June 11, 2006


We had a long but fun and ultimately successful day at the pool yesterday for the local swim meet. The kids and I left the house at 7:30 am, getting to the meet about 15 minutes later. The swimming started at 9, but Laura and Daniel had at least an hour before their races to get the hang of things and figure out what they were supposed to do. Best of all, as with Pinocchio and the poetry recitals, they showed not a trace of nerves, just excitement. I had to wince when I saw the mother of one young swimmer, about Daniel's age, lean over and say, "Now don't be nervous"; the look on her daughter's face showed that while she hadn't considered that option previously, it was now at the top of the heap. I was glad my kids were on the other side of the pool and didn't have the chance to overhear this. Oy.

I spent the morning marshalling the swimmers, which meant getting them ready for their races; the organizers had set up four benches, so the "on deck" swimmers were in place well before their turns. But I was relieved of my duties for Laura's and Daniel's races, and was able to watch them, which was a thrill.

Laura, in the "8 and Under Girls" (a group of about 30) placed third in her 25m backstroke heat (placing tenth overall, not bad with many girls back for a second year in the category) and won her heat in the 25m front crawl (will I never learn to call it freestyle?), and had great fun with the three other girls in the two relays, one medley (Laura swam backstroke) and one front crawl; all in all, she swam 100 meters yesterday, which is more than I could have done at age 8. For winning her heat, she was given a beautiful rainbow colored ribbon, which is now proudly affixed over her bed.

Daniel did well, too, especially with only eight in the "8 and Under Boys" category, a good statistical lesson for the kids. However, as a proud mother I also factor in that he just slipped into the category, making the May 1st cutoff to turn seven by two days). He won his 25m backcrawl race, took third in the front crawl (would have placed second if the coach had explained to keep going until he touched the wall -- oy again), and placed 3rd overall, for which he won a medal. Tom missed their first races, but arrived in the late morning for the rest of the competition. We arrived home at 6 pm dreaming of the steak in the fridge to find that the barbecue was out of propane, so it was a supper of Raisin Bran, a quick call to my mother to share the good news, and then bed.

We are very, very proud of them, including Davy, who not only occupied himself while I was busy marshalling all morning but also didn't complain once about not swimming. And a huzzah for the rest of the team, especially the older members who took all of the new kids under their wet wings and gave cheerful support, advice on what to do, and directions on where to go.

Next week we get to do it over again, minus the marshalling and other volunteer work, in the little city 40 minutes down the road, which means we have to be on said road by 7 am. Davy is excited for his first race, with the flutterboard, and all three are much confident and eager now that they have a better idea of what to expect. And since I do too, I can tell the insistent Liz with apologies but no regrets that there won't be too much time for the MotherReader's 48 Hour Book Challenge next weekend. Throw a wedding anniversary and Father's Day into next weekend, with early Friday bedtimes for all, a long day cooped up in a humid pool breathing chlorine fumes, and all any of us want to do on Sunday is sleep late and spend the rest of the day outdoors, catching up on farm and garden chores and riding bikes and a horse. Speaking of which, I'm headed back outside now to do some more weeding and sow more lettuce, which came up rather patchily, thanks to all the birds.

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