Rapunzel: What if it’s not everything I dreamed it would be?
Flynn Rider: It will be.
Rapunzel: And what if it is? What do I do then?
Flynn Rider: Well, that’s the good part I guess. You get to go find a new dream.
My daughters are always showing me things that I can’t see for myself. They do what they do because they are moved to… they don’t question themselves in the moment or wonder if they should or can. That comes later. That comes when the world starts to tell them ‘no’, starts to tell them they can’t or they shouldn’t or their foolish, wrong, or incapable. I watch them, push them, let them falter, let them fail… it’s part of their learning.
But always, always, I encourage and I feed their dreams. I stand by and I support… I enable the chances but not the outcomes. I strive to always give them the runway but nothing beyond that… because I know that they have the wings. When they pursue that thing that moves them I am often left standing in awe. Simplicity, honesty, hope and belief. So much belief. And they still look over their shoulder to make sure I’m watching to make sure I’m there… and I love that part. I always will be in any way that I can.
It was like watching my dad watch me struggle out of the water at a recent triathlon with an injury… seeing the pain in his eyes the moment he recognized the pain in mine. But a race gives you a lifetime and we both knew that the worst was over and forward was all I could see. As he sent me off on the bike his parting words to me were, “Don’t hurt yourself.” and as I pedaled off he cupped his hands around his mouth and called “Hey! I’m proud.”
Today my dreams were brought into focus by my beautiful, quirky, infectious and independent daughter Caitlyn…she’s my soul. (Taylor is my heart, but that story comes later.)
Dreams are complicated when you get older. I don’t say that as excuse. I say that because reality bites. Paying bills, taking care of your life and responsibilities is REAL. You don’t get to run off and just do and be most of the time. It’s a luxury.
Twice this year I was approached to run the TransRockies, an ultramarathon through the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. The first time, although admittedly intrigued I completely shunned the idea and almost immediately. It was not in the realm of possibility but then again, there it was in my mind… just sitting there silently next to me. I told no one but I poured over the website and read the stories. Watched videos and talked to runners and it kept coming up. The idea in my mind would wiggle with excitement nudge itself closer to me but the answer was still a decided “no.”
And then, when my amazing friend Michelle Barton told me about the race again and how her 72 year old father was running and how much she loved it, I felt a tremendous amount of terror and excitement and knew that running that race was something I wanted to do so badly and somehow over the course of the last few months, it had become my silent, unspeakable dream. The thing I wanted but dare not say out loud because it might just evaporate in my hands. That all the ‘no’s’ would start… the ‘you can’t’ the ‘you shouldn’t’ the ‘you’re foolish, wrong, or incapables’ would rise up. And truth be told… some will say that. There will be voices that will tell me all the reasons why I should not/could not/cannot do it.
But above that noise that will invariably come there was a clear voice today. My friend, Jason Phipps, who immediately, unhesitatingly, encouraged me I was overwhelmed. For unknown reasons I told him about wanting to run the race… but casually, cautiously and in passing my eyes cast downward not wanting to see his reaction AND while his car sat running outside my house so I could escape easily if he laughed out loud. In a moment, in a breath, in a heartbeat he gave me my dream. “Yeeeeees. Do it.” he said. “We’ll figure it out.”
We hugged, tears came to me with such earnest and with such gratitude (and I am not one easily moved to tears) I could barely contain myself in the moment. “You know what’s even better than making your own dreams happen?” He asked me, “Making others’ dreams happen” and there it was. “Commit and it will happen.” he told me as he walked to his car and drove away. I stood there watching my daughters ride their bikes up the sidewalk feeling so small and unworthy in the moment.
So my dream founds it’s way back to me and tonight I decided I’m going to do TransRockies 2012. It’s 120 miles of trail/mountain running through the Rockies. So I don’t have a partner yet and admittedly, I may be on a path to failure, but it’s my path and I’m taking ownership of all that it means. So today, my silent grown up dream found it’s lungs and everything else just made sense.
I smile tonight in spite of myself as I contemplate my 17 mile run tomorrow. My dream was beautiful and will be beautiful and when I’m done I get to find a new dream and carry the memory of this dream with me.
That’s the stuff of fairy tales…