Monday, March 23, 2015

The Varsity Letter

The Princess received a varsity letter in swimming last night. Apparently, she’s a good swimmer. Now, before you go thinking I’m a horrible mother for thinking that, much less writing it here for the four of you to read, hear me out.

I think she’s the most amazing kid to walk this earth. She hangs my moon and her sister hangs my stars. In my eyes, she’s the brightest, kindest, strongest girl ever born. But I’m her mom. I’m supposed to think that.

She’s loved swimming since the time I decided to brave having people see my 6-month-post-baby body in a swim suit, signed up for a baby swim class and prayed that the pregnant woman who still wore a belt during those pregnancy classes I took wasn’t in it. She wasn’t, but lots of new parents with babies were. And the Princess was the only one in the class who laid back in my arms in the water, folded her arms behind her head, crossed her legs and went to sleep every time she entered the water.

All the other babies screamed or splashed or stiffened their bodies. The Princess smiled and drifted off to sleep. I thought she was amazing.

Once we graduated from baby swim/sleeping class, we moved onto actual swimming classes, where instead of sleeping, she had to learn to swim. Or as I said, not to drown. She took classes once a week, every week, until I was convinced that she could approach a body of water and not drown. We finally stopped in middle school. It takes a lot to convince me. But I sat and watched her swim and she was fast and smooth in the water. I thought she was amazing.

When she was about to enter high school, she told me she wanted to join the swim team. So we took private lessons ahead of time to make sure she was ready—I was pretty confident at that point she probably wouldn’t drown, but decided the extra money for swim lessons was worth it if it ensured it. It did and she didn’t. I watched her swim endless laps and thought she looked like a warm knife slicing through butter. I thought she was amazing.

She joined the swim team, and I was no longer allowed to watch her swim. Ever. Not a practice and not a meet. She went to practice six days a week and swam in a few meets. Having nothing to compare her to, I still thought she was amazing.

And then we had to take time off for back surgery and recovery. I won’t even say here how amazing I thought she was through all of that. I hope she’s never quite as amazing again.

She went back to the swim team this year very rusty. She had to relearn all of her strokes, since she no longer swam with a curved spine and that, apparently, affects everything. But she did it, and her coach thought she was amazing enough to get a letter.

It’s no longer just me.

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