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Seven bucks for sanity

Last weekend Sarah and Sophie swam at Junior Olympics at University of Maryland. We have been to this pool many times, it’s a great place for meets – plenty of seating for the swimmers and the spectators. It’s a beautiful faculty and considered a fast pool. That being said, my kids have had some terrible luck there. Over the years I have definitely learned to relax over these championship meets. The true honor is qualifying for the meet. Doing well is an added bonus. For the younger kids, making this meet is very important and certainly not something to be taken for granted.

Sarah had some good fortune and some back luck in qualifying for this meet. She achieved the 13-14 qualifying time for 100 breast while still 12. She also had the long course qualifying time for 200 breast. It’s nice to start a season off with two cuts, especially if you age up in November. Sarah had a great meet in October and came close to some more cuts. We were both fairly certain that at the holiday invitational she would get them. What she got instead was the flu. In January we went to a travel meet which was really fun but in no way conducive to best times. Sessions were insanely long, competition was weak and the pool was slow. Sarah was in good company, there weren’t too many best times. Fortunately, she still had the February qualifier. Thanks to a foot of snow, that meet didn’t happen. In the end, she was grateful she had two cuts! It was two more than many of her friends.

Sophie has a great birthday for this meet. She will turn 11 in a month. She had all the cuts but breast stroke. She was able to swim six (the maximum) events and had the luxury of choosing the events she had the best odds in. She will be 11 for her next meet so she needed to enjoy this one.

The meet started off fairly lackluster. Sophie added time in two of her better races and she missed her shot at finals. Sarah swam her seed in one of her two races. Things improved day two. Sophie swam her seed times and Sarah finally cracked the nut of 200 breast, dropping time and finding confidence for the first time in a race that has challenged her for a while.

Day three Sophie came prepared to swim. She dropped time in her 50 free. Her final race of the weekend was 100 fly, her favorite race. She was seeded 8th and had just dropped two seconds in February in the race. I knew if she swam her seed she should make finals. Instead she decided to drop two more seconds. She would swim in finals as the 6th seed. She was thrilled. I wasn’t confident she would drop anymore time but was very proud of her for making finals and swimming so well on the final day of the meet. We went for a nice dinner and took a little nap in the car. As usual, 100 fly was the last race of the night. Sophie once again brought her A game and dropped almost another second, earning a 5th place medal!

She was happy. And tired. She was sound asleep before we pulled out of the parking lot. And for the first time ever, I finished a long meet weekend feeling completely sane.

For $7 I was able to utilize the gym at the school. I worked out between races and using the timeline walked over to the window overlooking the pool to watch the girls swim. I can’t believe I never did this before. It was a amazing. I didn’t sit in the hot spectator area, didn’t have to make idle chit chat and I got to workout all weekend! (I timed one session which also aids in my sanity at these meets).

My take away from this weekend? #1. I’m really old compared to college students. #2 I’m pretty fit for an old lady. #3. I’m a proud mom.

Sarah is swimming spring champs next weekend. I’m confident she will have a great meet. Don’t look for me during warm ups. I’m going to lace up my running shoes. You might not want to sit next to me during the meet either!

And then just like that it is long course season.

She’s gritty..

Grace swam this past weekend and had a few good swims and a few not so great swims. As this was the championship meet for short course she (we) were hoping for better results. She had what is best described as “technical issues”. In other word, sloppy walls.

She was disappointed but these disappointments don’t deter her. She will never end up on a therapists couch saying “my parents made me swim”. She gets 100% effort from us! She never misses a practice – we never skip a meet. She has been given all the tools to success. And then some. If she asked to quit we would let her. She loves to swim. Quitting for her is just not an option, it isn’t even a thought.

She’s not a fire in the belly fighter. It’s just not who she is. But when she is in a do or die situation she can find the drive to do.

This past weekend in 50 free she came in 16th. I took a quick glance at meet mobile, it wasn’t a best time for her and I knew that making finals would be close for her and so seeing her in 16th made me happy. Like I said quick glance. I wasn’t sure if results were being posted on deck so I sent her a text to let her know she made finals. She quickly replied that she had tied and there was a swim off.

As she was approaching the blocks my friend asked who she was racing, there were 4 girls together. I decided to look again at meet mobile to see if I knew who she was racing. And this is what I saw:


I have seen a lot of swim offs in my day but never four kids swimming for the last spot in finals. I literally felt my heart sink. My friend said “can Grace do it?” Without a second thought I said yes. I was sitting with a lot of her former teammates parents and we were positioned right above her lane. She had a nice little cheering section (side note, it’s awesome that friends are friends regardless of who they swim for). I’m not sure Grace heard us before the race but she surely did after. Because they only had the times on the board she wasn’t sure how she fared, no names or places and it was a close race. But the smile on her face confirmed that she heard us after the race.

Without getting a best time in either race she had earned the right to back and swim finals. Third time does happen to be a charm. In finals she dropped time.

In the end the meet had highs and lows. As usual I find myself worrying about my child because, well, that’s what parents do..

The head of our site sent an article today with the following quotes highlighted in the body of the email:

“Grit is defined as passion and perseverance in pursuit of long-term goals.”

“Research shows grit is usually unrelated or inversely related to talent.”

“In a recent Ted Talk on grit, Angela Lee Duckworth, a University of Pennsylvania psychologist, says the most significant predictor of success in kids isn’t social intelligence, good looks, physical health or IQ. “It’s about having stamina, sticking with your future – day in, day out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years – and working really hard to make that future a reality.”

I urge you to read the entire article. It’s so meaningful.

Grit: The key ingredient to your kids’ success

I always think of my middle daughter as the gritty, scrappy fighter. But Grace has grit. Along with a lot of heart and soul. She won’t give up. Once again I’m reminded to breathe.

The younger two start Junior Olympics this weekend. Good luck to all this championship season. Remember to breathe. These swimmers, the have grit!!!

On the outside looking in….

metros 1metros 5This past weekend Montgomery County was home to the Washington Metropolitan Interscholastic Swimming and Diving Championships aka Metros.  It’s an amazing meet and one we have attended as spectators many times.  This year was extra special, in addition to cheering for friends and Olympic athletes, we got to go cheer for our favorite high school swimmer!  Grace.

Grace knew that making finals was a bit of a long shot but she was hopeful.  She swam two relays and two individual events (the max allowed) and did really well, improving her seed on both but not quite enough to make finals.

Sophie and all of her friends had made plans to go back for finals, this was something they have done several years in a row.   Each year Sophie makes a poster to hold up when Katie swims – much like the posters you would expect to see for summer swim.  Friday evening during the 500 free preliminaries after Katie bettered her own US record the girls held the sign up and yelled “we love you Katie”.  She smiled and waved at them – this is more exciting to them than back stage passes to One Direction would be.

Grace also wanted to go back for finals, as a swimmer she was allowed on deck.  Metros is such a fun meet for the kids, all of their swim friends are there.  It is so neat to see the worlds of summer swim, club swim and high school all collide in one pool.  Her disappointment over not making finals quickly subsided when she realized she could go to a swim meet with her hair done and not have to worry about warm ups, warm downs and those pesky races!  We walked through the door and didn’t see her again for many hours.

We got there quite early, knowing it would be complete madness.  It’s a huge meet, crazy fast swimmers and of course, was Katie’s last high school swim meet.  It was an absolutely amazing night, record after record fell – US records, meet records, PVS records – one right after the other.  Sophie and her friends were in heaven.

Not everyone was quite so lucky; they had to quit admitting people into the facility.  The pool has a large window that offers an unobstructed view of the pool.  It was lined with people watching – looking in from the outside.   It’s sort of ironic, that is how I have always felt about metros .  As a spectator I have always felt as though I was on the outside looking in.

At the end of the evening kids were being traded off for sleepovers, I bartered one for two at one point and ended up with a carful of kids spending the night.   Grace’s friend swam in the last event  which left us amongst the last to leave.  Katie, who was being interviewed by several media outlets, ducked out for a few minutes and signed a few autographs.  She signed Sophie’s poster and posed for a few photos.  Sophie then got a few seconds of fame as she was interviewed by a local news team !metros 3

It was truly a remarkable weekend.  I loved being a part of the meet.  I timed during the preliminary session and got the best view in the house to see my daughter swim.   Seeing Katie swim is indescribable.  It’s exciting to see the talent that comes out of DC metro in the pool.  And nothing will top the smile on Sophie’s face when I tucked her into bed that night.  All in all – pretty spectacular!  And for the next seven years, I’ll be on this inside looking in watching my girls compete at this extraordinary meet.

metros 6


You know how when you have a baby all these well meaning people tell you “enjoy every moment – they grow up quickly” and your only thought is “I just want to sleep more than three hours at a time”.  The exact moment that kids starts sleeping, you decide to have another one.  And quite possibly a third.  Do you remember the exact day you started getting a full night of sleep?  Of course not.  Because your kids are swimmers.  That 4 AM wake up call is only tolerable because no one has colic.  But the part about them growing up quickly?  It is no joke.

Having Grace in high school this year has been bittersweet.  It’s hard enough to accept that she is old enough to be in high school but I’m really struggling with the fact that in 4 years she will be off to college and creating her own path in life.  Instead of looking at life as a series of firsts, I’m seeing a series of lasts.  Planning spring break I can’t help but think we only have 4 more spring breaks with her.  Next year she will drive.  The quiet mornings on our long drive to the pool are coming to an end.  I have always hated early morning practices but I have learned that on the cold, dark mornings in January you form an unspoken bond with your child.  We share something completely indescribable to those who have never done it.  I wouldn’t trade it for the world and these are moments I will treasure.

This weekend she will be competing in METROS (Washington Metro Interscholastic Swimming and Diving Championship).  It’s the DC metros championship High School meet, a meet well known throughout the swim world for it’s speed and popularity.  We have gone to watch the meet for many years and one of the highlights of the meet has been watching Katie Ledecky swim.  She was extraordinary at her first high school meet and this will be her last year swimming METROS.  And Grace’s first.  It’s a safe bet that Grace won’t be giving Katie a run for her money. But she will be swimming her heart out anyways.

I’m extremely excited to go see Grace swim against some of the finest swimmers in the metro area.  I’m also struggling with the fact that she is growing up.  I’m trying to complain less about the early mornings and long evenings of driving and I’m trying to enjoy it more.  Soon enough all three kids will be gone and we won’t have quiet mornings.  We will just have quiet.  Enjoy the moment.



I’ll admit it…

I don’t know everything.  Nothing I write is really a fact, it’s more of a feeling.  I think sometimes that instead of reading a self help book I’m trying to write my own.  It’s very cathartic to put it out there – it also makes me feel better hearing from other people that they are going through the same things.

That being said, I’m also far from perfect.  I read all these great articles on how to be a great swim parent or parent of an athlete.  I try really hard.  But sometimes I blow it.

A few weeks ago Grace swam at a meet in Baltimore that also had finals.  It was an early wake up call and we generally don’t talk in the car.  On day 2 I broke the silence and asked Grace what she was swimming.  She very nonchalantly said “don’t know”.  This really bothered me.  Generally before a meet I try to keep the peace – for the sanity of us all.  But not that day.  We went through a nice little back and forth about why she should know and why she disagreed with me.  She finally pulled the “nobody knows what they are swimming at 6 am”.  I already knew that was false, her ten year old sister who was also swimming that weekend, had a white board with events and goal time.  I dropped her off at the pool in tears.  And if I’m being completely honest, I didn’t care.  They get by with a lot but I do ask for respect.

She swam and was far off her seed times.  We got back in the car, heading home and spent the next hour having some quality mother and daughter time.  Actually, we fought all the way home.  Grace is a typical first born.  She is sweet, kind and very agreeable.  She is skilled in keeping the peace and backing down from a fight.  I’m very cautious of her feelings because I know she doesn’t like confrontation.  But on this particular day I didn’t hold back.  We battled.  I won’t bore you with the finer points but the general conversation was that I don’t get a say (I pay for her swimming so I’m complete disagreement), that I don’t know a thing about swimming (I handed her the phone with a video of her race and told her I was more than willing to walk her through every sloppy one minute and six seconds of it) and that she wasn’t just using excuses (tired, sore, sick and it January – I have heard them all a million times).  She went into the meet seeded 12th for backstroke.  I asked her where she placed and she said she didn’t know.  I guessed that she was probably 35th.

In the end, I told her she was afraid to actually try.  She decided the best solution was to quit swimming.  I told her that was perfectly fine with me.

After driving for 45 minutes in pouring down rain with her sobbing and crying we decided to stop and have lunch, we were a few minutes from the house and needed to calm down before walking in the door.  We stopped at Chipotle.  While eating, Chris texted me.  I told him we would be home in a few minutes.  He asked why?  My first reaction to his question?  Crap.

Pulled up meet mobile and sure enough, everyone swam terrible.  Grace was swimming finals.  Chris agreed to take her back.  I felt a little guilty, after fighting all the way to and from the pool she was physically and mentally tired.

She proceeded to go back and swim her seed time.  The rest of the meet she swam like she cared.

I’m not sure having a knock down drag out with your kid is always the most effective way to get them to perform – it was a first for me.  But in this particular case, it was honest.  She needed to hear it.  Probably a lot sooner than she did.  As a parent, it s a fine line, when they do poorly in a race or a meet it is up to the coach to tell them.  But when their attitude is affecting their performance, I feel it is well within my right as a parent to tell them.  She asks a lot of me – my only expectation is that you give it all you’ve got.  No excuses.  And for the record, she didn’t quit swimming.

I will turn this car around right now…

Sophie was really stressed out Friday night over a birthday party she had been invited to.  She did not want to miss practice the night before a meet.  She is very ritualistic in her approach to life, especially when it comes to swimming.  She likes the Friday night practice, they do meet warm-up, practice the strokes they are swimming for the meet and work on starts and turns.  It’s a great quality of hers but it is also important to remember she is ten.

We worked it out that after practice she would stop by the party for pizza and cake and she would have about an hour to catch up with her friends.  We packed up and were heading to the pool.  She had her beautifully wrapped gift to one side of her feet.  Her swim bag to the other.  As we were about to make a right turn into the pool complex she looked at me and said “I guess it wouldn’t have mattered if I had skipped”.  She wasn’t quiet on the way to the pool.  Didn’t appear to be in deep thought.  I am quite sure this thought popped randomly into her head as we were approaching the pool.

Without saying a thing I turned left and simply said “go to the party”.  She never second guessed the decision.

With day one of the meet behind her we can safely say nothing bad happened because she missed a practice.

At the meet (IMX) the kids have to swim all five events (and they must have a time in the events) and they receive an overall ranking at the completion of the meet.  She was entered as a NT in her 100 breast, she just swam it last week so it didn’t “officially” transfer to the psyche sheet.  I thrilled because breast stroke is her least favorite stroke and it was last yesterday, meaning we would get to leave very quickly because she was in the first heat.  What I didn’t count on was that she was also seeded 13th in fly, putting her in the second to last heat of fly.  She swam her fly, and dropped time.  She got out as the last race of fly started, stepped to the left smiled and a minute later hopped on the next block over to swim 100 breast.  It wasn’t a best time but I didn’t expect it would be.  She laughed about it all the way home.

It was a huge win though.  A year ago the very notion of this would have put her into a tail spin.  Missing practice before a meet wouldn’t have been an option.  Sophie has really matured through the sport of swimming and is becoming more adaptable to things outside her comfort zone.  I’m proud of her!  She is back at the meet and her smile has faded somewhat.  She is missing the kick-off to the Super Bowl.  Who came up with today as a good day for a swim meet?

This is not my lane

Sophie has always liked a schedule. Even more so, she doesn’t like it when her schedule is thrown off. I have learned over the years that I need to give her adequate notice when things are different than she expects.

When she was five, Sarah and Grace were swimming with a small team that also had a lesson program. I put Sophie in lessons once a week to prepare her for summer swim. Her lesson were in the well and Alec was her coach. One day Alec was out and his buddy Jorge took over for him. Sophie refused to get in the pool – Alec was her coach. Not Jorge. She knew Jorge, liked him, and thought he was a perfectly fine swim coach. He just wasn’t her coach. No less than ten people tried to coax her in the pool. Me? I knew better. It wasn’t happening.

Fast forward five years years not much had changed. Sophie is comfortable on her team, knows all of the coaches and is fine with any of them coaching her. She also knows what lane she is in, who is in front of her, who is behind her, what the interval is, what day the need fins, the exact hour in which she is eligible to move up to the next group and exactly how many ice cubes she needs in her Gatorade. I like to run a tight ship but sometimes she exhausts me.

Sophie practices four times a week – her group offer s five with a minimum of three. She goes to four. Every week. The same four. Tuesday through Friday. But not Sunday. Because it is too early. And it’s never been negotiable. She skips on the rare occasion. Like last Friday. She has a sleepover birthday party to go to. Missing one practice won’t kill you…right?

So, she got invited to a very good friends birthday dinner this Friday. She initially said yes but now she is having second thoughts. She can’t miss two Fridays in a row. She went so far as to tell her friend she couldn’t go after initially saying yes. You see, there is a meet this weekend. And on Friday before a meet they practice starts and turns. It’s an easy practice. And one she doesn’t miss…

I’m not really sure what to do with this. I’m a firm believer that practice is important. But after seeing the struggles Grace went through after committing to too much practice too early on I also think life is short, enjoy being a kid while you can. Sophie sees the meet as big one. It’s the IMX meet and she is seeded pretty well. She is also ten. I admire her commitment to practice and I also understand her need to adhere to “her” schedule. She is honestly happier when she does things according to plan. I’ll let the final decision be hers.

Soon enough she will be changing groups and going from the fastest lane to the slowest. She only has two more meets as a ten year old – IMX and JO’s. She will do well at both and as much as I know this isn’t the moment she will remember in swimming I also have to remember that to her, right now, it is.

Whatever choice she makes, it will be the right one. I need to let her enjoy her being in the fast lane. It doesn’t last forever. And lucky for me, she gets that.

Seeing how the grass grows…

The life of a swim mom is crazy. Having three girls that swim adds to the madness. This year we have added another layer (or two) to the insanity – Grace not only swims for a different club than Sarah and Sophie, but she also is swimming for her high school swim team. It’s been a season full of meets, at least one every weekend for the last several months. Sarah had a travel meet in Delaware and Grace had a meet in Baltimore. These are the first meets outside of PVS meets that I have attended besides zones.  The high school meets are also completely different than what I am used to.

PVS (Potomac Valley Swim) is notorious for having fast swimmers and well run meets. It’s nice to have great meets, whether it is in your home pools or in your neighbors backyard. The furthest we travel for meets is 45 minutes to the University of Maryland. It’s been really easy for us up until now and we have always had great competition at our meets.  The downside is we swim against the same kids, month after month, year after year.  I could probably hand write the psych sheet for our meets.  It’s that predictable.

Our high school is in a relatively new area – the school is only ten years old and our team is still relatively small, especially by Montgomery County standards. We only have about thirty kids and only a handful of year round swimmers. We moved up to Division III last year. It’s been really fun for Grace – she has gone undefeated and set an individual school record and has helped break the record on two relays. It’s been fun watching her swim in a less competitive environment. I haven’t seen her smile and laugh that much since she was 9! The meets are also short and sweet, what’s not to love?  It’s also fun seeing kids experience swimming for the first time or swimming their first 100 or even 500 free.  It’s more about the sense of accomplishment.  Because our high schools don’t have pools, we end up having meets at pools throughout the county.  Many of the pools don’t even have spectator seating.  They certainly don’t have touch pads or heat sheets.  Race results are written on a card with handwritten swimmers names.  It’s pretty low budget. No one seems to mind.

I compare that to the USA-S meets we have attended outside our LSC.  One was quite honestly the longest and slowest meet I have ever attended.  The other was a mid season trials/finals meet – not a lot of best times but a great opportunity to race finals outside of a championship meet.   What really surprised me was how much the parents from our team complained at one of the meets.  It was a slow meet, the sessions were way too long, the seating was awful and there were no concessions.  Oh and wait…we had to pay to get in.  Five whole dollars.  It was Sarah’s first travel meet and the group of us that travelled together had an absolute blast.  Sarah made some incredible memories with her friends and despite not getting many best times, left the meet loving swimming even more than she did when the meet started.  I had a great time road tripping with friends and having wine and pizza in the hotel lobby.

I guess what I noticed the most is that so much of these meets is about perspective.  Swimming isn’t the most exciting sport to spectate – and it certainly isn’t the most pleasant place to sit for hours on end.  But if you decide you are miserable you will be.  Our children follow our lead, some of the kids had a great time at the travel meet.  Others were miserable.  If nothing else comes out of it, I really hope they gain some perspective as to how lucky we really are that by and large, the grass is never greener.  More importantly, as parents we need to remember these meets aren’t about us.

I am running out of excuses…

A few times a year the kids have to miss school for swim meets, some are three and four days long, especially the big championship meets.  Up until recently we have been pretty honest but lately it has backfired.

I got lucky this weekend, in so much as two of my kids were extremely ill.  Fevers and vomit stop most people dead in their tracks and the questions are minimal.  I very much would have preferred lying, illness during a swim meet, especially a big one is no fun.

There are times when I have been honest.  There have been times were I have danced around the truth (college visit or out of town obligation).  And I have lied.  For those times were I simply need to spring them early appointment has always worked.  I’m sure to schedule all Doctors appointments after school so I can save those up for swim meets.  The last few times though I feel like I have gotten the evil eye.  It happens 3-4 times a year at most.

Our high school gave a few parents trouble today and said a swim meet was not an excused absence. While their peers were sitting in Spanish or study hall, those kids were getting Junior Nationals cuts.  And failing exams because they weren’t allowed to take them.  They had informed their teachers in advance they would be out and had tried to make the work up before missing school and the teachers said to wait.  As far as I know none of the teachers actually cared, it was the attendance office.

I hate lying – especially when it comes to my kids but I’m starting to find it necessary.  I would love to hear your thoughts.  I know there are people who refuse to take their kids out of school for meets.  Some who lie.  Some tell the truth.  Some schools are supportive and some not.  So what works for you?  What doesn’t?  What is your threshold for telling the truth?

It couldn’t end soon enough.

This past weekend was sure to be crazy.  NCAP hosts the Tom Dolan Invitational, a very fast qualifying meet that brings people in from all over the country.  This would be Grace’s second weekend at University of Maryland, a solid one hour drive from our house.  Having just spent the entire previous weekend there, I let Chris have this one.

RMSC hosts their own qualifying meet, The Holiday Invitational.  This is a much smaller qualifying meet but quite fast as well.  The upside of this meet is that many of the kids end up making finals, something that is all but impossible at TDI.  The downside also happens to be that many of the kids make finals.  Sophie was seeded such that she had a shot at finals in all 6 of her events.  Sarah, having just aged up would likely make finals in two events.  This meet was a fifteen minute commute from the house.  I was committed to getting the kids back and forth to this meeting, knowing it would be some long days.  In the end, it is important to note that I PICKED this meet as my responsibility.

Holiday Invitational started Friday.  Sarah had a ride to warm ups so I could get Grace off to school and take a quick shower before spending 12 plus hours at the pool.  I had just finished drying off when I got a phone call from Sarah.  I could not understand a word she was saying but knew it had something to do with come get me.  And now.  At the same time I was getting texts from coaches, Sarah is not well.  I raced to the pool and picked her up.  She curled up in a ball, shivering in the passenger seat.  By 9:30 she had been diagnosed with the flu and was loaded up with drugs.  Great.

I got her situated at home with fluids and took Sophie to her session.  She swam 50 fly and 200 IM, making finals in both.  Her fly was fantastic, IM a little rough.  Same held true in finals.

Sarah was curious what Saturday would hold.  I told her we would wake up Saturday and decided.  I was not holding my breath (all the while, holding my breath anytime I was near her and scrubbing down after leaving her room).  I woke her up Saturday.  Well tried.  She did not swim.  At this point she had missed all of her best events.

Sophie was swimming 200 fly and 2oo free.  If you are wondering who puts their ten year old in 200 fly and 200 free on the same day, yes you are correct, I am an idiot.  Never mind that she had swam 50 fly and 200 IM twice the day before.  Both her swims were bad enough to earn her a night away from the pool.  Which was great because when she came upstairs she looked like she had been hit by a truck.  She put herself in bed at 6:30.  Meanwhile, Sarah had been resurrected from the dead and was begging for Chipotle.

By Sunday Sarah was back to her usual self.  She swam one event, did pretty good for a kid coming off the flu and most importantly picked up her bag tag and t-shirt.  In other words, she came, she saw, she picked up her swag.  At this point Sophie was looking pretty rough.  I give her credit, she decided not to get the flu that Sarah had but some completely different virus, complete with a persistent cough and inability to breathe.  But she wanted to swim.  Kids were dropping like flies from the meet, everyone was sick, yet I made the decision to take her, she wanted to swim.  Again, she did not look good in the pool.  She also didn’t swim slow enough though and made finals in 100 fly.

I took her home, fed her and drugged her up.  After warm ups, she disappeared.  I’m pretty sure she was curled up in a ball under the bleachers sleeping on a bed of crumbled up nachos and sticky Gatorade spills.

At this point, mommy guilt crept in.  I couldn’t help but think “what kind of person brings a sick ten year old to finals”.  I was absolutely convinced I should have scratched her.  Now, before you get all excited thinking she swam her little heart out, let me stop you.  She didn’t.  It was sad, pathetic and awful.

She came upstairs, dark circles around her eyes, exhausted and smiling.  I had to ask “what did your coach say”?

He said “Sophie, I am proud of you, you could have scratched and you didn’t.  You came and you tried your hardest and you didn’t give up.  You showed a lot of commitment.  Now go home.”

All of my self doubt went away.  Until we walked in the door and she went straight to the bathroom and puked her guts out.  I’m either mother of the year or the worst mother ever.  But there are absolutely no words to describe how happy I am that this weekend is over.

I would love to tell you how Grace did but she wisely stayed so far away from us.  I’m not even sure she still lives here.


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