Wednesday, September 30, 2009

My Daughter, the Swimmer.


Casey begged to be on a swim team. I let her beg, turning a deaf ear for over a year, thinking "she's Casey, she'll move on to a new beg soon". Not. This one was a hard decision for me, because I was a competitive swimmer for the majority of my formative years. In those formative years I swore that when I grew up I would never:

Get up at ungodly hours of the morning to take my daughter to 5a.m. practices and watch her sneak out of the cold pool to stand in the hot locker room shower until her coach yells at her to get back in the (now colder, because of the hot shower) pool.

Buy a million pairs of goggles and swim caps, wash 9000 towels a year and invest in expensive chlorine removing shampoo.

Get up at ungodly hours (see the theme here?) to travel to swim meets far away and plant my ass on hard bleachers for hours on end waiting for her to swim a total of 5-10 minutes, max.

Buy bathing suits by the dozens. Smell the mildew on them when she forgets to take them out of her gear bag. Watch them fade and disintegrate before my eyes.

Be one of those parents in the stands who wears a stopwatch around their neck and can quote their kid's splits to the 100th of a second.

Get up at even earlier ungodly hours in Michigan winters to warm up the car for winter doubles.

Be on committees with overzealous parents who think their kid is the next Phelps.

But here I am folks. Ass firmly planted on the wooden chairs at the YMCA watching my daughter have the time of her life. Because she is Casey, the swimsuits, goggles and caps all match, and the kickboard is tye dye. Her gap tooth smile is constant as she learns butterfly and proper breathing technique. Soon she will understand that you can go a lot farther when you push off the starting blocks rather than collapse into the water like a stroke victim. It's coming. And it's sucking me in. Because this is the cutest time. Eight year olds in their tiny suits and hilarious attitudes having fun. Their feet pitter pattering in the family locker room as we beg them to "hurry, hurry, get dressed". They attend pleasant, short little 50 minute practices with lots of encouragement and no popping of their happy bubbles.

"I can do this", I think to myself.

Did I mention those were the best years of my life? My chlorinated, strong shouldered, eat what I wanted years. The medals, the trophies, the ribbons, the friends and the thousands of minutes in the pool made me a stronger, more committed person. My mom swears she had fun watching me, and I never understood that until just last week, as I sat, amazed at Casey's improvement in such a short time. She is looking more like a swimmer each practice.

Yes, I could have fun. Just not at 5 a.m. and NEVER with a stopwatch around my neck. Overzealous is not my thing. By the time she hits the age of required 5 a.m. practice, I had better have a laptop and a steady supply of Bigby coffee. I'll need something to broadcast my misery. And my pride.