Austin and Summer,
These monthly notes I write to you are, in many ways, the baby book we are keeping for you so we can look back and remember how we were feeling and what you were doing at different stages of your first year. Since some months can feel pretty similar to the previous one, certain entries are harder to write than others. You may be doing different stuff and of course our love for you grows every day, but to simply write about that can feel really repetitive. And honestly, monthly love letters would be kind of boring for you to read about in the future. So, I think I’m going to take a slightly different approach this month and write about an experience that I had.
On October 7th, I ran the Chicago Marathon, which I’d been training for over the past 6 months or so. This was noteworthy for two main reasons: 1) I ran a marathon, and 2) it was the first time since you were born that I went out of town over night without you.
This was third marathon I’d run, and I trained harder for this one than either of the previous two. In my first two marathons, the results were mixed. I finished my first marathon (the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington DC) in basically 5 hours due to some unforeseen circumstances and a really bad day. Right after that race ended I thought I’d never run another marathon. But months later I realized I still had unfinished business to tend to, so I started training again and ran my second marathon (the Atlanta Marathon) the following year. My goal was to break 4 hours, but I finished in 4:00:04. It was a huge improvement, but I still had more to accomplish. That’s why this year I trained even harder, with lots of long runs, plenty of speed training, and even giving up dessert for the two months leading up to the race (which is not easy to do around your mommy).
On race day, the first 20 miles went amazingly well and I was on pace to finish in 3:30, which would have been an incredible time for me. But the last 6.2 miles, I got a ton of cramps and really had to battle through some serious pain to keep going. I ended up finishing in 3:41, 19 minutes better than my last race.
So, why give you all of that detail? For a couple of reasons. First, you should know that while it is easy to want good things to just happen, more often than not you have to work really hard to achieve things that will make you proud of yourselves. And sometimes even when you work incredibly hard for something, the results still aren’t exactly what you’d hoped for. And you know what? That doesn’t even mean that you’ve failed. It just means you experienced a journey along the way. And if the goal you were trying to achieve still seems appealing to you, you should use that experience as motivation to get right back up, try again, and succeed the next time around.
I also wanted you to know that during those last few miles, when it got really tough, I thought about you guys and was able to keep going because I wanted to do my best for you. Your mom and I talk all the time about how proud we are to have you as our babies. And as you grow up and your list of accomplishments gets longer and longer, we’ll only grow prouder. But something I’d never really spent much time thinking about was the other side of things. And the reality is, I want you to be proud of me, too. I know you’re much too young right now to understand what that means, but hopefully when you’re old enough to read this by yourselves, you’ll understand and you’ll even think that your dad has done some pretty cool stuff in his life.
As for being out of town, I had a great time on my trip and I was busy for most of it, but I was definitely very excited to be back home with mommy and my two little monkeys. We talked via Skype a couple times a day, so I was able to see you guys eat and play, even if you were confused about why daddy was inside of mommy’s computer. Of course mommy had no problem at all being home alone with you. But this month mommy is going out of town for a few days, so hopefully I’ll be able to report back with the same level of success when she gets home from her trip.
As for this month…Austin, I think it’s always kind of up for interpretation as to what a baby’s true “first word” is, but we’re pretty sure that you said “ball” this month. I was at work and mommy was holding a ball when you made a “ba” sound. I’ve seen it happen several times since, so we’re pretty convinced it’s for real. I don’t know if this means you’re going to be some kind of amazing athlete or if you’re going to walk around with your hands in your pants all day (you already like to do that in your bath every night), but we’ll find out soon enough.
In other news, you also got your first haircut this month. Your sideburns were starting to look like payos and it was driving your mom crazy, so we went to some fancy salon and you got to sit in a firetruck and get your hair cut. It was actually pretty uneventful, so rather than describe the whole scene, I’ll just let you watch the video.
Summy, you finally got tired of seeing Austin move and shake all over the house while you sat and watched, so you decided to start crawling too this month. Now you’re all over the place, too. You also started dancing to music. Mommy has been taking you guys to music class and it seems to really have resonated with you. Anytime we put on music from one of your toys, particularly the ABC’s, you start moving back and forth to the music. It’s pretty damn adorable. And you also starting clapping your hands this month, so whenever we say “Yay, Summy!” in a real excited voice, you clap your little hands and give us a huge smile.
Can’t wait to see what you guys do next month!