22 June 2010

Nervous to Confident

Charlotte had her first swim meet this week. The night before, she bumped heads with her sister. In a house with seven people, bumping heads is NOT uncommon. I would say it's a daily happening. Charlotte saw this opportunity, though, and seized it. She cried, I can't go to my meet tomorrow. I hit my head. I might be bleeding inside. After many assurances and some tylenol, she fell asleep certain that in the morning she would not be bothered by a swim meet.

Since she needed to be in the pool at 7:15 am, I got her up early. I was pretty excited. Come on, Charlie, get your competition suit on and come get some breakfast; today is your first meet! Charlotte was not so excited. She said, No, Mom. Remember I bumped heads?

After my arguments about how proud she would be, how she has to face feelings of anxiety and fear, how swimming is her thing and here's her chance to win a ribbon, how she needs to listen to coaches, her parents & herself, how she gets to wear her cool team swimsuit, how she should just get the first one over with and the rest will be gravy, STILL, no dice. Charlotte was steadfast. She cried, she refused, she argued.

Enter Dad. (As a side note, let me remind you that James just had back surgery. He's been walking, but, only has left the house once in a month.) In his stern and authoritative Dad-voice he says, Charlotte, I'm going to watch you swim. Now you have five minutes to get your suit on and get in the van. Go.
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Charlotte is in the van. She even thought to grab a towel and her cap and goggles.
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Once we arrive, it's chaos. Swimmers everywhere. (There were three teams competing.) Loud noises. Coaches shouting. People setting chairs in odd places. Splashing and cheering. Charlotte lights up. She knows just where to go. She knows what to do. She tells me, set your chairs over there and I'm going to swim a few warm up laps. My coach is over there, by the green tables; those are for our team. Then, into the pool she jumps and I do as I'm told. I find her coach, check her in, and sit with James, who is now the parent/coach, giving last minute pointers to Charlotte as she warms up. No more tears, no more worries. And her bumped head is all better.

Charlotte swam two events in the category of 7/8 year old girls - the 25 yard freestyle and the 25 yard backstroke. In a field of ten girls, Charlotte finished fourth in freestyle and first in backstroke! So proud of you Charlotte!

I learned a lot in this meet. First, I learned how a swim meet works. But more importantly, I learned a lesson again that I learned first with Rachel then with Samantha, and that is that you must know your children. You must, as a parent, know when to push, when to admonish, when to relent and when to just listen. Each child of ours is different in so many ways. What motivates and inspires Rachel may not work for Charlotte. I can only listen to my child, my husband and my promptings to know what to do. I must do my part and let Charlotte do hers. She did it so well. She's already telling everyone that next week she's going to get more ribbons! And I bet she will!

1 screams from the fans...:

Katie said...

Go Charlotte! That is so awesome! And I love what you said about knowing when to push, when to admonish, etc. It is so true. I am still trying to figure out Emmie...but then, she is not even quite 4 yet...Anyway, Kent and I were just talking about how swimming could totally be her sport, with her build and all. We'll see. Anyway, tell Charlotte I think she is awesome:)