As all of the cousins bedded down for the night on grandma and grandpa's living room floor, if anyone ever questioned why the nieces and nephews call me, Auntie Madussa, this was why. Giggling and laughing, rolling around, whispering in not so quiet voices, it was apparent if I didn't do something, no one was going to get any sleep. We all needed sleep. Tomorrow morning bright and early was the Tri-athalon. I looked at my sisters who looked exhausted and Auntie Madussa took charge.
"No talking, Shhh! Roll over and close your eyes, I heard that! I said no talking. SHHH!" And so it went. The nieces and nephews would raise their heads off of their pillows and look to see if I was watching and then fall into a fit of giggles when I caught them. I sent my sisters to bed. This was going to go on for quite some time.
Sleep finally took over the kids and I was able to head to bed knowing full well that sleep would evade me for yet another night. The next day was the day I'd been wanting to participate in for a very long time and I was nervous. Would I be able to finish? I hoped so.... Maybe not run the whole way, but at least finish.
About a week before we were supposed to head up to Montana we found out that my brother in law who had said he'd do the swim for me wasn't going to be able to get off of work. Big disappointment in him not being able to do the swim for me, and big disappointment that he'd not be able to come to the family reunion. It was decided that The SM would do both the swim and the bike for me.
The night before the Tri a tall figure walked into my parents house surprising us all! My brother in law. He'd gotten off of work and driven six hours. He'd do the swim for me and then turn around and drive the six hours back home and head back to work. Do you see what kind of a family I come from?
The morning of the Tri found us all shoving cereal down all of the nieces and nephews throats. Those who were doing the whole Tri themselves had left at the crack of before the sun came up. We were all to follow with the kids and cheer them on. Those of us who were doing the Tri as a team would be in a later heat.
As I watched my family prepare to get into the pool to start the swim part of the Tri, I can not tell you the feelings that washed over me. I was so proud of them. Proud of their accomplishments. Each one has a story. Hurdles that they needed to get over to get where they did. This was my family and I was proud of them. My family took up pretty much the whole heat. We do this on purpose. We state our times as such so we can all be in the same heat. Imagine. An entire heat with just your family in it! It's pretty awesome.
My brother and his wife. They ran the Tri in the morning and then had a wedding reception for their son that evening! I don't know how they did it. But they did. Because they are awesome like that.
My baby sis. She just had her fifth baby a little over a year ago. She was in charge of the family reunion and it was her husband that couldn't make it so she was running the show AND the Tri. She's awesome like that.
My sis next in line older than me. She and her family drove two days to make it for this. They left a few hours after the Tri heading back on the two day drive home. This is the sister who wasn't able to make it last year to the Tri so she ran it on her own back in California. For me. She's awesome like that.
My nephews. Major competition between these brothers. One of them, I won't point any fingers, tried so hard to keep up with his older auntie he ended up puking up his guts a few times. Another one of them, was razzed quite a bit by the MC because of his goofy Tri-athalon attire. They're awesome like that.
My nephew's wife. They have the cutest baby ever! She kicked her husbands patootie last year in the Tri. She's awesome like that.
As each of these family members swam, biked, and ran by, those of us watching (and there was a lot!!! We're a big family) cheered ourselves haorse.
Tears came to our eyes as we watched each of these individuals give it everything they had and as they crossed the finish line, we all went ballistic. It is a rush I've never felt before.
And then.... it was my turn.... it was time for the teams.....