Monthly Archives: June 2013

Missy Franklin on Mondays

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This is Meredith, circa Summer 2005 (wasn’t she flippin’ adorable?!). She practically lived in that little blue pool that summer. In fact, I’d venture to guess my oldest child is part amphibious. She’s loved the water her whole life. That particular summer, when we would go to the ‘real’ pool, she would swim back and forth between John and I for as long as we would have it. For as long as I can remember, she has been the first kid in the pool and the last one out. She would swim so long her toes would be sore, and her fingers were little white prunes. So last summer, when Missy Franklin captured the world’s heart with her darling smile and swimming prowess during the Olympics, it came as no surprise that Meredith decided she wanted to be a competitive swimmer too.

The catch was, we were on vacation when the local swim club was going to hold tryouts, so we had made arrangements to tryout when we returned the next week.

Did I mention it was an Olympic year, and Michael Phelps and Missy Franklin had taken on a near cult-like following? Well, it was an Olympic year, and the Phelps/Franklin cult were flocking to the nearest swim teams in droves.

Yep, you can guess where this is going……

And…because of the OVERWHELMING turnout, the local swim team was busting at the seams, nearly tripling the size of their team overnight. They were forced to turn kids away because they simply could not handle one more swimmer.

So Meredith was not able to join the team. (Ok, before you get all defensive, hear this: the swim club takes VERY good care of their swimmers, and it was a matter of SAFETY that Meredith and others were turned away. Difficult to swallow, but important nonetheless.)

It was an understatement to say our little girl was crushed.
She cried. Oh my gosh, she cried.
I cried. Oh my gosh, I cried.

No swim team.
No swim meets.
No medals.

As a parent, I think the toughest thing you do is watch your kiddo go through something you can’t fix. In my head, I completely understood, totally agreed…I would never want any child’s safety compromised in a swimming pool. But in reality, I was beside myself. I’ve never seriously considered bribery until that week…I mean, I hate laundry, but I’d wash every towel in the joint and scrub the floors if they’d let her join. Or pool vacuumer…surely someone needed to vacuum that monstrous pool everyday. Anything. I’d have done anything.

But it just wasn’t to be.

A couple of weeks later, Meredith was still determined to be Missy Franklin, so we decided to let her take some private swim lessons. Not gonna lie, I’d have hired Missy Franklin herself if I could have. But Missy was busy being a superstar/high school senior/international role model, so we settled for weekly lessons with Miss Kaitlyn at the local YWCA.

Thank you Lord, for Miss Kaitlyn.

For months, the highlight of Meredith’s week was Monday from 4-5pm. Kaitlyn worked with Meredith on her strokes, refined her skills, taught her how to breathe, to flip turn.

Here’s the part that gets me.

Not once – not even ONCE, did our nine year old pout or cry that she wasn’t with her friends on the swim team, or getting to compete in the swim meets. After the initial shock wore off, she never uttered one single complaint.

{I wish I was more like her sometimes.}

She just kept taking those lessons with Miss Kaitlyn. Kept pretending she was Missy Franklin on Monday afternoons, waiting for the next tryout to roll around.

Might we all be so good at waiting.
{Heck, I’m competitive at the grocery store’s check out lines, not to mention real world issues. It’s a problem. I know.}

When things don’t go my way.
The repairman doesn’t show up when he said.
A house doesn’t sell as quickly as I thought it would.
Kids take their everlovin’ time getting their buns in the car.
The super cool mom you know at school dons her new wardrobe. (How she does it, I just don’t know. It’s awesome.)

Refuse bitterness. Fight envy.
Reject the temptation to pout, cry or throw a tantrum.

It’s hard sometimes…especially when we see others around us succeeding.
When it seems everyone else is on easy street.
When others are getting what we think we should.

In the waiting, might we allow the Lord to grow us.
Like Meredith on Mondays, her skills refined, arms strengthened, knowledge deepened.

It isn’t whether or not we have seasons of waiting. It’s what we choose to do with that time that matters.
For it is in the waiting that we grow the most.

Last month, the local swim team had open tryouts.
Meredith made the team.

Which brings me to this weekend.

After nearly ten months of waiting, our little girl, got in the water yesterday morning for her first swim meet. She swam two races, a 50m freestyle, and a 50m backstroke. {I would love to tell you she won the races, but she didn’t. It doesn’t matter.}

Y’all, I’ve never been so proud of our daughter in my life.

There was a sweetness in yesterday that I don’t know if I can put into words.
Because the waiting had not been tainted by bitterness or jealousy, there was pure joy in it.
I really tried to keep my composure, but I must confess, my heart was bursting on the inside.
Not because she made the team.
Not because of the time she posted.
But because I had watched her grow up in those ten months.
Because I saw overflowing joy in a young lady who had patiently persevered in the waiting.
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Needless to say, it was worth the wait.

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