We ended the swim season today. It was the first time we’d joined a swim team… and I want them to continue. But wow. It was hard to stick with it. There are a handful of reasons:
1) Jordan hates being cold. When she’s cold, she’s cranky. When she’s cranky, she doesn’t want to listen. When she doesn’t listen, she ignores the people in charge. When she ignores people in charge, it makes me really unhappy. I really don’t like it when my kids don’t listen.
2) Both kids aren’t strong swimmers yet. I’m personally okay with that… I love seeing them push themselves. I’m proud that they keep getting better. But it’s hard work for Mom. I know it’s hard work for the kids as well.
3) Everything is a test. Jordan is pushing every limit. Every bit of patience. Every bit of structure and control. She wants to be in control at all times. But she’s six. She doesn’t have a job. She doesn’t pay the bills. But wow, she wants to be in charge. Sometimes it’s a whiny power struggle. Sometimes it’s loud. Sometimes it’s obstinate. It gives me a headache from time to time.
4) Tonight’s swim meet… When Jordan walked away from her one assigned race. She stood there before they blew the whistle and cried. She cried and a coach escorted her away from the race.
Quit isn’t something we do. Once you sign up for an activity, you don’t quit.
Actually. If you quit, you have to pay Mom and Dad back for the activity. In Jordan’s case, she doesn’t have an allowance yet. So paying us back requires special house or yard work. Neither child has chosen the pay Mom and Dad route. She and her brother both had to pay us money earlier this summer when both of them decided to sit out of a swim team practice on a day when their parents weren’t attending swim practice. Jordan paid $2 and Cameron paid $4.
Tonight, I was standing across the pool waiting for Jordan’s race to start. That’s when she started crying. It made me so. Very. Sad.
Jordan is going through a very normal phase of the six-year-old world. She’s testing every angle of her world. She’s seeing where she can get an upper hand. She’s constantly trying to make sure everything is “fair.” Unfortunately, not everything is fair. And some day she’ll understand that.
Tonight, when she quit the race. I wasn’t okay with it. She cried and begged for forgiveness and all I could do was ask her to sit on her towel while I watch her brother race. I wasn’t going to tell her it was okay to quit because for me, it isn’t okay. I realize this is an issue where some parents will disagree. But I told both kids this swim season that I didn’t expect them to win, just finish. And Jordan did not finish her one assigned race. She didn’t finish. I wasn’t going to tell her everything is okay and fair.
She cried. A lot. Enough that I went to an assistant coach and asked if they would consider letting Jordan have one more chance to race.
And they did.
They let her slip into a back stroke race but let her swim freestyle.
And she finished.
Every coach cheered for her. The crowd was so supportive. It was similar to the support she got during a race right before we left for vacation. Jordan didn’t quit. She stopped a couple of times to catch her breath. But she didn’t quit. I hope she remembers that. Because we don’t quit. We do whatever it takes to finish. Even if you’re going to test your parents’ patience along the way.