That is literal as well as metaphorical.
The girls are at morning practice, and I just spent the first hour trying to get my walk in. Up and down, around and through the neighborhood of the new pool exploring and learning, treading the sidewalks of fog into the lifting sunshine. I am hoping the humidity lifts with the cloud. The kids, despite their new faces, all look the same. I know a few names, but by and large they are strangers, and yet I feel a kinship with them. Sleepy, but alert at the same time with pillow lines on their baby cheeks, they are present and ready to tackle the water after Flyday Friday last night for Breaststroke Saturday this morning. They all shrug and squat in the water, shoulders below the surface, staring vaguely at the tile on the wall as the coach explains the next set and tells them, “Heads stay low, hips stay high.
The clock spins second by second and … they sink one by one, pushing off the wall.
It really is a beautiful thing. I love the sounds. The rhythmic splashes, like music in the morning stillness.
I am cautiously optimistic. Quietly hopeful. And still occasionally scared out of my wits.
This morning, we get in the car for practice. The 4th practice in the first week, the morning after the high school football game. Abby got herself up and downstairs early, ready to go. Not one peep of dissension or negativity.
She sat on the couch and read her phone only to pipe up, “Mom, Anna quit.”
“Yeah, she posted a picture of herself with Cullen Jones, saying she’d saved it for a special occasion, and that her farewell seemed like that occasion.”
I don’t want to make more out of that than there is there to make of it. After all, this swimmer has been on the fence for over a year now. She swims on the other side of the county and we don’t know her all that well. What does it say about me that my mind immediately jumps to the fear that my child will somehow see herself in that situation and want to follow suit? This is exactly the kind of thing I shouldn’t be doing. The exact kind of conversation I shouldn’t have with myself. Not only does it expose to me the amount of time I stress about them … are they happy? are they still sad? will they ever assimilate? … but how despite my vow to let go and let her do her own thing, I am still waking up at night wondering what I will get from them the next day. I guess the trust isn’t there yet.
Either with her or with myself.
This bond seems so tremulous at times, it terrifies me. I’m not sure why either, because Lucy quit. Emma quit. Emma came back on her own and has now found her way into a comfortable place, but with Abby it feels different. I want something so badly for her because it is so clear to me, but I have to sit back and let her figure it out. This is the part of parenting that sucks the most, and I suspect most parents deal with it, no matter the sport or the situation.
Examining myself in this manner isn’t always a pleasant thing to do. I am a control freak. It is a fact and not something that I try to deny. I am used to running a vast number of schedules and have seen first hand what happens when the schedule breaks down. That is no real excuse to assume that something will break down simply because I am not the one in charge of it.
I will say it again, I am cautiously optimistic and genuinely hopeful. Things will be great, they are making new friends and forging new bonds. It is a really good thing to see, and I am glad I am able to witness it.