Joining the swim team is not usually the sort of thing juniors in high school do for the first time. Especially when they can barely tread water for a few minutes. I’ll admit that when Sarah first told me she was considering joining the swim team, I was a bundle of nerves! First of all, I was excited because I think swimming is an excellent sport. But secondly, I was nervous because I remembered all the money I forked over for lessons when she was little and she still never really learned how to swim. I’d figured over the years, she had figured out enough to stay alive, so I was glad for that, but swimming laps for hours at practice, diving off blocks, racing…I was nervous for her. Thirdly, I knew it might test my mettle a little bit because one of the things Sarah said initially was that if she didn’t like it, she’d just quit. And when she told me this, I reminded her that she is not allowed to quit things, that if she commits to the sport, she has to finish the season.
As I sit here thinking about why I was nervous about any of this when I wouldn’t be the one doing any of it, I realize that this is truly one of the first times I secretly thought that perhaps Sarah would fail at something.
When Sarah started playing volleyball, the fact that her coordination and athletic ability was behind that of her peers was quite evident. But she worked. She never let it bother her that other kids were serving overhand (and hard!) and she was struggling to get an underhand serve over. She never let it bother her (seemingly) that she was so tiny while the other girls had grown and gotten stronger at an earlier age than she did. Sarah is the youngest kid in her grade due to the cutoff for entering kindergarten and her birthday being only two weeks before that, but she’s always kept pace academically and exhibited leadership qualities, never letting on that she might not be up-to-snuff for the tasks.
But this swim thing…well, this was something different. So she went out and she made it through a week of practice. And then she made it through another. I saw her practicing early on and saw as she struggled to keep form as she swam, reverting to keeping her head above water to catch her breath instead of side-breathing, for example. Then, I went to her intrasquad meet and saw her swim 50 free without doing that and … i know, this will sound silly … but I was AMAZED, almost mesmerized watching her!
Gradually she learned to start off the blocks (even if she does tuck her knees in a very-cute-but-so-not-fast way) and do flip turns and she learned the breastroke! She went to practice faithfully and she worked hard while she was there and she took it all in and learned so much.
Tonight was her Junior Varsity Conference Swim meet and I could not be prouder to yell and cheer for my daughter as she swam. She swam a 200 Free — all by herself!! Then, she helped her 200 Free Relay team (in which she swam her fastest 50 free for the season) win 2nd place in Division. And after that, she swam 100 Breastroke and won a 6th place medal all of her own!
Sitting here writing this I realize that Sarah is proving to herself that she can do things. She can do things she thought were beyond her abilities. I love that she put herself out there with this swim thing. She took that risk where she could fail (sink) or she could succeed (swim) and she made the swim-thing happen!
She’s growing up so darn fast. I’m so pleased and blessed to be her mom and know that when this chick leaves the coop, she will indeed FLY!