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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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!