Sunday, October 7, 2012

Rookie Swim Parent

Too much fun... 

celebrating my dear friend Ali's birthday with friends.
Too much cake... 

celebrating again (with more yummy treats) my mother's birthday.

 Too cute for words...

admiring my sweet niece Caroline all dolled up for the IU game.

Too energetic... 

spending time with my brother and his family at IU for homecoming. 

Too adventuresome.... 

striking a pose around the IU campus.

Too adorable...

having a great time with Collin at a playground near IU.

"What do you call spectators at a swim meet," my Dad asked.

His eyes twinkled when he blurts out, "Parents."

It's a joke I've heard several times.  Since becoming a swim parent, I've found truth in his statement.

Today was Connor's swim meet.  I signed him into the meet and then walked up to the spectator section clutching the hand of my three-year-old.  We snagged seats among the masses of swim parents.  I think it became apparent in a matter of nanoseconds that I was a rookie swim mom.  I didn't pack a cooler filled with a week's worth of food.  I failed to pack the appropriate entertainment for my ipad, iphone loaded with apps, itouch, Kindle, portable DVD, and laptop.  I wasn't wearing the team's colors nor did I paint my face in green and white.

I was the mom cradling one single serving snack, a coloring book, and handful of crayons.  I was packed for an hour, they were prepared for a week.  I quickly saw the error in my ways.

I once heard a mom say a parent should never put a child in any sport that has the word "meet" in it.  This wise mom knew the word "meet" and "brief" would never be used together in a single sentence.  Meets are an event where the parent quickly learns his or her the bleachers...for hours on end.

For a few hours, it was entertaining to watch budding swimmers race through the water.  But then we (Collin and I) hit the spectator wall.  He whined.  I couldn't blame him.  We hit the snack bar.  And then again.  And one more time.  We wandered aimlessly around the top of the aquatic center.  We yearned (desperately) for it to be over.

But then came Connor's turn.  Even though he was (what felt like) miles away, he spotted me among the masses.  He smiled and waved again and again.  I beamed as I caught each of his waves with my own batch of waves.  At that moment, I knew why I sit endlessly on the bleachers of a swim meet. Of course it's true, I sit to watch my son race down the swimming lane.  But, I really go so he sees that I'm watching him.  I want him to know his biggest cheerleader is sitting in the stands eager to celebrate his successes or commiserate with his disappointments.  Regardless of the outcome, I come because I care.  I care because I love.  

And so I sat in the bleachers.

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