Today, after working last night, I was supposed to be up at 6am to get the kids to their championship swim meet. I came home from work last night packed the swim bags and made Aaron breakfast to go. I then went to bed, only to wake up at 7:27 am because the alarm never sounded. I quickly jumped up and ran around getting everyone up and out in record time. We were on the road at 7:40am except, the warm-ups were at 7:15 am (ooops) and my husband was volunteered to help with the parking. We decided that the quickest was to take I-76 which is usually the worst way to go except at 7:30am on a Saturday morning. We screeched into the pool parking lot at 7:59 am (my new car does 80 mph REALLY nice) we thought for sure that Ryan missed his first event which was the second event of the day. Luckily they were just getting ready to do the team cheer and sing the Star Spangled Banner. (insert a sleep deprived me wiping her brow here)
The kids were off. We didn’t get to warm up and it was really cold out and they were freezing. It’s good to have friends like P and her family who went off to get us sweatshirts from their car. Its hard to be in the burbs as the tattooed mom who doesn’t show up to volunteer, without warm clothes for her family, without breakfast for anyone but Aaron. Luckily, our friends love us.
The first event Ryan was off. The meet is a big one and they line the kids up ten events ahead. There are parent wranglers yelling, kids too close together, and plain and simple it is a sensory nightmare. The second event was backstroke and that line up was worse. Ryan and Aaron wound up in lanes next to each other!! I mean there were eight or so teams competing against each other. What is the chance your brother winds up in the lane next to you. Of course the mayhem made my wildmen even wilder than normal and I made it my job to stand between them to stop the fighting. Both did terribly in their race swimming eight or so seconds slower than their best times. Aaron swam breaststroke and did well but not close to his best time. It was not his day and literally in every race he had a seed time that put him out as the fastest six year old in the league but he swims against boys who are as much as 2.5 years older. Just the fact he gets up there and times toward the top makes me so excited for him.
Finally my husband arrived with food. I fed the boys and talked to Ryan. Told him I understood that the waiting to swim area was chaotic but he needed to become comfortable with it. We talked about what he could do to help himself with the difficult situation. The next event was freestyle, his favorite. I helped him get lined up and this time Aaron was in the same lane as Ryan and swimming the heat before him. Great, more mayhem. Aaron got up and swam his race. He tried his best and he did well and I hugged him as he got out. Ryan was in the heat with the kids who had the fastest times in our league and he was in an outside lane which were the slower times. He got a good start and he pulled ahead. For a while he had first place but at the end I wasn’t sure where he placed. I waited and waited for the time to be posted. As I looked I discovered my Ryan, who had a horrible winter season this year, the boy who spent most of his time on the bottom of the pool his first winter season suffering from the ill effects of his epilepsy medicines, who loved to swim but was never one of the better swimmers had placed second out of a field of forty boys missing first by less than a tenth of a second. I sat there in awe and cried happy tears for him. My boy who regularly gets such dismal news from doctors, therapists, and teachers was one of the best among his peers one of the first times in his life. He got to stand tall as a great swimmer. It was the best moment for Ryan. He got swept up in the excitement and did a ton of smiling and yet remained humble.
We came home from swimming and I ran out to do some weekend errands like buy produce and groceries for my boys who eat so much these days. In the car I kept crying on and off for no reason and all at the same time for a huge reason. Ryan for once got to see himself as Ryan who is an accomplished swimmer instead of Ryan who has insert diagnosis here and is in trouble.
As I pulled into my driveway there was a huge swarm of dragonflies around the place where the boys dig. As we took the groceries out of the car I showed the kids and my husband and we quickly looked up what that meant. I found that a dragonfly swarm was a rare event! I quickly read up some more and decided to become part of the dragonfly swarm project adding to the researchers data. Our dragonflies were flying in a definite figure eight, about five feet off the ground. Completely interesting and about an hour later they were gone as mysteriously as they arrived.
I hope Ryan’s successes pile up and don’t become rare like the dragonfly swarm.
Cause I had to share the video of Ryan’s second place if you care to see!
Aaron swimming to his amazing 13th place finish as a 6yo against a bunch of kids who are mostly two years his senior