I will readily admit: I am not a very good swim parent.
It is not that I don't try, although that plays its part. It's that I did not grow up in the world of competitive swimming and although I did date a swimmer in high school, apparently I did not like him THAT much because I can only recall one time that I actually went to a meet to support him.....sitting in the ridiculously hot sun for four hours all for a race that you could miss by just thinking about going to the bathroom or blinking a gnat out of your eye....seriously, a one minute race? One minute....out of like a gagillion??
At least in Florida it was an outside sport where you could reap the benefits of fresh air and sunshine. Add to the misery that swimming here is an indoor sport (think countless hours in a sauna) and far, far away from where we live (you can't just drop him off and come back) and you can begin to understand why parenting a swimmer is not my favorite part of the job.
And to rub it in, whenever I am flying solo at a swim event, the other parents (ingrained in the lingo and enthusiasm of the sport) know far more about my kid than I do. The conversations are often strained and not-so-subtly competitive at best: "Congrats to Aidan for almost making his A time last meet. Looks like he almost took off a fraction of a millisecond.....did he change up his stroke or start kicking or something? My kid finally made AA in all eight of his best events! Move over Michael Phelps!"
Ok, so perhaps it isn't THAT extreme but coming from someone who does not live and breathe swimming, it can sometimes come across like that. And my response is often not much better than:
"Um, who is your kid again? And why are you talking to me? SOLLY!!!! NO PEEING IN THE SWIMMING POOL! Excuse me, I have to go get the pants back on my kid...."
Last night was a fairly good reminder of why swimming and big families don't necessarily mix. Aidan had been swimming well all weekend, had made the finals the night before and placed second (?) in at least one event, dropped time in both and then made the finals again last night. Kurt thought it would be nice if the kids and I came to support him in his final two swims, the 200 Back and the 500 Free. And since I hadn't been to a meet in a while, I loaded them up, drove the hour south and arrived about ten minutes before the finals were to start. Maybe my best effort in timeliness ever!
And of course, his were the LAST TWO EVENTS of the night. (Which is why I don't bother arriving on time, World!) So we sat, and sat, and sat, and sat, and sat.....and sat. And waited and waited and.... At some point during all that sitting and waiting, I was lectured by a father in front of us about the dangers of vaccinations and told indirectly that had I simply spread out Liam's vaccinations that he would likely not have the developmental issues he has dealt with. (Uh, no....just, no.) I thought about asking the man if Liam's brain somehow knew he would be vaccinated on the standard schedule and so decided not to grow well from the time he was born.....but figured that would mean engaging in more conversation with him.
So we sat and sat and sat and sat some more. Around an hour in it occurred to me that wearing THREE LAYERS of shirts was not necessarily my best dressing decision ever......and why isn't men's deodorant stronger anyway?! (Sorry fellow sardines, I mean, parents!)
Finally, Aidan's event was up. They were on the blocks (or under them? All I know is they were in the vicinity of things called blocks....I think...) and ready to go when the timer malfunctioned, not once but like two, maybe three times. According to Aidan it was three times.... I missed the whole ordeal however because that was the same moment in which Solomon, sitting in my lap, kicked Madeline who decided to ever so slyly pinch him back, creating a scene of screaming and crying; at the same exact moment that Liam, eager to understand what was going on, was repeatedly asking loud questions of a very stressed Kurt who yelled at him to stop talking ever again (my words, not his....his were a little less G-rated) and Aidan, who had now lost any help from his good friend adrenaline, added four seconds to his best event, the one he had hoped to grab an A time in. I think. Or was it an olympic medal?
Aidan came walking towards us a few minutes later and I jumped down to tell him I enjoyed watching him swim. He gave me a suspicious look, like, "Are you a nut job?" (I know this look well....my kids are experts at it.) I explained to him that I was just glad I got the chance to see him swim, even if it was a mess in the beginning. I asked him what had happened because, like Liam, I did not understand, but unlike Liam, I knew better than to ask his father in the middle of the whole thing. (It's the vaccines, Kurt!! Blame the vaccines!)
After a thorough recap, Aidan sped off to find Kurt and get a quick energy fix and I went back to enjoy more muggy sitting......and waiting.....
To be continued.....
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