Dear Baby Lewis,
There are so many stories I want to tell you about your daddy. There’s one to do with a trombone and a minivan on New Years’ Eve, probably my favorite December 31rst ever. There are many stories of summer nights’ spent pillowed between Lake Michigan and the Chicago Skyline standing on the sand with friends, daring each other to jump into waves that crashed and frothed while cars rushed by on Lake Shore Drive. I want to tell you that your dad and I both really like the movie Karate Kid and there was a time when we both got really sad when we were listening to “In My Room” by the Beach Boys. I think you ought to know that you will never lack for Halloween costumes idea with him around, and you’ll probably win contests for the most creative and hilarious get-up to boot.
There is much I’d like to tell you about your dad, and even more, I’m sure, that you will learn that I don’t know. But while you’re growing and getting ready to say, “What’s up world?” I’m thinking of and wondering about you and trying to capture moments for you about my brother, your dad, whom I think you’re going to think is nothing short of fantastic.
Here he is finishing the DC Triathlon in September of 2013, about three months before you were born. Can you see him waving? And at the bottom right is your cousin Hadley waving and cheering him on. Your other cousin, Harper, is there too with the purple clip in her hair. At the time, her favorite color was purple. Last year it was blue. She’s very passionate about her favorite colors as she is with just about everything in her life.
Here’s another one of him running just in front of the Washington Monument. Very cool if you ask me. And there’s your mommy! She’s fabulous, your mommy. You got a good one. And really, you’re there, too. You were with all of us as we cheered him on to the finish line.
When we went to watch him, we walked over the Arlington Memorial Bridge, one of the most thrilling views of Washington DC unless you’re standing at the top of the Kennedy Center or National Cathedral. The city sort of expands before you as you walk from the cemetery in Virginia towards the Nation’s Capitol.
We stopped on the bridge for a moment to watch the swimmers in the Potomac. Can you see them down there? They’re in between the folks in the boats; their splashes and swim caps mark their place in the water.
As we watched, a group of people leaned over the bridge and shouted, “GO! GO! GO!” and “GOOD JOB! YOU’RE DOING GREAT!” They were screaming with all their might, whistling and shouting, “WOO HOO!!!” and that’s when I thought of something I’d like to tell you.
I thought that there seemed to be very little chance that those swimmers heard the yells and cheerings on of the folks on the bridge. I also doubted that those that were cheering even knew who the folks were that were swimming in the river. And I guess that’s what made it all the more sweet – perfect strangers screaming for perfect strangers that probably can’t hear the encouragement as they tested out what their bodies could do in that shimmering water beside the Jefferson and MLK memorials.
I’m not someone who testifies, little one. You won’t hear me telling you about my “Faith Walk”, or the Lord’s will. But I do believe in God and what I think about Him is that He is a loving Creator and when He creates a thing He holds it in the palm of His hand for a moment and then drops it, gracefully, clumsily perhaps, with wonder, and fear and says, “GO! GO! GO!” I believe He cheers and screams and says, “YOU’RE DOING GREAT!” as you struggle to swim in waters you’re unsure of.
I never asked your dad why he does triathlons, and he’s never asked me why I want to write. I suppose some may find this strange, or wrong, or sad, and maybe that’s the case. However, I think what we understand about these sort of activities is that we feel both horrible and exhilarated while we’re doing them. When we lace up our shoes or pick up a pen we are both afraid and full of wonder, and I think that’s a little bit about what being made in God’s image is about. I hope you find something a little insane that you must try that makes you feel afraid and wonderful at the same time. Because I suspect that’s when you’ll faintly hear the cheering from the bridge.