Nothing in all the parenting books prepared me for this… for seeing him this grown. For this glimpse of the man he will become.
Nothing prepared me for what it would feel like to watch him make real friends… friends that weren’t just friends because of convenience, but friends who would laugh with him, encourage him, and push him to be the best version of himself. Friends who would share his success and feel his disappointment with him. Who stand beside him at the blocks and walk with him through the fire.
And nothing prepared me for how much I’d love all of these kids who have become like family. No one told me how much I’d love the parents who made these kids the kind of amazing kids I’m proud my son calls friends. These parents who understand my kid and love him like their own. Who know the life of a swim parent. Who drive him all over creation and then sit beside me with white knuckles gripping our seats because they want success for him as much as I do.
And finally, nothing prepared me for this sport that has such high highs and such painful lows…this sport that is so exhilarating yet so very unpredictable with fractions of seconds meaning the difference between heartache and elation. Nothing prepared me for the times he’d miss the cut and I’d have to help him pick up the pieces. Just like nothing prepared me for the overwhelming pride I would feel watching him work hard for something… or the joy I’d feel when he achieved his goals. Nothing prepared me for this sport that requires so much from his teenage body and mind. This sport he loves enough to invest hours and hours of his life week after week… enough to pour in his heart and soul day after day. And no one told me that without even realizing it, I’d pour in my heart and soul too.