Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Determination

Little Meems decided to do swim team this year.  I am proud of her for going out of her comfort zone to try new things.  I am even more proud of her for how brave she's been and how determined she is, even in the face of...well...the girl can't swim.  She's got no game.  I keep thinking it'll happen, that she'll get it, but I'm not sure she will.

But she keeps on trying anyway.

She's the smallest one in her age group.  Not the youngest, just the smallest.  She feels a little embarrassed that the other girls are faster, but at the end of the race, she's just happy to finish.  All teeth and dimples.

In her first meet, she was so brave, even though she was so nervous she was shaking.  She held onto my hand for dear life and, at one point, fought back tears so no one would see.  But I did.  So I fought back mine too.

She's the kid that everyone cheers for because he/she is so far behind everyone else.  In the backstroke, most of the kids have gotten out of the pool, toweled off and have gotten a bite to eat before she finishes.  She looks like those old ladies you see with the flower caps swimming laps, slowly and with purpose, gracefully and in no hurry whatsoever.  Except she keeps criscrossing the pool and bumping her head on the lane lines.  In the end, everyone knows her name and is cheering madly for her -- even the competition.

The meaning of that is not lost on me, and it makes my heart hurt a little.  She, however, doesn't seem to mind.

Last night, she was bummed to hear she came in 35th in the freestyle.  Out of 35 swimmers. She was happy about finishing 32nd in the backstroke.  I didn't tell her there were only 32 swimmers.

She figured it out, though.  When she asked me, I had to tell her the truth.  She can handle it.  She nodded knowingly, sighed and declared "it's because I had to doggie paddle, isn't it?"

That, and the fact that between water in her goggles and the zig-zaggiest freestyle race I have ever seen, she got disoriented.  I know because I could tell by her expression mid-way down the lane.  It read "what the hell?  where am I?"

Oh well.  She hasn't complained, although she HAS already declared she won't be doing it next year.  But who knows??  She told me last night "maybe."

I'm so proud of her determination.  And, as much as it will be fun one day to reminisce about her "season of swimming," my hope is that it will set the stage for a sense of dedication and responsibility that will grow with her.  If quitting has crossed her mind, she hasn't said so.  I must say, I'm surprised and delighted by this tiny little girl who's so determined and brave and committed.

That's what I'll be thinking the next time the entire pool is cheering for her.

I'd like to think that's what everyone else is thinking too.

1 comment:

ItsJustMeg said...

go little meems! i'm a terrible swimmer. doggie paddling is my forte.