Mason was excited to qualify for the All-Star swim meet. He has been on a swim team on and off (mainly on) since he was 6. For 7 summers, Mason has laughed and cried, dealt with feelings of frustration, had some amazing swims, and had some extremely disappointing ones. Swimming is one of the best things we do as a family and I wouldn’t trade the lessons we learn every summer for anything.
This year, Mason’s swimming seemed to step up a level. It was exciting to watch. He wasn’t first, but he was consistent. Every meet, he got a bit faster. By the end of the season, Mason had made it to All-Stars for 2 events; the IM and the 50 Meter Backstroke. Once he got over the disappointment of finding out the All-Star meet was on a Saturday (Prime Video Gaming Hours) he was looking forward to swimming.
The day of the meet arrived and we were anxious to see how the day unfolded. It was hot…very hot, which always makes the smell of a meet more exciting. There was definitely a different atmosphere at the meet. It was a combined meet of all the All-Star swimmers in the league and both Philip and I noticed there seemed to be more pressure for the swimmers.
It was time for Mason to swim. I love him, but we already knew going into this meet that he wasn’t going to win. Some of the swimmers on our team are amazing and they work hard to get there. Instead, our focus wasn't on winning, but on improving times. We knew he could pull his weight and be an asset to his team.
Mason swam the backstroke first. He did a fabulous job. I believe he beat his time, but to be honest, I don’t remember. It was great to watch him push through his nerves and swim. We were very happy for him.
His next event was the IM. He was a bit nervous, because he isn’t comfortable swimming this event. When he made All-Stars for IM, he was initially disappointed. He thought the last meet of the season would be the last time he had to swim the IM for the year. Unfortunately for him, he qualified for All-Stars instead. Haha! I love being a parent.
We hugged him, told him we believed in him, and that we knew he could beat his time. He stepped up to the edge of the pool, dove in when he heard the start, and came up out of the water with is goggles down on his face. So devastating! He was painfully slow. We found out later that he was having a hard time breathing, which for a child with asthma is very scary. Our cheers took on a totally different banter.
“You can do this Mason!”
“We know it is hard, but you can finish!”
“Keep going! Don’t stop!”
Ugh! It makes me tearful even thinking about it. I know he wanted to stop. I know he wanted to give up. It was his slowest swim of the summer…and it was at the All-Star meet in front of the best of the best.
When Mason finished his race, he got out of the pool. He didn’t talk to anyone. He walked over to where we were sitting and quietly fell apart. It was horrible. I wanted to sit right next to him and weep. He still hadn’t caught his breath. He was so mad at himself and his googles…it is always good to have a scapegoat in those situations.
When the sadness stopped and his breathing evened out, Philip and I began to sing his praises. The reason I don’t remember his time for the backstroke is because it didn’t matter to me. What mattered was that my kid pushed through something hard, really hard. He didn’t give up. He didn’t stop. He finished dead last…but he finished.
It would have been just as easy for him to grab onto the wall when his breathing got difficult. He had an excuse. It would have been easy for him to put his foot down to straighten his googles, but he didn’t. Yes, he was sad when he got out of the pool and he was upset, but he came out a champion.
Success isn’t always about winning. Success is often about pushing through the obstacles and the difficult moments in our lives to obtain our goal. The goal that day, to finish well. Although his time was ridiculous, the lesson he learned was that sometimes success, is just determined by your willingness not to give up and to finish.
We’ll get it done next summer.
Living Completely Undone
I am a girl passionately in love with Jesus, my husband, and my children. I am forever learning how to live a life completely undone for my God. This blog is about my journey and a few funny stories in between.