Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Earlier in the summer, I stated that I wanted to ride cross-country with my son as a father-son team building exercise. I ran the idea by my son, and he complained that the drive was a bit too long, and he really wasn't interested (aka, it would keep me away from my girlfriend much too long for my liking). Luckily for me, I had a plan B in my pocket, and I proposed to my son that he and I should run the 5k race to prevent cancer. I did the race in 2013, and I thought my son would enjoy it, since he's an avid runner. To sweeten the deal, I told him his girlfriend could run too, and he agreed in a heartbeat.

Not only was this race important because I could spend time with my son and his girl, but cancer prevention is something that remains important to me. My father had a brief bout with prostate cancer, and I had a bit of a brain cancer scare myself last summer, so I am conscious of how important cancer prevention will be for the rest of my life. Granted, I'm not the only one in the world who shares that sentiment, but before those two factors affected my life, I can't say cancer was at the forefront or even the back of my mind. Plus, my son's grandfather (on his mother's side) was just diagnosed with cancer, so I know the disease was floating around in his mind as well. Everything about our participation in this event felt right, and the morning of the event, the perfect weather (60 degrees and sunny) pretty much confirmed that statement.

My goal was to finish under 30 minutes and to defeat my son (17 and an avid runner) and his girl (16 and a member of the track team). I ran the 5k in 25 minutes, and I defeated the both of them by 5 minutes..I did not let them forget that for a good hour after the race. But in the same token as John Thompson says, we laughed, we talked, we ate a healthy post-race meal, we got post-race blood pressure readings, and it was just an overall fulfilling time. I continue to be a proud dad.

Speaking of fathers..Common's dad, Lonnie Lynn (aka Pops) recently passed away. He didn't know me, and I didn't know him, but I did appreciate the appearances he made on his son's recordings. One particular recording--the one I attached below--is especially important to me. The song is called Fatherhood, and I played it in August of 1997 when my son Carlton was born, and I played it again in 2011 when I sent Nyles home. My wife doesn't even like for me to play this song, because it makes me cry every damn time. The words aren't all that moving, although they are poignant, but the thoughts it invokes are powerful to me. My favorite part is at the 2:57 mark:

"You've been a teacher to me, like I have supposed to have been a teacher to you. A lot of people think that parenting and raising a child is a one way street, but you taught me continuous, numerous lessons...and I love you my son"

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