Sarah was doing the first 25 meters of her 50 meter freestyle (an event she usually does okay in even though there are several year round swimmers on our team that beat her every time) and was about 3 quarters of the way down the pool.
I noticed that she was rolling over way to far. I could tell she was struggling to get her breath. As she approached where I was standing, I could see a pained look on her face.
She finally made it to the wall and instead of touching it and going back down to the other end of the pool to complete her 50 meters, she stopped. The swim coach was telling her to breathe, catch her breath, calm down and GO! I was standing on the side poised and ready to step in and pull her out. That's what moms do, right?
Sarah took some deep breaths and headed down the pool to finish her event.
I have never been more proud of this girl in my life.
When she was done, she hopped out of the pool, and came running over to me. Her face was crumpled up in the beginnings of a cry.
I took a breath and hoped that the right words came out.
"Sarah! That was awesome! I am so proud of you. It looked like you were choking on water and couldn't get your breath but you did not quit. You kept right on going and I am more proud of you at this moment than if you had won!" And I meant that too.
"Really, Mama?" She asked looking up at me. Her face began to break out into a smile. She finished the rest of her events and at bedtime, asked me to tell her again what I said at the pool. So I went through it all again and she said, "I'm going to remember this for when I'm a mom and have a kid that wants to quit! That will be a great story won't it?"
"Yes, baby. Yes it will."
Peter has such pretty strokes. He always looks nice and calm when he's swimming - he doesn't splash around wildly. He just looks nice. Even his butterfly.
Unfortunately, Peter has two speeds - slow and slower. But that's just my sweet Peter. He swims like he lives. On his own schedule and at his own pace. He says he thinks he's going fast, but it just never translates that way in a race.
He swam his butterfly beautifully last night but came in 5th out of 5 swimmers. He was dejected because he was hoping that the butterfly was going to be his stroke. The stroke he might actually be able to win a ribbon with.
Before bed he dejectedly said, "I was horrible in the swim meet."
"Did you work as hard as you could practices we have been to since the last meet all week?"
"Did you swim as hard as you could?
"Did you have fun at the swim meet?"
"Then you had a great swim meet and I am proud of you! You just started doing the butterfly so you just need to work harder on it."
"Okay Mama. I will."
And I am proud of Peter. Because I know from experience, how hard it is to keep doing something when you know you aren't very good at it or when you know your friends are really good at it.
I just hope he sticks with it and doesn't quit. I would love for him to have a great story to tell his kids too!