Thanks Mom and Dad
How does a son, now on the north side of fifty, say thank you to parents? Many supported my dream of riding a bicycle across the country to cure cancer with sacrifice and selfless giving, a profession my mother and father have been practicing for as long as I’ve been alive. I hope my parents feel children are the gift that keeps on giving ☺.
I know it must feel, at times, as if children are gifts that keep on taking. Slowly, very slowly our dependence lessens as we learn to walk, run and then ride on our own. Dependence becomes influence. The longer I live the more; “you become your parents” makes sense. I’m proud to become my parents.
I couldn’t have better role models. Mom if I have half of your passion, zest for learning and joy I’m good to go. Dad if I can be half as good in emergencies as you I will be fine. I know you both worry about Caroline, Drew and me. This is another lifelong occupation, but you’ve taught us well.
You’ve taught us even when you didn’t realize you were teaching. Children miss little. As adults (of a certain age) we begin to gain perspective. We see how hard you’ve worked. We understand how much time, money and resources it takes to live in the world. We can finally fully appreciate your generosity and spirit as people not as “mother” or “father”.
To say I couldn’t have created or accomplished Martin’s Ride without you is such a vast understatement it is humorous. It is not your most immediate gifts that made my lifelong dream of riding a bicycle across the USA a reality, though those gifts were critical. It is the gift of who you are and what you stand for that mattered most.
Martin’s Ride was a grueling experience. I called on everything I’ve ever learned or been taught to make it. I know you were both worried, but I’m your son. My atoms where formed and personality shaped by you, your parents and their parents. The blood of Grandmother’s lighthouse keeper father and dad’s coal miner ancestors runs in me thanks to you.
We are practical people unsure of how to share emotion, feeling or love (not an uncommon affliction). We act better than we talk and this is something I prize. Talking is easy and so can be cheap. Doing is hard and so more expensive. To say you’ve both always done right by me is yet another vast understatement.
I haven’t always been so tuned into my appreciation. Age brings some wisdom and awareness. I’m aware how hard you’ve both worked. I’m aware of how much you’ve sacrificed so we can live our dreams. I’m not a teenager anymore. Youth’s stupid irreverence for those trying to help is long gone.
I can safely say THANKS mom and THANKS dad. You’ve given me so much. My ability to repay this debt is poor. Repayment has two problems. I’m rich in support and meaning poor in property and coin. I know, even if I had either of those things, neither of you would allow me to give to you as you’ve given to me. Time is my second problem. Time is finite, a blink of an eye really. We have some and then we don’t. There isn’t enough time to adequately act on and repay my active debt to you both.
One reason I created Martin’s Ride was to, if only for a moment, knit our family back together not in the old way but in this way now. I wanted a rallying cry we could all agree on and participate in. This goal, along with many others, was achieved. Martin’s Ride was able to spend some time with every Smith and Martin in our immediate family. I will have to apologize to our extended family for not being very well extended in some other way, but seeing each of you and feeling your support as I rode was a magical, loving experience.
I love you both and am appreciative for all of your gifts. You made Martin’s Ride a reality with tutoring, care, patience, support and love. THANKS mom and THANKS dad, you guys are GREAT parents and people.
Founder, Martin’s Ride
Sheraton Gateway Hotel (LAX)
August 27, 2010