At times in your life you have a good friend that you meet through your children, and you experience life moments or milestones with them that you don't forget. My friend Robbin and I have experienced summer swim team together for many years. Our years at the pool have changed as our children grow, and each year has different stages and characteristics attached to it. It is our early years at the pool that I have been reflecting on lately. Our children are the same ages, both of us having multiple children (3 for her, 4 for me) and both of us having a younger child that kept us in the baby/toddler stage a couple of years past our tolerance for it perhaps.
The early years we shared at swim team were probably best titled, "The Drudgery Years." Those years when you are lugging a ton of crap to the pool, the kids are too little to help out, someone is always whining, someone is always at the baby pool (which is fenced off from the rest of society and slightly alienating by nature), and it was demanding both physically and mentally to get there every day. I was always grateful for her presence there and the small bit of adult conversation we were able to have in the midst of the drudgery.
These days our children are older, independent teens and our younger children out of the baby pool and somewhat self sufficient. We have become the mothers we used to stare at longingly from inside the baby pool fence. We are able to drop off at swim practice and run errands, go work out while they practice, or not even show up and have an older child drive them. We see each other in passing, we wave from our cars, and our time together is fleeting compared to our daily hours together in those early years.
In fact, my life has changed so much that this summer I didn't even make it to the first two meets. My mother handled meet number one while I was on a real vacation with just my husband, and my husband handled meet number two while I was on my annual girls' weekend. It was actually sad for me when I missed the second meet and my husband had to send me pictures and updates. These days swim meets and banquets are where Robbin and tend to have our time to catch up, and I haven't been there so we are behind this summer in a really big way. Last week she caught me in the parking lot. We were laughing at her first sentence.
She wanted to tell me what a beautiful swimmer Paige was. This shouldn't make us laugh, but it does. We laugh because we share the history and evolution that is Paige and swimming. And, if you follow my blog, you share the history of Paige and swim as well. During the drudgery years I wrote a blog about it. After laughing in the parking lot, I reread my blog on Paige and swim. It is one of my favorites, and I will repost with this one for those that are new readers and may need the history to appreciate the update.
Upon the reread, I was reminded that we learn the best lessons from our children and our parenting of them. The title of the post was, Never Say Never, my parenting motto. And after rereading I realized, once again, that when I forget that motto...it bites me in the ass...always! Even when I least expect it. Even when it doesn't seem even remotely possible that I could be wrong. Always where Paige is concerned.
This weekend I made it to my first summer swim meet. Paige basically took first in backstroke, first in her A team relay, and second or third in everything else. I knew this going in because I had heard about it from everyone even though I hadn't seen it live. Hearing it, and seeing it are two completely different things. I stood humbled as I watched this beautiful girl swim to victory and success. Now, I cried a little instead of laughed. She is perfection in the water.
I wish I had two things to go with this blog. I will do my best to give you the visual in words because one of these things I don't possess, and the second I probably can't figure out how to attach.
Number one: A photo of 7 year old Paige. Seven year old Paige forced to be on a swim team with older sisters who swim easily, well, and with confidence. Seven year old Paige in goggles that are two tight for her face and pinch in her eyes, but she deems necessary so that NO water gets near her eyes in any way. Seven year old Paige in her flippers walking the perimeter of the pool (with the tight goggles still on). A slow, purposeful, exaggerated, high lifting walk intent on just making it too her spot. Seven year old Paige smiling at our tent on Sunday of championship weekend, a day that in her own words goes like this, "Is Sunday the day I get to sit and read and play games while my sisters swim? I love Sunday!" Seven year old Paige never once complaining about her hatred of it all. Seven year old Paige determined to make it through.(I know Robbin has this visual locked in).
Number two: Video of 12 year old Paige swimming to first place with the ease, grace,and confidence that true swimmers have.(Robbin's idea)
Somewhere between my blog of 7 year old Paige and 12 year old Paige, a swimmer was born. I wrote in that last blog something along the lines of, "...and while she may never be an Olympic swimmer..." I remember thinking at the time that I was so proud of her, but that we would probably quit swim about this time. Drop summer swim and swimming all together when high school started. Because it was OBVIOUS she would never want to continue, or excel at it.
Paige has requested to swim year round after summer swim. She wants be ready to swim in high school in a year. Summer swim championships are next weekend. Paige will swim on finals day..Sunday, multiple times.
Please note the capitalization in the second never in the title of this piece. I stand corrected. I am humbled I was wrong...in every way.
I think I will end the blog in this way...please look for Paige in the Summer Olympics 2020! Never say never...