Last week, I posted about M1 getting a surprise invitation from the swim coach to join the swim team. I talked it over with Oz, M1 talked it over with Oz, we worked out a couple of potential kinks, and in the end, M1 weighed the pros and cons and decided that he'd give it a try. After all, he said, the worst that could happen would be that he had to wait another year before joining. I couldn't argue with that logic.
So M1 and I hopped into the van tonight and headed to the pool. We got there, and I found the coach. He grinned delightedly when he saw M1 and gave him instructions on where to go. I went to the observation room and was mentally grateful that I wasn't a nailbiter, because my fingertips would have been bloody and raw. I watched as the kids set the lane dividers up. The coach ordered everyone else to warm up while he pulled M1 aside for his tryout - one lap, down and back, freestyle, and one lap, down and back, any other stroke (backstroke is M1's best). Other rules: No stopping, no touching the bottom.
He passed. The look on his face when he ducked under the lane divider and shot me a thumbs-up was priceless.
I watched for a minute as he tried to work out what everyone else was doing and then ducked out to get the official paperwork done. By the time I came back, the coach was giving orders and getting the practice formally underway. M1 was confused at first, and he had a hard time keeping up with everyone else, but he never quit! Down and back, down and back, he kept going.
After the practice was over, I caught up with the coach and asked him how M1 had done.
"He did more than I expected he'd do," was the initial response. "He'll probably be hungry and tired and really sore tomorrow."
I got instructions on things to work on with him, and then M1 and I headed home.
"Mom?" he said as we walked across the parking lot.
"I honestly didn't think I'd do it. I had confidence but not that much confidence."
I had to hug him. I was (am!) so proud.
"You hungry?" I asked.
"Starving," he said, confused, "but I just ate dinner!"
"Three hours ago, boy, and you've been swimming for an hour!"
"Oh. [pause] Can I have food, then?"
I agreed to make him a turkey and Swiss sandwich, "toasted, please."
M1 was silent for a few minutes after that, and I began to wonder if he'd sacked out in the back seat when he spoke.
"I remember when you first told me at level 3 that I had to wait until level 5 to join the swim team," he began. "And then when [the swim coach] told me I could try out, it was like I was in a maze and had found a shortcut." He paused. "Lifting up that divider to join the team was like opening the door to heaven."
I smiled in the dark. My son, the swimmer. His dream come true.