Hi there! Sandra waves hello, logging on for the first time in three weeks.
We're enjoying our summer and cannot believe it's almost over. And before it ends, I need to record some important happenings. One in particular is Max's involvement on swim team. It was touch and go whether he'd choose to participate this year. He tried winter swim and Charlie and I watched in horror as he seemed to get worse week after week...it was obvious his heart wasn't in it. He would jump in and do a few strokes. Then he'd completely stop and lose all momentum, seemingly content with sinking. And then--at a critical moment before sinking too far--he'd stroke, stroke, stroke, bobbing back to the surface. He'd repeat this tortured rhythm the full length of the lane. It was hard to watch.
When summer rolled around, it was a surprise when he said he'd join swim team. Not a surprise was the groaning when he trudged to the 7:45 a.m. practice each day. But he always stuck with it. He even graduated from the B meets to the A meets because our team needed someone in his age group to do breast stroke. I should point out that he could not do breast stroke when this proposition arose.
I should also point out that while other kids might be embarrassed by the notion of attempting something in public before they can do it well--the concern does not seem to cross Max's mind.
A notable thing about our oldest is he really doesn't care what anyone thinks. And this often presents challenges because his parents are, you guessed it, included in the group of "anyone." Sure he wants to please us and enjoys making us proud. But gaining acceptance by doing what others do is not a driving force in his decisions. It never has been. Rather, he will strive to do things well if he wants to. And he is not easily influenced by the notion that he should want to do something well just because others do it well. I'm not sure exactly what character trait, if any, that represents but it resulted in him happy to swim breast stroke in a race with seasoned swimmers even though he could not actually do the breast stroke. I might have mentioned that already but it's worth repeating because it made me proud. Especially when I saw his face before the first meet and realized he was pretty nervous.
Max disqualified during the first two meets. He'd either do an illegal stroke or forget to touch the wall with two hands. But he stuck with the practices, only missing when we were out of town and when he fell sick for a few days. And in the end, the breast stroke finally clicked. He cut his time nearly in half and by the end of the season, he improved enough to qualify for Divisionals.
More importantly, he made friends, enjoyed team camaraderie, and learned the valuable lesson that hard work pays off. At our team banquet, he was selected by the coaches for the hardest working boy award. I have never seen him look proud, surprised, and embarrassed. And as I watched him clutch the plaque and process what it represented, I've never felt my heart swell quite that way.
His coaches are really exceptional. Wonderful young adults who are committed to the kids--many of them grew up on the very swim team they now coach. The two young ladies in charge of the 8 and under kids are really great, not to mention adorable. I knit them a pair of earflap hats in team colors with fun pom poms as a thank you gift. I hope they like them.
We've spent far less time at the pool since the end of swim season. But we have a couple of weeks left. We are ending this summer with a big surprise trip for the boys and I am all-a-flurry trying to get ready. I'll give you a hint. It starts with a D and rhymes with Help Me. Okay, that's not the right attitude. I know we'll have a ball and are lucky ducks to get to go. I'm just a little worried that traveling with a three-year-old to a theme park filled with attractions that he--and he alone--cannot ride won't be the smoothest experience we've enjoyed. I think I've made it clear how much he likes to hang with his brothers. We will have to divide and distract, I think. Wish us luck.