Okay, can you stand one more post about my one-and-only relay triathlon? And then I’m done. No, really; I promise. Not another word.

It’s just that, a week or so after the event, I had one of those little “light-bulb” moments where an idea popped into my head. I would have written about it right away, but I was in a peach-induced coma at the time and just didn’t get to it.

My thought? It was the word “Relay.”

Maybe I should elaborate.

For the race, Heather and I received a nylon/Velcro ankle bracelet. Though it was “Department-of-Corrections” orange, it did not contain a monitor for the parole office. Instead it held a timing chip to track our race times. It was our “baton.”

Heather started out wearing it for the swim. When she finished and returned to the transition area, I could not get on my bike until I put the ankle bracelet on. Then while I was riding, Heather could do nothing toward the race. She had to wait until I had hopped off the bike and clunked back into the transition area on my awkward cleats (it never occurred to me to simply take my shoes off. Oh, well.) Then we transferred the parole monitor timing chip back to her, and off she ran.

So far no light bulbs. But bear with me.

Later, as I recalled our careful ankle-bracelet transfers, the whole “relay” concept seemed to mirror real life in some ways. For example:

Today’s teachers learned to read when they were children. Now they are passing education along to a new generation of children. By the time they retire and rest from that work, some of their former students will be teaching in their place.

In other professions, the more experienced ones can mentor the younger ones, who bring their own fresh outlook and energy to the job. Later, when the older employee retires, he knows the work is in good hands. Everybody wins.

But some people don’t want to mentor. They resist handing any of their knowledge down to those young whippersnappers. Their reluctance may stem from a desire to hang on to power or control. But that attitude is only a delusion. None of us mortals, no matter how important our job, will keep doing that job forever. Eventually it’s time to pass the baton.

Parenting is the same way.

I was the first woman in my boys’ lives, and I wouldn’t trade a minute of their childhoods–well, there were a few episodes. We all have those. Anyway, I loved being their mom and raising them, but the goal all along was to work myself out of a job. Now that both are young adults, their dad’s and my parenting has shifted to a more hands-off approach.

Especially with Eric. He and Heather have been married for three years. When they chose each other, Eric shifted his primary love and loyalty from me to Heather. It was right and good that he did. Our bond is still there; by passing the baton to Heather I gained a daughter and lost… nothing. Or as I put it to her not long ago, “He’s your problem now, Sweetie.” (Don’t worry; she knows I love the guy.)

Of course, there’s a risk in letting go. How do you know the next person will do as good a job as you’ve done? Well, sometimes you don’t. You just have to trust.

You can try to hang on to that baton when it really should be someone else’s turn. But I don’t recommend it. As near as I can figure, if you do that you’re likely to miss the next exciting phase of your own life.

I’ve found that letting someone else take over for you is actually kind of freeing.

In fact, I imagine it’s a bit like getting released on parole.

Thanks for reading!
Linking up with the Soli Deo Gloria blog party over at Jen’s.

About Jan C. Johnson

Welcome! If you like food, reading, laughing over life's little disasters, and maybe thinking about the bigger things of life, you have come to the right place. Besides blogging, I write humorous fiction, though real life tends to leave fictional humor in the shade. But I'm not a total goofball. No, really. I'm also working on a biography project. I live in North Texas with my husband, Brent. We enjoy bicycling, Mexican food, and traveling to visit our kids and grandkids.
This entry was posted in Near As I Can Figure..., Thoughts on Two Wheels and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Relay

  1. Anonymous says:

    That is so well explained. I guess I was doing the same thing with Brent, and that has turned out to be such a blessing. You are such a blessing in our family. And thanks for putting it all into such a nice story.
    Mom Johnson


  2. Anonymous says:

    Have you been reading my thoughts? With Jon’s wedding just around the corner I have been having thoughts of letting go. One more step in that Motherhood role. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.



    • Jan says:

      Cindy, what a lovely comment! It means a lot to me any time my words can bless people, especially wonderful friends like you. See you at the wedding!


  3. Judi Hammock says:

    Loved reading this. I know my days are coming soon when I will have to pass the baton, too. Chad and his girlfriend are pretty serious and dropping hints of “maybe” getting married “one day”. Whatever that means!! Cory has a new girlfriend so i don’t think there is anything soon there, but the day will come! Every time I go to a wedding, especially friends of my boys, I cry!! I have to start practicing NOT to cry at those things!!! As always, loved reading your story.


    • Jan says:

      Judi, I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Yes, it will be Chad’s turn before we know it! Funny, I thought I would cry at Eric’s wedding, but I just could not stop smiling.

      I really appreciate your taking time to comment. You are such an encouragement!


  4. Pride often keeps us from letting go. We think of things as ours and perhaps we think that no one could do the same job (much less a better job than we do). But it is all folly! You are exactly right — when we don’t give up things in His time, we miss out on the gifts He has planned for us.


    • Jan says:

      Yes, I think you’ve nailed it… “pride” is what it boils down to. I guess that’s why we keep adding more and more activities / responsibilities, letting them snowball into an impossible burden. Your response to His leading about “surrender the small” encourages me a lot in this area.
      Thanks, Jen!


  5. Dionne says:

    Oh…this post is so AWESOME…I need your wisdom since you know I am raising two sons…we have to stay in touch!! I love the way you took the monitor ankle bracelet and baton and talked about something so important, passing on our knowledge. I am a teacher so I appreciated the supportive plug and truth behind your message. I had several teachers that I still know today and I love that they inspired me as a teacher. BTW…about my sugar challenge…sugarless gum was okay as well as PB & J as long as it was a meal and not an extra treat. We don’t drink diet drinks, so we didn’t include those. We also went with the honor system as far as syrup on pancakes went as long as you didn’t drench it and again it had to be part of a meal. Love the post so much…well, I just love who you are period!!


    • Jan says:

      Wow, thanks for the kind words! How old are your boys? I’d love to impart wisdom if I can, although I’m pretty sure that God spent more time erasing my parenting mistakes than doing anything else.
      My hat is off to you for being a teacher. Also, thanks for the details about the sugar challenge.
      Love ya,


  6. Jenn Hand says:

    jan.. i love love love your blog. Thanks for popping by mine so i can read your humor and yet deep thoughts at the same time. Blessings


    • Jan says:

      Hi, Jenn! I appreciate your visit today. Keep up the good work with your blog. I think you have important stuff to say and a great voice to say it with. Jan


  7. marlece says:

    Jan, oh my gosh I have to tell you how much I LOVE this post! I (in secret between me and the Lord now you ~smile) have this fear that of this exact thing… will be fun to pass that baton to a girl that treats my son right and loves him right so I PRAY every day that that girl that each of my boys will someday marry is the one that the Lord orchestrates. Oh, please Lord! I think it would be so hard to pass the baton when seeing your son is not being treated right. I tell them ALL of the time, “don’t even think about a relationship until you know that they love Jesus way more than they love you!” ugh, thanks for the great post!!! The daughter inlaw is blessed to have you.


    • Jan says:

      Hi, Marlece! So glad the post blessed you. And don’t worry; your secret is safe with me! 😉 That’s some good wisdom you are passing along to your sons. I hope every boy-mom gets a daughter-in-law as wonderful and sweet as mine.
      Love you,


  8. Pingback: Flaming Flashback: Another Hot Summer | Joywriting: Everybody Has a Story

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