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.