Okay, can you stand one more post about my one-and-only relay triathlon? And then I’m done. No, really; I promise. Not another word.
It’s just that, a week or so after the event, I had one of those little “light-bulb” moments where an idea popped into my head. I would have written about it right away, but I was in a peach-induced coma at the time and just didn’t get to it.
My thought? It was the word “Relay.”
Maybe I should elaborate.
For the race, Heather and I received a nylon/Velcro ankle bracelet. Though it was “Department-of-Corrections” orange, it did not contain a monitor for the parole office. Instead it held a timing chip to track our race times. It was our “baton.”
Heather started out wearing it for the swim. When she finished and returned to the transition area, I could not get on my bike until I put the ankle bracelet on. Then while I was riding, Heather could do nothing toward the race. She had to wait until I had hopped off the bike and clunked back into the transition area on my awkward cleats (it never occurred to me to simply take my shoes off. Oh, well.) Then we transferred the
parole monitor timing chip back to her, and off she ran.
So far no light bulbs. But bear with me.
Later, as I recalled our careful ankle-bracelet transfers, the whole “relay” concept seemed to mirror real life in some ways. For example:
Today’s teachers learned to read when they were children. Now they are passing education along to a new generation of children. By the time they retire and rest from that work, some of their former students will be teaching in their place.
In other professions, the more experienced ones can mentor the younger ones, who bring their own fresh outlook and energy to the job. Later, when the older employee retires, he knows the work is in good hands. Everybody wins.
But some people don’t want to mentor. They resist handing any of their knowledge down to those young whippersnappers. Their reluctance may stem from a desire to hang on to power or control. But that attitude is only a delusion. None of us mortals, no matter how important our job, will keep doing that job forever. Eventually it’s time to pass the baton.
Parenting is the same way.
I was the first woman in my boys’ lives, and I wouldn’t trade a minute of their childhoods–well, there were a few episodes. We all have those. Anyway, I loved being their mom and raising them, but the goal all along was to work myself out of a job. Now that both are young adults, their dad’s and my parenting has shifted to a more hands-off approach.
Especially with Eric. He and Heather have been married for three years. When they chose each other, Eric shifted his primary love and loyalty from me to Heather. It was right and good that he did. Our bond is still there; by passing the baton to Heather I gained a daughter and lost… nothing. Or as I put it to her not long ago, “He’s your problem now, Sweetie.” (Don’t worry; she knows I love the guy.)
Of course, there’s a risk in letting go. How do you know the next person will do as good a job as you’ve done? Well, sometimes you don’t. You just have to trust.
You can try to hang on to that baton when it really should be someone else’s turn. But I don’t recommend it. As near as I can figure, if you do that you’re likely to miss the next exciting phase of your own life.
I’ve found that letting someone else take over for you is actually kind of freeing.
In fact, I imagine it’s a bit like getting released on parole.
Thanks for reading!
Linking up with the Soli Deo Gloria blog party over at Jen’s.