Crossing the finish line. What joy. What elation! Look at Andy. So happy and proud. This was his second triathlon with Paul.
Now look at Kate. This was her first triathlon. She finished all right, but check out this expression:
She was not happy. Oh, the swim went great. 150 yards. She’s been on the swim team this summer and that part was easy enough. She was nervous for the bike portion due to the fact it would be her first time riding in traffic. But Paul stuck with her the entire way and she said that part wasn’t so bad. Then came the run. 1.5 miles. She anticipated this to be the easiest leg of the race because she figured she could always walk. She forgot about the fact her father would be right beside her every step of the way. She should’ve known Paul wouldn’t let her walk.
“I pushed her and she did it,” he said with satisfaction. “She could’ve thrown a fit and sat down and cried, but she didn’t. She let me push her.” And he couldn’t have been prouder.
When she crossed that finished line, she announced that that race was her first and last triathlon. But I knew it was just a matter of time. You see, when they give you your t-shirt and tag, they also write your number big and bold with a permanent marker on your shoulder and down your left calf. It takes days for these badges of courage to wash off. You see, we left town for a big family reunion right after the race and when all the cousins saw the impressive “109” branded down her leg and asked about it…well, that’s why triathlons, marathons and iron mans are so intoxicating. It’s the story of death defying strength and endurance you get to tell over and over, again and again.
So I don’t think that was her last triathlon. Paul’s always ranting on about how our kids need to learn to “do hard things.” He subscribes to the Success Cycle Theory: That if your child finishes a hard task, they are imbued with such inner strength that they welcome even more difficult challenges and tackle those as well, and so on and so forth. Success breeds success. And I agree.
So maybe we aren’t big on teaching our kids to walk with books on their heads or speak with perfect diction and never use the word “funner.” But make no mistake, we are definitely running a “finishing school” around here.