|Playing around the morning after a meet when the migits received their awards and played with their swim team friends.|
Chaz is naturally a gross motor kid, who excels in swimming, bike riding, and gymnastics. I taught him to ride a two wheeler when he was five and half. The Emory Autism Institute was impressed. I was not. I knew he could have done it sooner, had I only given him a chance and taken those wheels off sooner. He can do a cartwheel, and has never had instruction on how to do it. He does handstands for short periods of time, dives, flips off the diving board, and does just about anything with his body if you first show him the move. He is pretty flexible, and enjoys the attention he gets for his abilities. When I decided to sign him up for swim team, it was mostly because I knew he already had a very natural feel for the water, as he has since he began swimming at 9 months old. I just needed to harness that and get someone to teach him the strokes. Lucky for us, he had Miss Brenda, an amazing coach, and person.
Shay was so excited for Charlie, that she too wanted to join the team. I was hesitant, as she is not nearly as naturally gifted in the water, however, she is generally willing to work hard to get better. That seemed to be enough for me to allow her to register. Plus, I thought the meets would be hard on her in the heat, and if she could hang out on the team with other children her age, she might enjoy herself. Well, by the third practice, she was ready to quit. I told her that she could quit- at the end of the season, and not sign up again next year if that is what she chose. However, she committed to it, and had to see it through. She is so grateful for that talk. She talks about it to this day, mere months later. She has decided she definitely wants to be on the team again next year. I think she will make a great swimmer one day. I am so proud of her growth and persistence. She is the one who asks if I will take her inside to the indoor pool to do laps. I think this coming winter at the in door pool will do wonders for her skills. Miss Brenda not only was patient, but she allowed Shay to enjoy herself, and that was a concern for me. There were plenty of days that I watched and wondered if she might make it across the length of the pool. Then, I saw Miss Brenda, and knew that she would never allow these kids to be in danger, and took that responsibility seriously enough to not get to be the sweet, gentle pacifier, but turned into a coach that made swimmers out of a whole group of kids on the edge of making it or not.
While Geoff and I enjoyed the meets, and I enjoyed practices, it was a huge commitment. It was a commitment to our family that I would do again and again to see that smile after learning a new stroke, or a fellow team mate cheering on each other at the end of a lane, or a high five after a good practice. Honestly, the YMCA feeds our family in so many ways. At the party tonight, I think four times I accidentally stepped on a child's foot, and each time, the child would turn, look me in the eye, and either apologize for being there, or say "Excuse me." I love that these kids are being raised among a group of people that serves their emotional growth as well as their sports needs. The four main pillars of the YMCA are caring, honesty, respect and responsibility. We see that taught through our coaches, the YMCA staff, and each other.
|One of our many meets hanging out with our friends in the "bullpen."|
|"Is this thing on right?"|