2004 Cleveland Triathlon. At that point, Brandon and I had been racing together for 4 years, and, though I was faster, I always stayed with him. Now that he was 15 and training hard, it was only a matter of time before he would pass his dad. The season prior, I had mentioned to my wife that I was no longer holding back in our races; he was keeping pace with me. In fact, during the last event of 2003, he seemed to wait on me.
After finishing the Lake Eire swim, we climbed out at the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame and jumped on our cycles. We stayed together for the 25-mile ride and then transitioned for the run, a fairly flat 10K. I could tell I was holding Brandon back, but he didn’t want to abandon me since I’d always stayed with him. I knew he could likely medal that day if he would drop me, but he was reluctant. With two miles left, the lead woman in his age group passed us in her sleek tri-suit. We both looked at her then looked at each other and then at her again. Without a word, we gave the man nod and he was gone. Brandon was becoming a man. Our relationship shifted.
So it happened. Milestones: girls, jobs, graduation, college, and as of Valentine's Day this year, engaged! My little guy was no longer little. Complete independence lay ahead.
Presently, I’m preparing for my new role, and I eagerly anticipate the autumn wedding. This occasion will fulfill our prayers. Julie and I prayed over him each bedtime for his future wife that, just as we asked God to protect Brandon and raise him into a Godly man, He would do the same for this unknown girl somewhere out there. We are so thankful that Nicole entered his life.
Yes, I am a mix of emotions. Proud, for sure, and happy he has found a captivating woman. Yet a sense of loss overcomes me, and I get weepy when I think about letting go. I’m excited for his future and marriage yet unsure how I will hold up on the big day.
So what’s the next milestone? Granddad? No, I am too young! That can wait.
Oh, yes. And he did medal in that race. Sport imitating his life.
Ed Marx is CIO at Texas Health Resources and a proud Dad of two.