Perpetual Surprises

7 07 2010

Every time I think I know what to expect from my children they up and change, leaving me scratching my head in wonder.  I was sure on our 5th summer of swimming (with 3 years of winter swimming as well) I knew how and what my children would do.

My son has always been more driven in the water.  He also has always had a very nice feel for the water, able to do legal butterfly at the ripe age of 5.  Imagine my shock, and slight disappointment when he began the season by adding 10 (count them 10) seconds onto his 25 free – the event he won overall at champs last year.   Then we get to the fly.  Ugh.  Not legal, or pretty like usual.  And then there’s the practice effort.  He is much more interested in flipping around, floating, poking at friends . . .  and on and on – than in actually, you know – practicing.  Finally last night he lit a little fire in his swimming and put a little effort in.  Not in fly or freestyle – his favorite strokes for the last 3 years of swimming – instead in breaststroke and backstroke.    Wha?

That brings us to my 10 year old daughter.  She has never had that competitive drive that makes you a workhorse in practice and a speed demon in the water.  And yet, she has always loved swimming and so long ago I gave up pushing her with the fast, fast, fast mentality and instead has just encouraged the swimmer in her.  Until this season, where she all of a sudden can swim fly legally it turns out – and has won the 25 breaststroke (always her best stroke) at each and every meet, and knocked like 7 sec. off her 50 free.  All of a sudden my sweet swim for fun girl wants to get better.  Thankfully she is still happy to  compete within herself – not obsessed with the need to win, win, win.  Instead she is great at working on her time goals and making changes in her stroke to make her strokes better and faster.

And so  now the coach in me, and the mom in me will continue to adjust my expectations and try very hard not to create a min-me, so competitive that it, at times – takes the fun out of things.  (all my friends reading this are nodding their heads, I know!!)




One response

8 07 2010

With my own little kiddo in swim team, I really get this post. It’s an incredible roller coaster to watch them achieve, play, struggle, win, lose, drag, and be energetic about swimming. Sometimes it’s day to day, week to week, or season to season – but the only constant is that it’s always changing.

I think kids show what adults “feel” in terms of their own motivation, drive, and desire. They just don’t have the mental capacity to tell motivation to suck-it-up when it’s lacking. It takes a lot of maturity to see long term goals and visions.

Anyway, great post. I could definitely relate.

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