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?

Saying goodbye
Making it your own


  1. Nath

    From my entirely selfish perspective, re. socializing: Have lunch with me this week! Before I turn into a monster who doesn’t want to do anything but pack and organize and pack and pack some more.

    • Tricia Orchard

      I’ve been a packing, organizing, cleaning, GRUMPY monster this weekend! It’s not fun! The poor kids! 🙁

      Go somewhere with AC!

    • Carrie Snyder

      Also, I’m only available Wed or maybe Thurs this week.

    • Nath

      Either of those days works for me! Tricia, come!

      Anywhere is good. Sushi? And, yes to AC, but that exists pretty much anywhere but my house, it would seem…

    • Tricia Orchard

      Ooooh! I am so glad that I checked back here! Um, OKAY!!! I have no kids on Wednesday if that works for you both!

  2. nancy

    I was thinking of this the other night. Even though I’m not part of the playgroup you had. Though I did join in a couple of times. I used to hold once a month gals’ night at my home – I miss my “GALS” – maybe we could meet for lunch biweekly cuz I do miss chats with you. 🙂

    Congrats to AppleApple. Fantastic!

    • Carrie Snyder

      Yes, the beauty of playgroup or any organized group is that there is the chance to touch base both collectively and individually — with everyone so busy, it makes it possible to maintain connections.I realize I shouldn’t necessarily think “efficiency” when I think friendship, but something is better than nothing… Yes, lunch would be great!


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