Here’s where the swim girl and I are spending many humid hours of our weekend. This particular meet is being held in what just might be the world’s largest sauna. Perhaps my skin will thank me for it, and I’ll emerge from the heavy chlorinated air looking years younger, or perhaps I’ll just emerge with a sweat-spotted tank top, but either way, I will emerge. We both will.
This meet was added into our June schedule unexpectedly when the coach told us that AppleApple had met qualifying times for a number of events at the regional meet. “Well, that just happens to be our one free weekend,” I replied, with what I hope was a touch of excitement rather than bitterness. No, I’m just kidding. I’ve gained a certain fondness over this year for the atmosphere of the swim meet. It’s become familiar, and known, and happy, much like the atmosphere of the soccer tournament.
I didn’t get any glowing photos of my girl. That’s because immediately after watching her race I am a bundle of nervous energy exploding and cannot steady my hands to hold the camera. So these are all befores, when she’s going through whatever emotions a kid goes through while waiting for a race.
This is how I captured her, waiting with her teammates for, quite literally, the last race of the day: 4×100 freestyle relay. She is the newest and least experienced member of the tight-knit team and a couple of these girls are the fastest in the region, so when her coach placed her on the last leg of the race, I almost couldn’t bear to watch. But I watched. How could I not? There’s my baby, all those hours of practice and hard work adding up to this moment, throwing herself in and swimming for the wall with intense determination. “How were you feeling?” I asked afterward. “Terrified!” she said, although her tone suggested that the sensation was not entirely unpleasant. In the race, she took two seconds off the time she’d swum earlier in the day, which was already two seconds faster than her personal best. Her team won gold.
She also won individual bronze in the 200 metre breaststroke, and placed strongly in her other two events.
“How do you feel?” “I’ve never felt this way before, so I don’t really know.”
Meanwhile, in the non-swimming-related portions of life, Kevin and I went to a party last night, which reminded me that we haven’t been out socially for ages. Where has my social life gone? It’s gotten lost in the swim meets and soccer tournaments, I’m pretty sure. Also, I haven’t found a replacement for playgroup, a social event that sustained me for years, friends gathered weekly in each other’s homes to drink coffee and hold babies and send our preschool-aged children off to play together (mostly, that happened). This past year was the first without playgroup. And I miss people, specific people, because our paths don’t seem to cross in the same way anymore. I don’t mean to end this post on a melancholy note. I’m coming to accept that there’s no balance possible in life, only the enjoyment of and engagement with what’s right before us, but I keep my eyes peeled for certain omissions in the every day, so as to make changes, if needed or wanted. Any advice for post-playgroup-every-day-socializing?