Sophie has always liked a schedule. Even more so, she doesn’t like it when her schedule is thrown off. I have learned over the years that I need to give her adequate notice when things are different than she expects.
When she was five, Sarah and Grace were swimming with a small team that also had a lesson program. I put Sophie in lessons once a week to prepare her for summer swim. Her lesson were in the well and Alec was her coach. One day Alec was out and his buddy Jorge took over for him. Sophie refused to get in the pool – Alec was her coach. Not Jorge. She knew Jorge, liked him, and thought he was a perfectly fine swim coach. He just wasn’t her coach. No less than ten people tried to coax her in the pool. Me? I knew better. It wasn’t happening.
Fast forward five years years not much had changed. Sophie is comfortable on her team, knows all of the coaches and is fine with any of them coaching her. She also knows what lane she is in, who is in front of her, who is behind her, what the interval is, what day the need fins, the exact hour in which she is eligible to move up to the next group and exactly how many ice cubes she needs in her Gatorade. I like to run a tight ship but sometimes she exhausts me.
Sophie practices four times a week – her group offer s five with a minimum of three. She goes to four. Every week. The same four. Tuesday through Friday. But not Sunday. Because it is too early. And it’s never been negotiable. She skips on the rare occasion. Like last Friday. She has a sleepover birthday party to go to. Missing one practice won’t kill you…right?
So, she got invited to a very good friends birthday dinner this Friday. She initially said yes but now she is having second thoughts. She can’t miss two Fridays in a row. She went so far as to tell her friend she couldn’t go after initially saying yes. You see, there is a meet this weekend. And on Friday before a meet they practice starts and turns. It’s an easy practice. And one she doesn’t miss…
I’m not really sure what to do with this. I’m a firm believer that practice is important. But after seeing the struggles Grace went through after committing to too much practice too early on I also think life is short, enjoy being a kid while you can. Sophie sees the meet as big one. It’s the IMX meet and she is seeded pretty well. She is also ten. I admire her commitment to practice and I also understand her need to adhere to “her” schedule. She is honestly happier when she does things according to plan. I’ll let the final decision be hers.
Soon enough she will be changing groups and going from the fastest lane to the slowest. She only has two more meets as a ten year old – IMX and JO’s. She will do well at both and as much as I know this isn’t the moment she will remember in swimming I also have to remember that to her, right now, it is.
Whatever choice she makes, it will be the right one. I need to let her enjoy her being in the fast lane. It doesn’t last forever. And lucky for me, she gets that.