Leap Day Sports - The Triathlife of Jesse Thomas

Holy Crap, I’m Having a Kid

Helllooooooooooooooo crazy ass fans! Those bat poo craziest of you already know that about two weeks ago, Lauren announced we are expecting our first baby. Booyah!

I was going to prepare my own, co-announcement blog to hit the tabloids on the same day, but since I’ve been nuts busy with Picky Bars and drumming up sponsorship for next year, I decided I’d let Lauren take this one. She’s also a way bigger deal than me, and I didn’t want to look like an amateur next to the hilarity of her blog – “Kate Middleton also announced a pregnancy today, bitch tryin’ to steal my thunder.” Finally, I already duffed up a non-pregnancy announcement in our 2008 Holiday Card below.

The last time

See, I assumed that the instructions were clear that if you went the wrong way in the maze, you read FICTION. But all people saw was the little “Got Pregnant” at near the Finish, and everyone started freaking out, calling Lauren, etc. Wif wasn’t happy about that one.

So anyway, I thought it was time to let you guys know that even though I haven’t said anything publicly about it, I am aware that Lauren and I are having a baby. Please don’t mistake my silence for scared shiftlessness. I’m psyched.

Funny Peeps

One of the coolest things about announcing a pregnancy has been the response from our family and friends. Thanks everyone for your enthusiasm, it’s freaking awesome. Below are some of my favorite responses to Lauren’s announcement:

Screen Shot 2012-12-16 at 11.43.30 AM

Best swimming I did all season.

Screenshot_2012-12-16-11-49-54

Sounds appropriate to me.

Screen Shot 2012-12-16 at 11.36.15 AM

I’ve seen Rishi play at least a two sports, and he’s right.

Have to admit, I was a little worried, but yep, that thing is $!

Have to admit I was a little worried, but yep, that thing is money!

Screen Shot 2012-12-16 at 11.36.51 AM

Let’s hope it’s learning to swim better than I did.

How I FEEL About It

Ok, so you already knew the news, and while it’s entertaining to see people’s comments, I haven’t shared anything particularly insightful. So what you may or may not be interested in is, what the hell is going on in my head? What am I thinking? Am I excited, nervous, scared, gassy?

I can honestly say that I’m all of the above. It’s funny, writing this blog reminded me of a list (Excel spreadsheet) of lifetime goals that I made when I was 22. The list included everything from significant goals – own a business, be a great husband, live in Bend – to somewhat meaningless things that just popped into my head during the brainstorm – surf, drive a fast car, try a Sourdough Jack (seriously, it was in there). I won’t get too into the list, but I did look back at it for the first time in years. And you know what was the absolute number one lifetime goal across all categories? Be a Great Father.

The Transformation

I don’t know if I’m somehow inhaling Lauren’s hormones as she does her sonic boom pregnancy cough at night, but something about this process has made me more emotional than normal. There’s been the slightly funny/weird stuff like randomly tearing up at dad scene at end of Men in Black 3 while on the trainer and crying for 20 minutes straight while watching Parenthood by myself. DAMN YOU, Parenthood. But there’s also a fundamental feeling that has legitimately changed. I, like all of us, was, and continue to be, absolutely devastated by the news of the horrific tragedy in Newtown on Friday. Even though I don’t have a child yet, I feel it like I’m a parent, like I am beginning the “transformation” to a parent, and it’s a bewildering process to experience.

There’s certainly something innate and powerful in my personality that made me write “Be a Great Father” my number one all time goal at age 22. I can feel whatever created that goal ten years ago becoming a greater part of my psyche every day. It makes me feel older, more responsible, a little more cautious, protective, and focused. In the same way I felt myself slowing down on bike descents after I married Lauren, I feel a heightened sense of purpose behind my training and my career. The “Dad” switch has already been pulled, and I haven’t even met our kid yet.

Balancing Act

But with this excitement and sense of direction comes a bit of apprehension. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t concerned about how to manage the change in the midst of an emerging triathlon career. Triathlon is a selfish endeavor, requiring TONS of support from family, friends, coaches, etc. Because of these requirements, I sense a conflict emerging ahead, like trains headed toward each other on the same track. I know that I will struggle psychologically to manage the responsibilities of being a dad and a professional athlete. Not because I’ll be jealous of the attention, energy, or time needed to raise child, but because I know it’ll be difficult to pull myself away from parenting when I really do need to go train, travel to a race, or do the work necessary to support my career. Where does Be a Great Father end and Be a Great Athlete begin?

I know it isn’t as simple as that, and that there’s plenty of grey and overlap between those two lines. I know they can work in synergy to support each other, like in my heightened sense of purpose while training. Finding those synergies and the best balance between the two will be the primary challenge of the next few years. It’s the same challenge that any father faces in virtually any career. Luckily, I have lots of good friends, role models, and colleagues both in and outside of the sport to draw insight and experience from.

Back to the Homeland

It’s going to be a crazy time for both (all three) of us. Lauren will take a much needed break from competing this year, and I’ll be launching into my first year as an established pro. Lauren plans on returning to competition (gradually) after the baby is born. We know that we’ll need a LOT of support to make it all work in the best interests of us and Lima Bean. Because of this (and the Excel goal sheet) we’ve started looking for places in Bend to be closer to family and lifelong friends who can help us manage the new responsibilities of raising a child. It’s been a long time coming, I’m super psyched, and yes, I think Matt Lieto will make a great baby sitter.

So anyway, those are my initial thoughts. I’m sure it will be a long, emotional, and gassy journey with all kinds of twists and turns along the way, and I look forward to every bit of it. Until next time, crazies!

19 comments to Holy Crap, I’m Having a Kid

  • Big congrats to both of you! Just what you both need – a little more adventure in your life! Seriously though, you guys will be awesome parents.

    On another serious note, go buy the DVD “Happiest Baby on the Block” (http://www.happiestbaby.com/) before the little one arrives. We got the DVD as a gift with our first kid but waited until week4 to watch it…felt like total idiots when the methods worked and got the baby to sleep immediately every night.

    Wake up without an alarm as many mornings as you can…those days are numbered! But worth it.

    Happy holidays…

    SD

  • rick

    Jesse,
    Being a parent is the greatest joy in life. You’ve already felt the emotional tugs, they last a lifetime. With your skill with spreadsheets, you and Lauren’s attitude about life in general you both will be great parents. Congrats to you both as you embark on a journey that will bring you joy, heartache, frustration, happiness and love you can’t imagine.

  • Dang, I’ve had life goal lists, too, but no excel spreadsheet. Just mental check box style. I’ve gotten quite a few of them but I thought I’d have a baby daddy by now so, obviously, there is a new contingency plan in place which is also on a mental checkbox style checklist (no baby daddy isn’t going to stop me!).

    Anyways, I think you and Lauren will be fantastic parents and will raise a happy, well-adjusted, smart, active kid. I can’t wait to hear about adventures of the flomas babiator.

    I am putting in my request to babysit. In addition, if you need any baby naming help, check out the swistle baby names blog. I am an avid reader. Remember, the monogram is important.

    Enjoy pregnancy with your baby momma and get ready for your june baby.

    CONGRATULATIONS and best wishes!!!! You all will be fantastic. I know you will find a way to balance it all- you already do!

  • Congrats Dude! I can definitely relate. My wife is just shy of 12 weeks pregnant. Kate Middleton stole a lot of people’s thunder. Best of luck in 2013 and have fun!

  • Matthew

    Dude. Been there, done that. Totally, rippingly, fantastic. But you are dead-ass right about the impending conflict. For reference, check: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Kx99X-ICXA

    Plan for it now. Do not embrace denial. Discuss, negotiate, clarify, set expectations, etc. You will be an AWESOME dad, and there is no reason that you and Lauren can’t be AWESOME, loving, attentive, supporting parents despite the demands of your career… but you gotta nail the training/racing/preparation discussion now, not when you are both sleep-deprived. Believe me, trying to figure out how to peak for on 4 hours of sleep per night when you are actually getting 4 hours of sleep per night is not a productive exercise.

    Totally, totally cool mate. Our one and only is 2.5 years old. Pure magic.

  • jomofrodo

    I am stoked for both of you! It has been a while for me: my girls are 22 and 18 now; but I still remember the life-changing kaboom! of those early days of parenthood. There really is no way to prepare for the months of sleep-deprivation, but you do adjust. And then in the midst of the piles of laundry and used diapers and sinks-full of little plastic and rubber devices (you’re a triathlete, so you already have that, but these are different devices), something magical happens; you suddenly can’t remember your life without this little creature, this little person. All of the past seems almost like someone else’s life, and you wouldn’t go back if you could.

  • Graham

    It was totally Adam being a rock of a dad over the whole cancer thing that got to you wasn’t it? Yeah… I thought so, me too. If I find out it was Lauren who introduced M to that show I am totally going to put a curse on you guys.

    Psyched you’re moving to Bend! Love it there and can’t wait to come visit the new family!

  • So excited for you and Lauren! Many great adventures await you both (three!), and you have so much to look forward to Jesse. So very much. :)

  • Heidi

    Yay for babies and moving to Bend.
    You are going to a Chariot and all the attachments. It’s fun to take baby with you on some of the training adventures. We use ours every day!
    Keep us posted and we would love to see you two over the holidays.

  • DPutts

    CONGRATS to you and Lauren! Certainly an exciting time in your lives. It will definitely become a balancing act once baby is born, but it’s certainly do-able with support, as you’ve written. Enjoy the journey dude. I have a 6-week old baby girl at home, my first, and I can honestly say that being a dad is awesome, albeit pretty boring and tiring for the first 3-4 weeks. Oh and I laughed when I saw Kate dropped her pregnancy bomb on the same day as you guys…turns out I got married the same weekend as the Royal Wedding. Thunder stealers!

  • Jesse! Major congrats. You and Lauren will be amazing parents, obviously, and your little “Lima Bean” is lucky to belong to the two of you. I completely get the range of emotions… my husband and I are doing the same now, even though our athletic endeavors are way more low-key than yours. Regardless, bringing a baby into the world brings HUGE change and all we can do is take it one day at a time.

    Also, I think the move to Bend is a good one. Not only do you have more sunshine, but family is so important! I don’t think there’s been a single day in the past 7 months of my pregnancy that I haven’t thought of being at least in the same state as someone related to my husband or myself… perhaps Oregon will call me back home one day.

    Good luck with the remaining weeks of your journey toward fatherhood and keep us posted!

  • Ken

    Congratz man, we just welcomed out first and it is awesome. FYI, they love the hum of a bike trainer. Best lullaby available!

  • As a dad with two daughters (one nearly a teenager!) I have to say: being a dad is the best adventure ever. I had all sorts of life goals in my 20s as well, but they all went by the wayside when I found out I was going to be a dad. The goals are still there, and I’ll get there eventually, but at the top of that list is to be the best dad I can be. You guys are going to be awesome parents, and my daughter will make a good babysitter whenever you make it back to Bend ;-).

    Best investment we made when we were expecting: the book “What to Except when you’re expecting” and its sequel (“what to expect the first year”) are great books and a must for any new parent. We referred to them even with our second kid, mostly to put our mind at ease when we were exhausted and needed reassurance.

  • Allie B.

    The idea of Matt Lieto as a babysitter is so delightful that I can hardly stand it. I know Matt is all manly and stuff but I bet he is going to be a big softie around your kid.

  • lizard

    I teared up reading this. Could be the raging hormones due to being in the same “state” as your wife and even due the same time. Could be that you are so touching I can’t help but cry. Guess we’ll never know.

  • With your writing style and sense of humor you should take notes throughout the pregnancy and turn it into a book. I remember bringing home our first child. The little guy was in his car carrier. We set him on the floor in the kitchen, looked at each other and said “now what do we do?” Fortunately he answered the question by crying for the next two hours. As stressful as that night was we still look back on it and laugh. Or the time my Mom looked at our son at the dinner table and asked what he wanted to talk about. His reply of “POOP!” is one of those moments you don’t anticipate, but can’t live without.

    You and Lauren will be fine. You seem to have a great support structure in place, and your heads on straight. Enjoy the ride, it’s a blast.

  • Congratulations, new Dad!

    Been forever it seems since we last talked, back in Bend. Hope you are well, and keep going strong in all your training and triathlons.

    Signed up for my first one in a few months, and I must say that being a dad is the absolute best. (Though you will probably have to get super creative on when and how to train, amidst not getting much sleep and wanting to play with your child.)

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