Number 5 is twelve years old.
She’s on the swim team, and in two weeks there is a swim meet called Age Groups here in Connecticut.
Age Groups is a swim meet that many young swimmers in CT want to qualify for. You have to have certain qualifying times in order to go.
Number 5 is pretty close in two events. It’s definitely possible for her to qualify.
And because she’s the only one in her immediate friend group on the team who hasn’t qualified, she REALLY wants to make it.
But if she didn’t make it, she’d be okay. She’s really level-headed (so far, anyway) when it comes to swimming.
If she doesn’t qualify, she won’t beat herself up or get upset – in her six years on the swim team, I’ve never seen her shed a tear on the pool deck or off the pool deck about swimming.
And up until a year ago I was her coach.
So I’ve spent a lot of time with her at the pool.
Anyway, she wants to qualify for Age Groups so she can hang out with her friends.
There is a meet this weekend called Regionals. It’s the last chance to qualify for Age Groups, and Number 5 is swimming.
We had a nasty cold run through our whole family like fucking wildfire in the last 10 days, and Number 5 was the last one to fall victim to it.
She’s recovering from that, and she’s also doing a triathlon camp Monday through Friday for three hours in the morning.
So she’s definitely active.
The combination of camp and swim team and having been sick could definitely wear a kid down.
Number 5 called me today as I was driving Number 3 to his practice which is about 35 minutes away.
Number 5: Mom, are you on your way home yet?
(She was asking because as soon as I get home from dropping off Number 3, it’s time to drive Number 5 to her practice).
Me: Not quite, but soon. What’s up?
Number 5: Ummm…. you know how sometimes you let me take Tuesday night off from practice if I want?
Number 5: Well, do you think tonight I could take the night off?
I paused for a second.
Me: I don’t care what you do. It’s totally up to you.
Number 5: Yeah?!
The optimism in her voice was palpable.
Me: I just want you to think about one thing.
Number 5 said “Yeah?” but internally I’m pretty sure she said, “DAMMIT.”
Me: How are you going to feel on Sunday night after Regionals is all done if you’ve missed qualifying for Age Groups by like a couple hundredths?
Do you think you won’t care at all?
Or do you think there is a chance you’ll wish you had gone to practice tonight, just to be sure you’d done everything you could do to make it?
It’s totally up to you what you do. You just have to answer both of those questions.
Number 5: Okay.
I didn’t ask her what her decision was.
But about 45 minutes later I walked in the door.
Number 5 was filling up her water bottle.
She put her swim bag on her shoulder, and she said, “I’ll be in the car, Mom.”
And then I drove her to practice.