Now that I’ve retired from swimming, there are some things that I miss and some things that I don’t miss.
One of the things I miss most is the special relationship that swimming helped me build with my parents. While we weren’t really ‘working together,’ per se, the end of my swimming career marked a significant shift in our relationship. It was sort of our last opportunity to work together toward a big common goal before our lives started to move in different directions.
Below are 7 things that I don’t think I could ever thank my mom enough for. Happy Mothers’ Day, mom.
1. Waking up at 5AM to drive me to practice
I didn’t want to get up at 5AM and neither did she. But she did, religiously, and usually with enthusiasm. Those were special bonding moments between me and my mom.
2. Talking to my coaches when I couldn’t
Sometimes, I needed my mom’s support when talking to my coaches. She was always there for me to help with those hard conversations, and to help me learn how to have those hard conversations.
3. But also knowing when not to talk to my coaches
When I needed her, she was there. When I didn’t, she knew how to let me handle my business and grow up. At the time, I didn’t always appreciate that, but as I get older, I realize those were valuable lessons learned.
4. Cheering with blissful ignorance of whether a swim was good or bad
I don’t think my mom new the difference between a 22 second 50 yard free and a 50 second 22 yard free. But she was always happy to watch me swim (though she eventually admitted that she wished I had played basketball or something else that was a little more exciting).
5. Hosting team dinners (and usually not embarrassing me at them)
Have y’all ever made spaghetti for a group of 40 teenage swimmers out of a home kitchen? I’m still convinced that my mom missed her calling as an army cook.
6. Slipping my childhood swim pictures to whoever was doing the end-of-year banquets (because sometimes I needed to be embarrassed)
I rolled my eyes at the time…but in hindsight, I’m glad she kept all of those pictures.
7. Loving me even after swimming was done
Sometimes as a kid, I wondered what value I brought to my parents’ life when I was no longer swimming for ribbons, no longer getting grades, not getting 100% practice attendance awards, and no longer learning and growing as a child in their household. But my mom has never let me forget that she loves me no matter what. Those things weren’t why she loved me, she loved me so she encouraged me to do those things. Our relationship now is more beautiful than ever.