Sales and marketing for 11 years. I like goals. I like swimming. I like goals in swimming.
The great thing about the sport of swimming is that setting goals is very easy, there is nothing, other than yourself, preventing you from hitting your goals – provided they are realistic.
Goals for Grace are easy. She has A cuts? Going for AA. That is marked off? How about AAA. And then she ages up and it starts all over again.
Sophie is pretty easy too. She wants to do the IM in the right order. Swim 100 free without dying. And she never wants to throw another shit fit again at a meet. I’ll take that. Love 7.
Sarah is a bit more challenging. She is your solid, middle of the road swimmer. She has yet to make a qualifying time for a big meet BUT she always swims her best and at the age of 10 has swam 500 free on several occasions. Obviously without dying.
I was having a conversation with Sarah about her goals and she looks me square in the eye and says “I want to score more”. Huh what? Is she talking about summer swim where we compete against other teams? And then I realize, she is talking about soccer. Soccer season starts in a month. She and Sophie both play Recreation Soccer twice a year. Sarah also played indoor soccer this winter for the first time and really enjoyed it.
And there is more. The bombshell. She ONLY wants to play soccer, soccer all the time. And summer swim too (aka the nachos and ring pops season). Knife meets heart.
Sarah has come to the realization according to her that she isn’t that great at swimming. Is that great? What defines great? Qualifying meets and medals? Special teams and practices? Tech suits?
Sarah is great at swimming. Her technique is great, much better than older sister who kind of does look like a lawnmower in a pool (albeit a fast lawn mower). She has consistently improved her times and the coaches adore her. So what if she is middle of the pack.
I told her about the time when I was average, mediocre, middle of the road and dime a dozen. It is called my whole life. Aside from marrying a fantastic man and having three amazing children, I have never done anything incredible. I haven’t invented or cured anything. I have never protested or lobbied. Never been published. Haven’t seen the moon up close. Never went to the Olympics (well, once as a spectator). I have spent the better part of the last 42.75 years of my life just being. And there isn’t anything wrong with that. It certainly is no reason to give up.
One of the reasons I was never awesome at anything is because I gave up on everything I tried if I wasn’t the best. I didn’t realize it at the time but now I do. I don’t want that to happen to my girls. But I also don’t want to be that mom that makes her kids do something they hate. It is a real challenge figuring out if your kid means they want to quit when they say “I want to quit”. In talking to Sarah, we decided that she really loves the competition of summer swim and at this point it is so close. She agreed to keep practicing a couple of times a week just so she can do well this summer. I am happy with that. It is baby steps. I am still not sure what she really meant but I suspect that if Sarah keeps at it, she will be a phenomenal swimmer. She is just taking a different path to her personal victory. My job is to keep her on it without forcing it.
By my own admission I am not the best parent. But I am doing my best. No quitting. Can I have a ring pop?