Daughter and dad
January 15, 2015 § 26 Comments
I was slowly grinding up Silver Spur on the way home. Magyar and I had finished the NPR, grabbed coffee at the Center of the Known Universe, and sneaked in a few extra miles on the way home. He’s a single dad with a 10-year-old daughter, works two jobs, and is able to get away for a morning weekday ride once every couple of months, max.
Magyar is one of those guys with a lot of talent who discovered bikes late in the game. He’s one of the few for whom “no time to train” isn’t just an excuse for average results, it’s the truth. Sometimes I run into him at the tail end of a 70-hour week and I wonder how he can even pedal down the bike path.
“How’s the little girl?” I asked him.
“Oh, she’s doing good, real good,” he said. “We’re going to do some running together this week. She’s pretty quick on her feet.”
“Is that so?”
“Yeah, she’s very quick. I think she can be a good runner. But that’s not the main focus.”
“For her it’s about making good grades and reading books. That’s what is going to make a difference in her life.”
I thought about that for a second, and how different it was from parents whose biggest dreams for their kids involved hitting a ball, scoring a touchdown, crossing a finish line. “How do you figure?” I probed.
“She was having some trouble in 3rd Grade with math and reading. Then I sat down with her and I said, ‘Honey, let’s talk about school.’ ‘Okay,’ she said, and I said ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ and she said ‘I want to be a lawyer like my Auntie or really I want to be a doctor.'”
“That’s pretty cool,” I said.
“Yeah, but I asked her how she was going to do that because if you want to be a lawyer you have to write and read a lot and if you want to be a doctor you gotta do the mathematics and science.”
“What did she say?”
“She said she didn’t know. So I told her we were gonna work on math homework every day for an hour and she was gonna read books every day for thirty minutes. That was at the beginning of the school year.”
“She’s a straight-A student now. She loves reading, too. After she got her report card with an A in math, you know what she said?”
“She said, ‘I like math. Math is easy. And books are fun!’ Just her and me sitting down together every night, you know? Even though a lot of the time I fall asleep, I’m so damn tired.”
I got chills thinking about my buddy, busting his butt seven days a week at two grueling jobs, neither of which pays enough, and coming home every day to do homework with his daughter. I thought about him slumping over, asleep, but then pulling it together to go ride his bike and even make plans to go running with his kid.
“I wish I hadn’t gotten into cycling so late,” he said.
“I wouldn’t worry about it,” I replied.
“Because you made it in time for life. For hers.”
We pedaled the rest of the way up the hill and didn’t say anything more. We didn’t need to.
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You had me at Daughter and Dad.
As a dad of 3 grown daughters, thanks.
My daughter is my hero.
Wow, single dad with two jobs to go to. Single parenting is another two tough jobs to do. And talking while riding up Silver Spur? Respect to Magyar. Thanks for sharing Seth.
Just from the title, I knew I was going to cry. And I was correct.
Daughters rock. And so do awesome dads.
Dad and daughter, so very special. I am so proud of my 24 year old girl. Even though she is on her own we talk almost everyday. I can’t imagine what my life would have been like without her.
That was wonderful. Thanks
My wife says having a daughter would have made me a better person-
with emphasis on the “would have”.
Judging from what having a son did for you, I’m not sure there’s any room left for improvement. Good job, Marv.
Good post Seth. The best part of me is living life out in the form of my four kids. I bust out with pride about them.
Thanks — lucky you!
My daughter has put a huge dent in my cycling. I went from 9000mi/year to 2000 mi/year but I don’t care. The bike will always be there but my daughter will only be a kid once. Given that I am just barely entering leaky-prostate age, I will have plenty of time to ride the bike when my daughter is older.
That’s right, exactly right.
Next time around, I’m coming back as the daughter of any one of the guys who posted here. Maybe even Darell’s…although his daughter would be a tough act to follow. Thanks for another great post, Seth.