Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Great People

“I'm not really sure what to say. Like I've been telling people all day, 'We know great people.' That's the way this whole thing has come together.”
--My Grandfather at my Grandparents' 50th Wedding Anniversary

My wife and I have always viewed our marriage as an institution that can be a source of strength to our friends. We got married first out of our group of really close friends (second out of an extended group of friends from college) and so we have tried to be of great help to our friends as they enter new chapters in their lives. We have four major get-togethers a year which serve as a way to check in with folks and bond as we all age and grow. 

The first major event (as I think of it) is "Friendsgiving" which is a sort of Thanksgiving about three weeks early in November. We have done that for about eight or nine years now, having started it during a year when I did not return home for the holiday. We usually follow that up in December with a Christmas/Holiday get-together, featuring a "Cheap Yankee" Yankee Swap where all the gifts are valued at under $5, and from New England institutions you would rather not get a gift from.

In April we celebrate my wife's birthday, and in June we celebrate our wedding anniversary, which also is very close to the date we moved into our house. These events are really important to me, because for some of my friends it is the only time I get to catch up with them due to really busy work schedules. We also try to be supportive to our friends at other times of the year, of course. If someone needs us or makes plans, we do our best to be there for them.

We have been known to drive five or so hours to help friends out of state move from one apartment to another.

I think those types of things are what good friends do, and my friends are really good at being there for me, too. When my Dad got sick when I was in my junior year of college, I didn't have to look hard for friends to talk to about it. When my wife and I got married, I didn't have a moment of doubt in the friends I had in my groomsmen, and I knew we could even rely on the people who helped at the wedding but weren't in the wedding party.

What can I say? We know great people.

As we enter this new chapter, my wife and I had a long talk about what we wanted to do in terms of “god parents”. We're not religious people. I'm an atheist and my wife is agnostic. I think, though, that it is good for a child to grow up with other adult role models that they can look up to, talk to about things, who are not directly related to them but have their best interests at heart.

Almost all of my friends are in long term relationships of two partners. We figured by picking two of the couples, we get the benefits of having both couples involved in our child's life. We've picked folks who represent profoundly different life experiences, but they are both really strong, and can impart a broad base of knowledge and empathy no matter what direction our child's life takes.

I'm a little worried that the people we didn't select will be offended. The truth is that I have a good many people that I consider close friends. Logistically, you just can't have that many people in a role like this. There is a lot that plays into a decision like this. I guess all you can really do is do your best and hope everyone accepts it and moves on. That's being kind of fatalistic, maybe, but I don't like the idea of hurting anyone's feelings.

As far as nomenclature goes, we're thinking of “Fairy godparents” (which my wife thinks is hysterical) or “Secular Godparents” (my personal favorite if a bit more dry.)

As I draft this post in August, for a September release, I have been having some crazy workouts in the hottest part of the New England summer. Four really, really hot miles today in 94-degree weather. The humidity was pretty light, though, so that was nice. When it's overly humid the body can't get rid of sweat, which is the main way humans can actually cool their body temp. 

Living in New England it is fairly uncommon to have low humidity at this point in the summer, but I'll take it.

This was a dial-back week for me, meaning that I put in about 35 miles to keep up my base, but avoid the exhaustion of over-training. Then it's back to building up mileage for a couple of weeks. I'm hoping to get two 50-mile weeks in before my fall races.

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