In the lead-up to Father’s Day on Sunday June 20th, www.WhereParentsTalk.com is featuring profiles of 5 Dads who are in the public eye, in our Five Famous Fathers, Five Questions series. We asked each of them 5 questions about being a Dad. Here’s Part 1.
By Lianne Castelino www.whereparentstalk.com
The images are seared into the memory, for a lifetime. The result of a phenomenal performance at the 2000 Sydney Olympics by an affable, determined 25-year-old Canadian.
It came in the triathlon – the gruelling discipline that combines – a 1.5-km swim, a 40-km bike race and a 10-km run. Except on this day, Canada’s Simon Whitfield crashed during the bike race portion of the competition. Whitfield got tangled with 14 other riders and was on the ground — an Olympic medal improbable at best.
Then the Kingston, Ontario native did what he does best. Persevered.
He got up and started running. He sliced through the competition, with surgical precision. “The Olympic Gold medalist in triathlon from Canada – Simon Whitfield.”
Pure joy from coast to coast!
Three consecutive Olympics – Gold (2000 Sydney), 11th (Athens 2004), Silver (Beijing 2008). And he’s training for 2012.
Simon Whitfield: Perseverance. Iron grit. Moxie.
These days the 35-year-old is trying to keep pace with two little ones – on a different journey – fatherhood.
Whitfield and his wife Jennie are proud parents to Pippa (3 years old) and Evelyn (4 months).
Here’s Simon’s account of fatherhood, in his own words:
1. What does being a Dad mean to you?
Crazy sleep patterns. Moments I thought I’d never have like dance parties in our underwear, bouncy castle Olympics. My oldest daughter and I having parallel tantrums because we haven’t eaten enough, getting teary eyed when she tells me ” I love you and mommy but mommy is much funnier, good night”. Watching Pippa with her 4-month old sister Evelyn as she tries to kiss her with her snotty nose pretty much guaranteeing us two sick children, jumping from log to log on the beach and wanting to tell everyone in the immediate vicinity that my daughter will be in Cirque du Soleil by the end of the week and finally the dream that someday I can burn all those toys that make random noises even when the kids aren’t around distributing those few moments of personal time we have (I imagine the whole ritual around burning the dancing bee toy but suspect that I’d have a change of heart at the last moment and simple hug the toy and end up apologizing…. out loud).
2. What is the one thing you have learned about being a Dad that surprised you?
I’m not sure it surprised me but it reaffirmed to me that I can handle anything as long as I’m not hot or hungry. Jennie’s come home many times to find me pacing with Evelyn (and formally Pippa) around the house with the sling, in my underwear with the obvious signs of hastily consumed yogurt on my chest and chin…… smiling and saying “it’s good, I got it, nothing to see here”.
3. What is your greatest Dad moment that you can share?
The singing and dancing is special! Pippa can really boogie and thinks she can hold a tune, she loves “da muuzic”. Evelyn, Jennie and I often end up as the audience to these spontaneous concerts complete with “no Daddy no, Pippa sing only”. Evelyn puts on a brave face and lets out some giggles. Jennie and I usually end up rolling on the floor laughing, until of course we’re told to “mommy, daddy, please please sit down”.
4. What is your biggest challenge as a Dad?
Patience. My patience has increased 100 fold since Pippa was born, now if I could only figure out the next 10,000 folds….. and the worry, the worry is awful at times, you love your kids so much and the worry can be overwhelming at times.
5. What is your secret to success as a Dad?
Beyond just appreciating, I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing? I have an active, fun imagination. We play lots of fun, imagniary games with castles and cows, clocks and cheese, wait I think I just described Switzerland in 5 C’s!!. Anyway, we have tons of fun, play games and I simply dominate the bouncy castle!
Learn more about Simon Whitfield:
Part 2: Five Famous Fathers, Five Questions, tomorrow!