in between kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grade. Watching you grow up is at once both thrilling and heart breaking.

Your triathlon is coming up this weekend, so you asked to go for one last “training ride” on Friday. You put on your Garneau tri suit, as a dress rehearsal. To say I was proud is an understatement. You’re so excited for Saturday’s race!

Still thinking about watching Izzy go off to 3rd grade on Friday I laid in bed on Saturday night with you two little ones as you slept. I stared at your faces in the grey light of the street lamp coming through the blinds. And I thought about you, Izzy. How powerless I am to stop this whole process. Each day all three of you grow up more and more. I was terrified at the thought of having no idea what life holds for you. You’ll have victories, I’m sure. And heartbreaks. Graduations. And Failures. Pain. And great transcendence. Kids of your own. And grand kids. Your stories are being told. Just as mine have been for nearly 38 years.

I felt helpless in that moment of realization. I can’t stop time. And I think it’s probably for the best that I have no idea what’s ahead. The days pass too fast though, so I listen for your bare feet on the kitchen floor with more urgency, like constant waves rolling against the sand. And I know there will come a time when I have to leave the sound behind, but it will carry on. It’s bittersweet to realize the brevity and the eternal condition we exist in.

We went to visit Nana and Papaw on Sunday. Here are a few pictures:

Max, here you are on your motorcycle – with Papaw’s 1964 1/2 Ford Mustang in the background. We all went for a Sunday drive around the peninsula.

Here’s Papaw showing you how cars used to be made. You love and seem to understand things like that in ways that I never have.

Your Papaw served two tours in Vietnam. He brought home lots of items, including a Vietnamese Montagnard cross bow. (The Montagnards are a tribe of mountain inhabitants who live off of the land). He strung it for us and we took turns shooting a slightly dull Montagnard arrow.

Izzy, here you are shooting the crossbow. Strange to think that the weapon you are holding was made by a mountain tribe in Vietnam, probably 4 decades before your birth. Heirlooms and generational stories are important. Remember that when you have kids and grandkids of your own.

Kate, you didn’t sit still long enough for me to get any good pictures of you on Sunday, so here’s another beach picture I like of you. I love your curly hair blowing in the sea breeze in this picture. Mommy commented that you look like an angel.
I love you,

– Daddy

Training:

Friday: Swam 2100 straight at 5am

Saturday: Rode 45 miles then ran 2 miles at 5:30am

Sunday: Ran 11 miles