Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Swim Meet

My son had his very first swim meet last night.

This is a sport with which I am both familiar, and yet not. I swim, but I'm not a swimmer. I know all the strokes, but I'm not fast. I know what I'm doing, but I'm not confident.

He is. And that's good. But, can I be honest here? I was a nervous wreck yesterday. All day long, a bundle of nerves. Anxious, dreading, stressed out...nervous. Why?????

Terrified he's going to freak out, terrified he's going to miss his event, terrified he's going to do the wrong stroke, terrified he's going to be discouraged if he comes in (gasp) last...

Me, not him.

As a mom I've learned to appreciate organization -- not my strong suit (ask anyone who knows me), but I crave it nonetheless. I had no idea what to expect, no clue what to do once we got there, no concept of what was going to happen. Show up by a certain time; these are your events (whether you can do them or not)...that's all the information we had. I was a hovering helicopter parent-from-hell -- making sure he was in the right spot, making sure he had his goggles, making sure they're on, making sure I wish him good luck. I was my own (and his, I'm sure) worst nightmare.

The kid...well he's amazing. Incidentally, the next meet I absolutely WILL NOT hover.

He finished first in his heat in the freestyle, and second in his heat in the backstroke. Regardless of where, overall, he finished in his events, I'm one proud mama, let me tell you!

The adrenaline is just pumping. Through him -- he's so excited. Through me -- I am too!

My son has done soccer, T-ball and basketball. Never, NEVER have I had the jitters I felt last night.

Lying in bed later on, it hits me.

You see, I have a love/hate relationship with swimming. Heck, with ANY athletics. I am not an athlete, no matter how hard I try. I have a very REAL fear of failing that, luckily-and-by-the-grace-of-God, my son doesn't share.

But you see, I was the kid who got picked last in P.E. I was the kid who signed up last. I was the kid who came in last.

To top it all off, I have a long and deep-rooted love/hate relationship with the pool. Swimming, diving...these are the things that color the nightmares of my childhood. Pneumonia the summer when I was 8 was such a welcome relief -- I didn't have to fail in the pool again!

So to see him succeed where I had always failed was breathtaking. He doesn't have my fears! He wasn't last. He didn't falter. He didn't fail.

He's everything I was not. Am not. To think of your child feeling like a failure, even when you know he/she's not...it's one of the worst fears you have for your children. Especially if you know what that feels like.

So THAT'S why I was so excited last night. THAT'S why my adrenaline was off the charts. THAT'S why my heart skipped a beat every time the buzzer sounded for the start of the race.

Maybe the apple DOES fall far from the tree sometimes.

Thank God. Because, worse than our children feeling less than adequate would be us, as parents, passing along our own fears and insecurities that paved the way for them to do so.

Or so I think.

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