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Friday, June 12, 2015

Life of a Swim Parent

It's swim season, and it's crazy around here.  We have meets every weekend, and some like this past one are three straight days in a row.  Monday-Friday consists of driving your kid(s) everyday to practice.  2 1/2 hours everyday between both girls.

We do love swim meets, we really do.  But......  they also do really suck.  They are long and hot and boring.  For those that have never done swim team, this is a taste of how a typical summer swim meet goes.

Night before: check the website to see what Brian and I are supposed to be volunteering for.  We have to volunteer a certain number of shifts during the season or they cash a hefty volunteer deposit check.   Volunteer positions range anywhere from selling concessions, to ribbon writing, to timing.  The good and easy positions go fast on sign-ups, so sometimes you're stuck with something awful like working the ready bench (aka corralling wet, rowdy unattentive swimmers in an orderly fashion so they are swimming in the right race,in the right lane at the right time.  aka NOT FUN.)

Morning: Wake up at the butt crack of dawn, 5:30 to be exact.  ON a SATURDAY!  That should be illegal.  Don't people remember the Sabbath!  I think it says somewhere in old scriptures "Thou shall sleep until noon on Saturday."

We then hurry up to get as much crap together as possible: goggles, swim caps, towels, water bottles, Gatorades, sunscreen, toys to keep kids entertained, food, camp chairs, wagon to carry all the camp chairs, a twelve foot canopy, sunglasses, kids, more food.  It's practically like we're camping, minus the wonderful night campfires, the open wilderness to let your kids run around like the loons they are, and of course, the s'mores.

It's guaranteed that we are going to forget something.  Usually it's cash for concessions.  We'll address that issue later.

So why don't you pack the night before, you might ask.  Uh huh, doesn't work.

So here we are trying to get out the door and the get car loaded like a game of Tetris, and it's 6:55.  Check in is at 7:00.  Do we make it?  Nope.  We are running behind, stuffing whatever "breakfast" item we can shove into our mouths.  Cold pizza or a spoonful of peanut butter anyone?

Check-in: this is mighty dandy.  We're dragging chairs and wagons, coolers, and toys across a morning dewy grass.  Dewy makes it sound pleasant.  What it really is, is wet, sticky, blades of grass that bog you down while you're trying to drag 100 pounds behind you.  Simultaneously, we're yelling at our girls to hurry up and check in with their coaches.  The weather is nice and cool, but we can't be fooled.  In T minus 90 minutes the blazing sun is in the cloudless sky, beating down on us with no remorse.  We have a 12 foot canopy and chairs that we spend twenty minutes setting up; but it stands lonely as we stand for hours under no shade, doing something like timing.  We become rather jealous and bitter with the swimmers because they get to swim and we don't.  You start to do crazy stuff like try to stand really close to the stranger timing next to you, just to stand in their shadow.  And then get really excited when a swimmer splashes a little too much just so your ankles can feel a little relief.

Meet time: A typical swim meet lasts 5-6 hours.  Sometimes less, but usually longer.  The girls only have 8 events total.  That means in the 6 hours of the meet, and 150+ races, the girls actually only swim for a total of about 5 minutes.  The other times they are usually resting.  This means playing games, eating, playing games, eating, playing on electronics, or at the ready bench waiting to swim.  Jack swims 0 minutes.  That means he has to be entertained for 6 hours.  He does a lot of eating.  He also whines to play with my phone, wants me to carry him, and just outright acts like a three year old.  How dare him. There's usually a playground near by, but that's off limits.  There's a pool to swim in, but that to if off limits.  I do have to say, it probably really sucks for a three year old.  There are usually snow cones at the concessions, but Mom and Dad forgot to pull cash out the ATM.

After the swim meet, usually about 2 pm you are hot and sweaty and tired.  Guess what, you have to take all that s*&* down and haul it back to your 120 degree car and play Tetris all over again.  Except this time we don't care much if we lose the game.  Some kid will just have to have a chair poking them in the head on the way home.  We consider it paybacks for something they did to annoy you at the meet.  Loading the car is usually accompanied by a VERY tired three year old, crying in harmony with a VERY tired six year old.  No worries though, the three year old is usually asleep by the time you pull out of the driveway.  This small act shows me that God really does have mercy.

Your body doens't know quite what to do with itself on the way home.  You've got your face plastered up the AC vent trying to get relief from the smothering heat.  Your body says tired, but your brain says let's party.  After all, you had a cup of coffee, a Diet Coke,   and two Monsters to keep you going.  Because of all the caffeine, you had to use those awful, hot, chlorine smelling, wet bathrooms, that always seem to be out of handsoap or paper towels.

Back home: unload all the stuff and carry forty pounds of dead weight to bed.  You have a huge mental battle with yourself....either clean out all the bags now even though you want a nap, or don't.  The consequence is dealing with a bunch of mildew towels later.  Nap usually wins.

So, do we love swim meets?  YES
Do we hate swim meets?  YES