This had been a rough year for Grace. She is working hard at practice and her times in the pool have for the most part reflected that.
Her head or her heart – or both – has been wandering off path though.
Grace has always struggled with the antisocial nature of swimming. This year has been particularly hard for her. She doesn’t complain about going to practice or meets but she also isn’t as enthusiastic as she once was. For the past couple years she has really pushed to also run cross country. She loves to run and is pretty good at it. Many of her friends also run. I haven’t been too keen on the idea, it would force her to miss swim practices and would also have me running in yet another direction.
A few weeks ago she brought it up again. This time instead of dismissing the idea I actually agreed with her, she should do spring track. I told her I would sign her up but my only stipulation was that track come first, swimming second. She wasn’t sure how to react but was happy to agree with my mandate. I felt as though she wouldn’t really know what it was to be a runner unless she gave it 100%.
This is Grace’s last year in middle school. It is her last year for age group swimming. It is her last year of avoiding those early morning practices. It took me a while but I realized she needs to get running out of her system. I suppose that is my hope anyways.
The reality is, she needs to see if she is as good at it as she thinks she is. She needs to know if it really is more fun than swimming. She needs to know if she loves the open road more than the chlorinated lap lanes. And she may. I ask myself all the time “how do we know what is best for Grace”? I mean, aside from the obvious, just asking her. But she is 14. I don’t want her to live her life with regret. I don’t want her to look back and say she wish she had done things different. I also don’t want her to say “what if you would have pushed me just a little harder”? Or “what if you would have let me do it my way”? When they are younger the balancing act is so much easier. But Grace is now closer to an adult than she is a child.
We are giving her the opportunity to try something different. In my gut I know it will work out either way. Above all I want her to be happy. She needs to know what she wants to do. For the present time anyways.