Guest Post: My Dearest Little Buddy

FB_IMG_1500252637418Emma here. As Joey prepares for his upcoming ride of epic proportions, I wanted to send him off with a few words from me and his parents.


Joey,

I try to say how proud I am of you as often as I think is possible while also making sure to keep your highly inflatable ego in check (#sarcasm). You started out as the class clown in high school, graduating to a community college attendee when you weren’t sleeping through your classes and my reminder phone calls to get up and go to freaking class. I knew there was more in you than that so when you finally hit your stride pursuing your bachelor’s degree, I knew you had finally found your footing. This saying would’ve made a lot more sense had you become a runner but as it goes, your feet fell sternly atop a pair of pedals and never left.

Solo rides to work and back turned into joy rides with friends, which turned into roping groups of friends to push their physical limits on longer rides, which finally turned into you pedaling off to pursue even longer rides and topping personal bests.

All the while, you continued to excel at school and work, rocking your labs with your dedication to research and not only excelling yourself but helping those around you to reach their personal best with your incredible knack for leadership and mentoring.

IMG_6048It’s no wonder why I married you, as it is also no wonder that you chose to bike to our wedding.

Now you have chosen to undertake your biggest cycling challenge yet in RTYD IV (aka “The Big Ride”), pairing the awesome mileage challenge–750+ miles in five days–with The Doug Flutie, Jr. Foundation for Autism’s mission to raise funds for autism awareness and research. This, after a very successful month fundraising and pedaling your little legs out for The Great Cycle Challenge.

I am so proud. What started out as a “what if” in January of this year has turned into a reality just over six months later. There are not many people I can say with confidence would work themselves as hard as you have both on the bike and off to make this goal a reality. In fact, back when I first met you in 2005, I wouldn’t have been confident enough to bet on the possibility of any of your achievements thus far.

You’re my ace in the hole.
You’re my Jack up the sleeve.
You’re my other thing that you didn’t think was there until BLAMO!!!… in yo face.

You know there aren’t two parents alive who wear their admiration for their son on their sleeves more than yours. But for posterity, I wanted to have them record their words to you here.

I love you, Joey. I trust you to be safe, I believe in you to be smart, and I am cheering for you to achieve what you set out to achieve. With all my heart, I love you… and baby, too.

Lub,
Emmalou


JoJo new old bike 2Dearest little buddy,

DSCF0175I remember the time you bought the Taurus and then shortly after you bought your first real bicycle. Who would have thought that you would prefer a sore butt to a comfy cushion? I believe you rode that bicycle more than drove the car. You started riding it to work at Bob Evans, then you announced that you were going to go on a bike ride to Fredonia. I thought you were crazy but that was only one of many rides that you have since undertaken.

Who would have guessed that all those times hanging in Falconer with your friend Danny would have given you such passion? And passion it is because you would have to have passion in order to ride in the freakin’ winters that you have ridden in.

I’m amazed at how you are able to put more than 100% when you enjoy what you are doing.

Keep up your passion and enjoy the RIDE!

Love ya Little Buddy,
Ma, Mommy, Mama, Mom, Mother


football kiid jojo 05

To my son,

Webster’s Dictionary defines pride as “a feeling of deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements or the achievements of those whom one is closely associated or from qualities that are admired.”

With you, my son, there is so much for me to be proud of. There are so many qualities in you that I admire. You are intelligent, humble, and altruistic; everything I am not. I admire how you challenge yourself to achieve what others only think of. It reminds me of a saying: “Have you ever pushed yourself to your limit? Then how do you know you have one?”

With each new achievement you make, the pride within me swells. As I say whenever you achieve a new milestone, “That’s my touchdowns.”

I was proud the day you were born… Touchdown!

I was proud the day you took second place at the Pinewood Derby… Touchdown!

I was proud when you graduated Kindergarten, the sixth grade, high school, college, and of all your academic successes… Touchdowns, all!

I am proud of your musicianship… Touchdown!

I was bursting with pride and had tears in my eyes the first time I saw you in your marching band uniform, the time your band won the Battle of the Bands, the times you won States with your marching band… Touchdown, touchdown, touchdown!

I was proud to have played football with you and especially the day you caught your first T.D. pass (my head was not on a swivel that play)… Touchdown!

I am proud of the family you’re making, especially your wife Emma. and your soon to be child… Touchdown!

And now I’m proud of the journey you are about to embark on. Not only is it your personal challenge but also it is one of altruism as you raise money and awareness for others and their afflictions… Touchdown!

You are about to take on a challenge that few would attempt. Good luck, take care, and may the Gods of Travel (Hermes and Mercury) be with you. All too often people look back on the things they did not do rather than the things they did. You will not have these regrets.

And remember: “No, your legs are not tired. Yes, you can breathe, keep going.”

Love,
Pops

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20 responses to “Guest Post: My Dearest Little Buddy

  1. Jojo,
    I hope that you have the safest travels. I’m proud of all that you’ve accomplished. I love you!!

    Jessi

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    • I, too, hope for at least moderately safe travels on account of not being a huge fan of death. As they say, “It’s not that I’m afraid of death, I just don’t want to be there when it happens.” See you Saturday (hopefully)…and Nico too.

      Like

  2. Best of luck, Joe! Be safe and enjoy the scenery and feeling of accomplishment! I’ll try to manage my valence and hold down the fort in your absence. If you choose to not return to Iowa, no one will blame you.

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    • Oh boy that is quite a tempting offer. I don’t even think the Wife would mind me not coming back because she would have the knowledge of my escape to comfort any longing she may experience. One benefit of biking through the middle of nowhere is valence control becomes relatively superfluous. I’m am very much looking forward to that.

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  3. I admire your courage and dedication more than words can express. It takes courage to follow your heart and dedication to make your dreams come true.
    Your love of cycling has never ceased to amaze me. I hear it in your voice and see it in the sparkle in your eyes when you talk about it. I remember being dumbfounded when you were riding from Falconer to Fredonia to work….. who does that?…. my grandson!
    All of your previous rides have ultimately led up to this challenge. And, this ride will challenge you in many ways.
    I am so proud of you! You are a caring, brave young man with a wry sense of humor and a heart of gold.
    I pray that God protects and guides you.
    LOVE YOU….G ma

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    • The Fredonia ride. Legendary to say the least. It has quickly become a benchmark, a way to break down long rides into easier to digest distances. I’ll often say to myself or even out loud as the ride is entering the final tilt that all I have left is a Fred ride. I’ll always remember you driving to meet us in Jamestown for lunch even though D and I had biked to Fredonia to meet you instead.

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  4. My Dear Nephew, I wish you much energy and endurance for this amazing task. I love you dearly and hope you stay safe. God Speed!!!

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    • The trip wouldn’t really be possible without your gift back in 2013…the pink handlebars really make the purple pop!

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  5. Oh, hi Madison.

    List of top 3 Joe talents: Being admired by janitors, nicknames, and speaking in quotes. You’re also pretty (okay, VERY) good at biking and science-ing. If you get tired while riding, give me a call. We can have a deep conversation about the meaning of life …or speak in Joekes instead. We do both well. Don’t let the wind effect your speed (#danfunny). Also– just remember, when you ride, your hair rides with you.

    With love,
    Maeson Laeson / MSCML / Officiant / Worlds okayest lab mate

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    • A truer statement has yet to be spoken. The hair does indeed ride with me. It’s something to do with physics and the position of the moon #energies. You talked me through one ride, I’m sure I’ll be calling again, maybe in Westfield for distraction once again. Whelp.

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    • It certainly seems like the best way to be somewhere you’ve never been. See you in 6 days when I can say with some measure of certainty that I’ve arrived and to prove it, I’m here.

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  6. Great job, Joey! Can’t wait to hear about your journey this week (and beyond)! I may not know you as well as other folks here, but I applaud your determination and grit! Good luck on the big ride!!

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    • EVA. No one really knows me. Isn’t there also something about stealing someone’s soul by taking their picture? If so, you have several copies of mine unfortunately.

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  7. JoJo
    I’m very proud of you for your passion and dedication to help these families, and their loved ones who live everyday with autism.
    Sending you prayers for strength and safety as you peddle your way to the finish line!!! Enjoy the ride JoJo!!!!!!!!!

    Like

  8. Pingback: RTYD IV: Special Thanks | Doctor of Cycology·

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