My girl! Laura turned 11 over the weekend.
Let us pause to marvel at how, how, I could be in my second decade of motherhood when I'm STILL SO FRESH AND YOUNG. Are you marveling??? Go on and marvel, please. We'll wait.
While I have been doing this and that, not blogging, Laura has been really bringing it. A few weeks ago, she swam in a two-day meet that was her last chance to make a qualifying time for the Georgia Age Group State Championship. I had been thinking of a state time as a good goal for her to work towards, but not one that she would necessarily achieve.
The whole weekend, Laura was dragging with a cold, but she never said she didn't want to swim or ask to get out of competing. On day two of the meet, I thought her best events for qualifying were behind her, and we were just finishing what we'd started. Then, in one of her last races, Laura made the state cut time in the 100 Butterfly! And received that lovely tattoo for her efforts. I was somewhere in the north part of the county, getting my ass kicked in a mixed doubles match, in 35 degree weather, when I got Matt's text from the meet. It just said, "!!!" And I felt so happy. I thought, well, "At least someone in this family is achieving something sporty today!"
In Positive Pushing, Jim Taylor says that you should never let your self-esteem be affected by your child's performance, but sometimes it is hard! To hold yourself separate from it all! Her making that cut time really gave me a lift and I was so proud of her.
I asked her, "How do you like that event, the 100 fly?" And she said, "The 100 fly is one of the worst ways you can spend a minute and a half." Oh, so, fun! I do think it's a hard swim. I'm sure that if tried it, an entire SEAL team would rappel down from the rafters and pull me out of the pool.
That night, Matt and I had a big convo about Laura And Swimming and What Are Our Goals. He said, "Is our goal just for her to swim in the state meet? Or to do really well there? Because she made the cut time by three-tenths of a second, and plenty of kids swam faster."
I said, "Well, I just want her to see that she can swim at that level if she works hard." Plus, the state meet is in town this year, so it's worth going for just one event. And then we discussed a bunch more about effort and achievement and talent and drive and etc, mainly centering on the question, "Does she want it enough?" The jury is still out on that. We did agree that it's a great activity, and right now, it's worth the family effort and time that it takes.
Lots of families I know are having some version of this conversation. Are you?
Then we talked about Hank and his karate, and we both agreed that he will become a professional ninja, no doubt.
|She's one of the ones in the yellow caps.|
So the state championship meet was just this past weekend, down at Georgia Tech. Part of the point of a big meet for this age group is that they learn to handle themselves on deck with no parent involvement. Whereas, when she was littler and in summer swim league, I would walk her to her lane and literally hold her hand until she stepped up on the block, now it's all up to the kids. They need to manage their warm-ups/warm-downs, talk to the coach, watch the clock, and get to their correct event and lane by themselves.
So I sat up high and watched. I think for people who are more helicopterish than me, this was torment. In fact, I know it was, because of how many times the meet announcer had to talk over the speaker and basically beg parents to stay off the deck. Please, please stay in the stands. So I did. I watched from on high as Laura warmed up, I watched without being able to intervene as another little girl mistakenly swam in Laura's lane in her heat, even though I could see it about to happen, and I watched Laura realize the mistake, alert the timer, sort it out with the officials and her coach, and get placed in another heat. I could see her smiling and joking with the officials, and I was like, "Look at her! She is navigating the system, man. She is on her way in the world."
She told me that one of the officials said to her, "You're only ten? You're really tall!" And she replied, "You should see my dad."
(Oh, and also, please keep your observations to yourself, random person. I added in my head.)
And even though she'd barely squeaked into her qualifying time, she swam the 100 fly three seconds faster than she had two weeks ago. Whoa! I cheered from way up high where she couldn't hear me.
So we got up at 5:30 Saturday morning to head to GA Tech, and she was on deck as required at 6:50, and I was in my chair. Then she swam at noon. Then we had lunch with her team and headed home. It took 8 hours for her to swim that minute and a half. It was a good thing though, a really good thing.
Then, to round out her last day as a ten year-old, she had her BFF spend the night.
Also the child cleaned up, getting enough money from all three of her grandparents to buy herself a Kindle Fire. Speaking of navigating the system!