The good, the bad and the average

Swimming is a blast when the kids do well. Everyone is all happy and high fiving and what not. This part of the job is easy. These are the meets where I rarely see my kids, they are in a wonderful mood.

Being a good parent is also easy when the kids do poorly. Generally my kids know when they have tanked a race and why. They are usually pretty upset about it and my job as mom is to make sure they know it is ok and that I love them no matter how they swim.

I can handle these. What challenges me is when the girls do fine. Not good. Not bad. Just fine. I am baffled.

This happened to Grace last weekend. She swam in our summer swim league All-Star meet. She was seeded top 16 in Individual Medley, Free, Back and Fly. They are only allowed to swim two events and Grace’s highest two seeds were IM and back. She hadn’t taken off time all summer in IM and was due for a nice race. She had been swimming back stroke consistently and strong all summer and this was her final shot at that pool record – remember, she was a few tenths of a second off.

Her seeding for IM was 9th. She swam. Added a second and came in 11th. All righty then. My advice to her? Put it behind you. Focus on your backstroke and get the job done.

After watching the race I went back to the team area. Another team mom said “Grace did great”. And this is where I blew it. I simply replied “okay?”. Yes, I asked it as a question. I have replayed that moment in my head a few times and I can’t make it come out any better. It really was an odd response. I know I should have said something like, thanks or it is an honor to be here or she is happy or some crap like that. But I didn’t.

I could have also made up some lame excuse like her knees hurt in breast or she was tired but none of that was really the truth either. Simply put, she did okay.

She swam backstroke. I wish I could tell you that she turned it around – she was seeded third. Ended up sixth. Got a medal not a plaque. Added half a second. She missed her turn. Okay.

Some meets just suck. The kids do terrible. I have noticed that they seem to do it collectively. Some meets rock. Everyone is on their A game. And some…just okay. This was one of those days. What I need to remember is that okay for her puts her #6 in the county, against a huge field of competitors. Perspective sometimes gets lost.

Does it really matter that she missed the 11-12 pool record by a few tenths? That she has a medal not a plaque? That I gave the wrong response to a compliment? I hope not. In the end, it was just another day, another race another meet. My kids don’t always have to be awesome. But they need to be happy. A big breakfast and a long nap later and all was right in the world again. Next week Grace goes to Zones. She will swim that 50 back yet another time. She is due for a good one. Fingers crossed.

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