Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Swim Medal

Tonight, as you swam your heart out, there was a renewed energy in your spirit. You knew Ms. K had something for you. I told you as much, but you didn't know exactly what was happening.

A year and a half ago we switched swim clubs. A year and a half ago you had learned basic swimming and had come so far, but you weren't nearly the swimmer you are today.

Our swim club listened when I called and described you. They assigned you Ms. K, the most patient swim coach on the planet. Ms. K "gets you." She knows when you're frustrated, she knows when you're happy, she knows your work ethic, she knows your capabilities. Ms. K, with all that knowledge, has transformed you into a magnificent swimmer.

Twice a week for a year and half you have given 110%. You want to be on the swim team, but you just aren't ready...yet. Ms. K knows your goal and is working with you on the same exact drills the swim team does, she is timing you, she is yelling, "go," "swim faster," "kick," she is pushing you each and every lesson to learn not only the motor plan of each stroke, but the motor plans of a swimmer on their swim team.

Every week you smile and skip into the swim club.  But a few weeks ago you came to me sad and upset. Your friends, your sister, all have trophies from their sport and you do not have one. There are only trophies and ribbons for swim team races, not swim practice. I tried to explain to you all of this, but you weren't quite getting it. After all, you are in a sport. You are making progress, but you have nothing that says, "look what I have accomplished."

Pandora, you are still little and don't quite know yet that I will move heaven and earth for you. You don't quite understand the daily strings that must be pulled in an effort to keep our family stronger, to keep life moving down the path of success. As your mom, I have done many things to help you navigate this life and given the chance I would do them all again. So when I was faced with your sad face, I did what I only know to do - help get you what you deserve.

If you were a child that didn't try, that didn't listen, that didn't give 110%, I wouldn't have done this, but that is not you. You are a hard worker. You are determined. You are a fighter. And you deserve recognition for what you have accomplished in the pool. At 41, with no neurological impairments (being a sarcastic asshole isn't an impairment), I cannot swim the butterfly. But you, seven year old you with mild CP, not only can swim the butterfly, but it is your favorite stroke. You can also swim freestyle, breaststroke, and backstroke.
And you swim them all with grace.
You swim them all with a smile.

With all this in my mind, I spoke to Ms. K and she agreed recognition is what you earned. I ordered a swim medal off Amazon (hallelujah for Amazon) and secretly gave it to Ms. K. She presented to you your medal tonight after your lesson and your smile was huge.
You held your medal all the way home.
You rain into the house to show daddy.
You are sleeping with it in your bed.
You know the value of hard work and this medal means the world to you.

I do not believe in "everyone gets a trophy."
I do not believe in parenting what people call snowflakes.
I do, however, believe in the value of hard work and telling that person "job well done."

Tonight, as you were given your swimming medal-
You were recognized for being you.
You were recognized for your dedication.
You were recognized for your efforts.
You were recognized for your determination.
You were recognized for being you.

Job well done, Pandora.

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