This morning most of our community woke up early to participate in the annual 5K that is run through the neighborhoods. Those that don’t run make signs and cheer on their neighbors, friends and classmates. Grace expressed an interest in running it a few weeks ago. Start time? 8AM.
Grace instead rose before the sun. She had a swim practice at 6AM. Had she pressed the 5K I would have allowed her to skip practice and run the race instead. She didn’t.
Last night my husband asked me if I remembered when I became a swim mom. For a while I was a mom who drove her kids to swim. And then one day I accidentally fell in love with the sport.
I remember the moment. I was watching Grace swim a long free style set and thinking how mundane and boring it must be to be a swimmer. And then I realized I was jealous. I’ll never understand the 2 hours that a swimmer spends completely inside themselves. No music, conversation, road noise, change in terrain or people watching. I was always a runner and these were the things that kept me going. A swimmer keeps going without any of that. It is just them. Pressing on. It’s the solitude of a swimmer that I respect the most.
For the early practices we use a side door, it is propped open with a large rock. It’s a short walk down a dirt hill to the door. From my parking spot looking down I see right through the door to the starting blocks. A few kids were already in the pool and all I could see was small movement of the water. It was dark outside but the flourescent lighting made the water glow. I felt like I was looking into the window of a swimmers soul. A place I’ll never go but always respect.
By the time Grace crawled back under her covers for a quick catnap most of her friends had finished the 5K. Photos were all over facebook of families and their triumphant runs – medals around their necks. Grace didn’t get a medal today. But she made the choice to go to a mundane, boring practice today. She gets gold in my heart.