"The child is the father of the man," Wordsworth wrote. What this means can flow in several directions, the primary being that our antecedent, sometimes more perfect, childhood shapes adulthood. I'm going to take it more directly, that your children shape you, the parent. This is a powerful and good thing.
My wife and I poured ourselves into our sons, with imperfect reticence. I headed a solid U19 bicycling team. My job was to enable the youth's success. I'd tell the parents, "To be good at cycling, to win, your children have to work so hard, that no parent, no coach, can demand that type of effort and discipline: It has to come from within." The kids have got to want to do it, and our job is just to enable participation and engender enthusiasm. Avery (now 18) and Nathan (21) worked monstrously hard.
The boys are enthusiastic about many areas, great learners, cyclists -- now in college, or more. Both travelled during the year. Avery to Spain for three months, Nate in the Alps with Team USA.
Recently, I pulled my paintings (pastel and pencil) and writings from college to share with Avery, who is prolific in both mediums. I was humbled when I compared my work to his; but the circumstances, my battle was different. In college, art was a cathartic, and coarse, as I recovered from severe injury. No matter; I marvel at the precision and detail of Avery's work, and the breadth of his intellect. He is teaching me, and I am an eager observer and learner. His work exposes insights from a vast array of disciplines, physiology to physics and sociology. Avery will make the world a better place. I'm confident he will find great work at the center of his passions.
With Nathan, I feel a rushing stream of grace as he connects ever more largely with the world. He is incredible. Nathan was about killed two years ago. That was a struggle, a severe dialectic. Nathan is disciplined. Through reconstructive surgeries and procedures, he often forwent painkillers. Nathan almost always finishes races, even when he's had a crash. One tough guy. Thankfully, we finished medical and legal matters this fall. After more races in Europe, and winning three stage races in the US during 2012, Nathan is edging into the pro peleton. He has a great season abroad and domestic ahead. May the wind always be at his back.
Care and I are loving life. Work is challenging and full -- she guides biomedical research; I direct a software engineering team. Care is also an awesome athlete. I'm less so, but edging my way towards greater fitness. (The office gym recently opened, and I now find myself cycling to work at least once a week.) I remain passionate about photography and enjoy many hikes with beloved Soot. Care and I plan to travel next year, probably to the Tour of California and the Alps. My father George is well, an avid hiker, travels a good bit, and continues his book-writing. So it goes ... nicely!
I didn't start this as a Christmas Letter, because my last one suffered unhappy amendment. This I hope finds you ever strong, curious, and happy. Moving forward in this complex world, making it a better place -- for many.