So I'm getting down to the wire here. If you have been following along with my 10 Day Dedications blocks that coincide with training, you may have noticed I have only 4 left, including this one. I remember when I first read Swim Bike Mom Meredith's blog, with her dedications prior to her first Ironman, I though: what a great way to stay focused and grateful. When I asked her for permission to totally copy-cat that idea here, she was so supportive and said that it really does help with the focus of positive energy. And so it has. We are getting down to my core people here....
So this 10 Day Dedication is for my three brothers:
John, James, and Patrick.
|James, John & Patrick (Easter modeling, 1984?)|
(^^I know none of you three are on Facebook and think it's dumb, so I hope you don't hate me for writing all this!!!)
Being the youngest has many pluses and minuses. Being the youngest and a girl with three older brothers is a pretty cool advantage, and I seemed to get a lot of "street cred" being the Markey boys' little sister. I learned very early on the following: boys never grow up; boys are gross; boys smell; bathroom humor, as my mom calls it, never gets old; boys are hysterically funny; boys are fiercely loyal. My brothers were all basically wonderful to me. I have some good stories of being messed with or teased, but nothing remotely tortuous. I learned a little from each of them; and I like to think I share a few character traits with each of them too.
|with my Dad, for his 75.5 Birthday party|
Having three brothers is like having a "get out of jail free" card, so to speak. When I was on various swim teams, or when I would meet guys in college, etc., it was deemed cool that I understood football, basketball, and baseball... like, really understood the game and also didn't seem to mind the general male obsession with watching sports ALL THE TIME. It was appreciated that I could take teasing fairly well, that I was not mortified at their sense of humor. I don't know, I guess growing up with brothers just thickened my skin a little bit. When a teammate would hear I had three older brothers, they'd nod like it explained something about my ability to brush off whatever gross thing another one had done (swim team boys can be disgusting, mostly in a funny way.)
|the boys with Dad, Easter modeling, 1989ish|
Here's a little about each of them:
|cheering for me at MCM|
He is an amazing uncle to my kids; they just giggle when he is around. I am so grateful to him for always loving me and looking out for me, no matter how old I get. It couldn't have been easy, being the oldest of so many, but he didn't seem to mind. Probably helped that he was the tallest and strongest too, so the role just suited him.
|John & me, 1987|
|James, me, and John at the Terps game, 2006|
|at my wedding, 2004|
|stylin' the LT jersey (1985?)|
I have loved watching him become a Dad, too. His children are growing into such great kids... three boys and a girl. We both love the NY Giants... "all the good guys, play on the Gi's side..." I don't remember when we made that up, but we did. James has the same best friends he had as a teenager, which is a pretty neat thing. We share the same sensitivity, and he loves to cook (like me!). My favorite memories of him are all pretty goofy, because, despite how introverted he can be, he is also super funny.
|James & me, 1989|
As a side note, and I have to mention this, one of the greatest things James ever did was marry my amazing sister-in-law Kathryn.
|cheering for Mare & me at the Dewey Beach Tri|
|at my parents anniversary party|
|chillin' at Nags Head|
|when I came around, stealing the baby position|
He does the best imitations of my father, both gestures and phrases so dearly familiar to us kids. It helps that he looks so much like Dad too. It's done with love, because I know how much he simply adores our Dad, but, man, IT IS FUNNY! He is now a father of five himself: 4 girls and 1 boy. His children are growing up into such great people, and I know he loves them more than anything. I love watching him be silly with them, because it reminds me so much of what he was like as a kid.
|the boys with Dad, Ireland 1990|
Don't get me wrong, we are NOT a Norman Rockwell painting of a family. I don't talk to my brothers on the daily; weeks can go by, sometimes months, before we may chat or text, let alone see each other. All of us are busy with our own lives, and we just don't have that kind of relationship where we talk all the time about all the things we are doing... part of that is, well, they are boys and I am forever the baby sister. But it's also just not how we are. That being said, there isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of them. They are part of the fabric that makes me who I am, even as a "grown up." I haven't lived under the same roof with them in 20 years, but that matters little because they are with me everyday. I look up to them, even now, more than they will ever know. They are my big brothers. Many people are lucky enough to get one big brother. I got three. Each of them love me and relate to me in a different way. And I know that if I needed to, I could call each of them right now and they would be here. And that's what counts. We are there for each other when it matters. Always.
And so, my Three Big Brothers, know that I love you... we don't say that enough but I do. I am proud to be your little sister. I am proud of the men you have become. I am so lucky to have been raised with you and that parts of you make me who I am now. I will think of you during these next 10 Days of training. James and Patrick, I will pray for your families and for you both. Johnny, I will pray for your happiness and joy, because you deserve that. I love you guys.
During these next Ten Days, I have:
5 Miles of Swimming
185 Miles of Biking
35 Miles of Running