Here at the very end of summer, with so few posts from me in the last couple of months, I thought I would visit a few of the highlights of this summer.
The most prominent aspect of this summer (after Fiona's broken leg, I suppose) was swimming. We have always done swimming lessons for the whole summer, five days a week. But this summer, specifically, was Elisabeth's first swim (team) season.
At the beginning of the summer, she was one of the weaker swimmers on our (fairly large) team. She couldn't dive off the blocks, and had a fair share of "DQ's" (short for disqualifications). But as the summer progressed, she improved extremely rapidly. Her times kept jumping down by several seconds at each meet. She started to practice in the "harder" group. By the second week of July, she had qualified for the League championship, where she placed in the top ten in backstroke, and ultimately ended up making the State championship, as well. She was named our team's most improved girl, a title she really deserved.
For me, it was hard not to swell with pride at her accomplishments over the summer. Now, with our swim season behind us, I can look at it from another perspective. I'm proud of her, but not just for being fast, and qualifying for championships. I'm proud of her for working hard, and not complaining when it was tough. I'm proud of her for trying her best, even in the midst of being new -- to the team, to the sport, and to competition -- and not knowing what to do, and the disappointments of disqualifications. I'm proud of her for working with, and being respectful to, a number of different coaches with very different styles. For being a true teammate and friend. For rising to the occasion, working hard, learning, growing, and showing much character.
Swimming is fun. It's exciting, fast, and thrilling when your body hits the water at the start of a race.
But in the end, I shouldn't be surprised that the swimming itself was only a part of the whole; only a means to an end in what became a priceless experience.
(photos here from our state swim meet a few weeks ago)