Joined at the Heart · Writers Write


We’re growing at our house. Swim competition is officially over for the season. Because we only swim in summer league, the girls have a small window to learn new skills. It isn’t a bad thing. I’m a firm believer in compressed concentration. Having a short time means acting without hesitation–grab or let go. Both of my children are grabbers.

Since May 10, Coco learned to swim butterfly and breaststroke. She isn’t really big enough to swim the fly, but the sure way to get Coco interested is to tell her she isn’t big enough. She also learned to push herself despite physical discomfort. Always a koala baby, she would beg, “Carry me mom.” Coco hated strollers and never wanted to walk. At yesterday’s League Championships, she fought through terrible asthma, but got in the water anyway, swimming in five races. She didn’t allow the lack of breath to interfere with the drive to compete.

Cherry learned to swim the 100 meter I.M.–short for Individual Medley–25 meters of every stroke without stopping. It is the longest race a 9 year old can swim in our league. The first two strokes, fly and back, are her weakest. But when she turned at the wall for breaststroke, I saw her effortless glide. The last lap was freestyle. With her body high in the water, Cherry’s long smooth stroke helped her to pull ahead. She didn’t win first, but the last lap brought her up to second place. Finishing felt wonderful. After she climbed out of the pool, she hugged her opponent. Both girls beamed.

I’m learning to be a writer. It isn’t pleasant to plant my butt in a chair for 3 hours at a time and muddle through the day’s pages, but I’ve finally learned that doing it, despite mood, whim, or interruption, is the real reward. Page by page, the book is written. Stroke by stroke the race is won.

I’ve learned from my kids.

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