If having a weird mom does indeed build character my babies are set for life.
“Who needs 2 fat heads??? You have one. That will do,” those are the words I said to my daughter before senior swim night.
At the swim banquet last night I got my answer. “Who needs 2 fat heads??” The answer: anyone child who participates in 2 sports.
The crowd chuckled when the picture popped up.
I sank as low as humanly possible in my seat.
To her credit my girl didn’t say, “I told you so.” I didn’t even get the, “MOOOOMMMMM!” That would have been screeched just a few years ago. Age has mellowed my girl. I got a smile and a non-bitchy roll of the eyes.
I deserved much worse.
“Hey—-you will never forget senior night!” I challenged. And than reminded her that having a weird mom builds character.
When each senior got a copy of the said picture I put my head in my hands and groaned, “I could die!”
We survived that moment although I couldn’t make eye contact with my co-worker across the aisle (also a swim/dive dad) because I knew he would be laughing. He hasn’t let me forget my faux paus after seeing it on Facebook.
The state team members were recognized. My daughter was up there. She didn’t want to be. As an alternate she was embarrassed to me amongst the elite swimmers when she didn’t actually swim at the state meet. I was thinking of how incredibly proud I was of her. Her 4 year goal had been to swim at state. When she was asked to be an alternate, she didn’t hesitate. She knew she wouldn’t be allowed to attend the meet, but she kept practicing and kept pushing herself nonetheless. She didn’t think she deserved to be up there but I did. Her heart and her commitment despite her disappointment were honorable. I was proud she was up there and for everything her being up there represented.
I was busy thinking about how she would never know how proud I was of her. I was beating myself up for not getting her a fathead, if for nothing else, out of respect for all her hard work.
Next came team awards. I was busy obsessing over my failures as a mom and only 1/2 heard words like: integrity, supportive of everyone, hard working, committed. “Someone’s about to be proud,” I thought to myself as they went on to describe the team voted upon award.
“The swimmer most embodying the spirit of a Titan is…”
I don’t have a poker face.
I think my kids are AMAZING but understand not everyone shares my opinion.
But they said HER name.
The Titan Tide spirit award went to my girl!!!
I acted a fool.
“YOU?!” I asked incredulously.
I think I whooped.
I know my shock was displayed in my face because the teacher who handed her the award told my girl, “I wish I had a picture of your moms face!”
I don’t have a picture of her winning the award.
After my shock and disbelief I immediately started discreetly crying. The team voted for MY GIRL! They didn’t know her self-confidence struggles as a swimmer. They didn’t know she was disappointed to never have been an official state team member. They didn’t know she hated every stroke, every turn of practice because swimming was pure WORK for her. They didn’t know that she stayed up until 1a doing homework during swim season because swim took so much time. They didn’t know on top of AP classes, swim practice and football games she was also responsible for her little sister. They couldn’t have possibly known how much this award would mean to her.
I cried because I was hurt. For seven years I’d tried to make the swim banquets special with homemade decor. I’d done it for her brother and always thought I’d do it for her. This years banquet wasn’t like the others so I I had no hand in it. We were lucky, in a covid world, to even have a banquet so I was thankful to have the event but said that these hardworking seniors didn’t get their just due. It made me sad to not have a part in making her night special. It hurt to think that she might somehow see that as a sign I wasn’t extremely proud of her.
There were tears because it was over. My days as a swim mom were over and that left a hole in my heart.
There were tears because she was so damn beautiful standing up there.
I wiped them away discreetly so as to not embarrass her.
Although it was probably too late for that; As I sat there in my glittery tennis shoes and bright red sweater with stars on it.
All the chapters of her book are waiting to be written.
One of the most important chapters of my life had just closed.
So I cried for that too.
Don’t worry. I quickly dried up the waterworks. This was a night to celebrate her… not to pacify me.
I wish I could go back and hear the words I missed. I wish I could hear her coach describe her and her Titan spirit.
I also wish I could go back and get her an appropriately sized fat head.
Or maybe I don’t.
As ridiculous as it looks it does adequately depict our swim life.
Like the time we drive 4 hours for a meet only to realize she’d forgotten her entire swim bag. Does the phrase you had one job!? Resonate here?
Or the time she’d splurged on acrylic nails. They were too long I my opinion. My opinion were justified when her talons got stuck in the grate as she was diving off the block.
Then there was the time she had to walk a balloon llama in front of hundreds of people. It seemed like a good idea when I bought it. Repeat after me: having a weird mom builds character.
Then there are my gold shoes. Yes. I had gold tennis shoes to wear to the meets.
I am not sure what I did here to deserve this look but I am sure it was something she didn’t a Appreciate.
I am sure she was stopping one of my motivational attempts here. “Just don’t be last and don’t drown” probably didn’t do much to motivate her.
Regardless of our wacky years at the pool I hope she knows that I think she’s a total bad ass and I am in awe of all she’s accomplished.
My girl is strength. She’s pure grit. She’s a fighter. She’s committed and determined. She’s responsible and trustworthy. She’s selfless (most of the time). She’s powerful but humble; hardworking and driven. She’s sharp, witty but soft at sweet at the same time. She’s got a infectious laugh that comes from her belly and spreads joy to anyone that hears it. She’s got stars in her eyes even as she keeps herself firmly rooted.
That’s my girl.