Friday, September 6, 2013

Back to Reality

We returned to our home in New York City five days ago.  The kids are back in school.  I've gone through a stack of mail.  The boxed-up bikes are in transit from Portland.  I spoke to my mom, who lives in Nashville, on the phone last night, and she asked if any of us had experienced a sense of let-down after our exciting Lewis & Clark ride.  Sho and Saya seem fine.  They were very happy to return to school, to old friends and new.  I answered honestly that my overwhelming emotion is relief.  Relief that the ride is over – I was pretty exhausted by the end – and relief that we completed the journey safely.

Challenging bike trips like the one we took are excellent experiences and stimulating for my kids, but they do come at a cost.  Sho came home from soccer tryouts for the middle school boys’ team two days ago looking discouraged.  When I asked what was wrong, he said that he didn’t think he would make the cut.  For the past three years, he’s been captain of his team, an important source of confidence and pride.  But now that he’s in seventh grade, he’s trying out for a team that includes eighth grade boys and is much more competitive. 

When explaining why he thought he might not make the cut, he said, “I think it’s because I wasn’t able to practice all summer while we were on our bike trip.”  He didn’t yell or throw a temper tantrum.  He just made the observation with a tinge of sadness.  I told him that Michael Jordan was cut from his 7th grade basketball team and used that as motivation to practice so hard that he came back the next year, made the team, and went on to become, well, Michael Jordan.  Sho finds out today at school whether or not he made the team. 

On a happier note, our good friends Dan and Sheila Berlin will visit us from Colorado.  Dan’s daughter Talia was Sho’s best friend in nursery school.  In his early 30’s, Dan developed macular degeneration and over the next few years steadily lost most of his vision.  That was when he decided to become a marathoner.  I’ve guided him in the NYC and Colorado Marathons.  And this Sunday, I will serve as his guide in the Toughman ½ Ironman in Croton, NY.  The triathlon includes a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride and 13.1 mile run.  Is he not cool??  If you've come up with an excuse not to try something that intimidates you, think of Dan.  Forget your excuses.  Forget your anxieties.  Just go out and find a way to accomplish your goals.

Here are some pics:
Saya saying goodbye to Lisa Graff at the airport in Portland, OR

Saya saying goodbye to Brad Graff

About to land in NYC on our red-eye flight

Feels kinda weird to be back in the city

Sho became a Lewis & Clark Junior Ranger!

First day of school!


  1. Welcome home! I was going to say that I can't believe you're doing a 1/2 Ironman less than a week after your trip across the country...but then I remembered, you're you! So of course, you're doing it. :-)
    Have fun today!

    Susie Gross

  2. Thank you, Susie. I really appreciate all the support you gave us during the Lewis & Clark ride and that you're keeping tabs on us after we're back. I had a great time doing the 1/2 Ironman with Dan -- he rocked it! I'll post a blog update on the race later today.