Regular followers to my blog know that my oldest daughter is a swimmer. What you may not know is that she’s not your traditional swimmer. She doesn’t have unusually large hands to act like paddles or massive feet that propel her through the water. Quite the opposite. She’s a tiny little thing with unusually small feet and she looks as though she could use a big, steak dinner….every night for the next 12 months. But what she lacks in size, she certainly makes up for in heart.
We headed out for a swim meet early this morning. My daughter was up against her former team today, so the typically high anxiety level was escalated even further. It wouldn’t take much to throw her off-balance. Just before warm-ups began, she checked on the events that she was scheduled to swim – that’s when the tears welled up in her eyes. Her coach had her swimming in three events – none of which were her strengths.
I quickly took her off to the side and gave her the ‘you’ve got this’ pep talk. I sounded convincing – though I was secretly feeling uneasy about how this would play out myself – and she managed to pull herself together. She headed out for warm-ups while I glanced at the heat sheets, curious about the swimmers she would be up against. A quick glance revealed that she would be ‘swimming up’ in two of her three events – my itty, bitty, barely middle-schooler was up against high school girls. My heart sank. It’s hard being Mom.
Sitting on the sidelines, I could barely watch as her first race began. Four laps, four different strokes and one ball of nerves – that would be me. I was simply hoping that she could hold her own; hoping this first race didn’t crush her confidence for the remainder of the meet. She, on the other hand, was giving it every ounce of effort that she could possibly muster. She didn’t just swim after those high school girls, she kept pace with them. She blew me out of the water.
That first race gave her the boost that she needed. Her confidence soared and her swimming was beautiful. “There’s that little speedy one,” a parent in the stands commented as she took off. I let out a sigh.
Seems my little goldfish believes that she is a shark. Keep believing sharky.