Caiden had his first swim practice tuesday night. He has joined a competitive swim team (something he's never done), and it is quite the commitment. Not only will he be practicing 2-4 times a week, he will also be traveling for some meets and the whole experience is going to be quite expensive. So yesterday, before we got in the car to head to practice, I began doubting whether or not this is something that I am willing to commit to.
After I saw Caiden in the water yesterday, however, I decided that my doubts were just plain retarded. I have never, ever, ever been more proud of that little boy. NEVER, EVER. He completely blew me out of the water (no pun intended). I think that this might just be a life changing experience for him, and for our relationship. Or at least, that's what I'm hoping for!
We got to the pool a little late because I had to drop Levi off at the daycare (which is a-whole-nother experience in itself). Caiden put his goggles on, and hopped right into the water. His first lap was amazingly fast and his stroke was beautiful, and his coach was very impressed. But that first lap was the only one that looked like that. The other kids on the team have been swimming for quite a while, so I knew that it was going to be a little tough on him. A little is not even close to the correct term! That coach worked those kids so hard...and Caiden had a miserable time keeping up. While the other kids were zooming through the water like little olympic powerhouses, Caiden was barely managing to keep his head above water. The kid can swim, don't get me wrong, but after about 5 million laps he was completely spent. I watched with pity as he did his best to keep up, looking like a drowning mouse in the process. Towards the middle of practice, he was barely able to move his arms and my heart was breaking for the poor scrawny kid who was desperately hanging onto the ropes to stay afloat. I could tell he was giving it his all, he was just exhausted. My hopes were temporarily dashed. I thought, he is NEVER going to want to come back. I felt embarrassed for him, as I knew he was thinking that he could never measure up to the other kids. But he kept on trying and never gave up once. I quietly went to ask his coach if almost drowning during the first practice was normal, and she laughed and said yes.
As Caiden climbed out of the pool looking like he had just survived the apocalypse, I found myself thinking, this kid deserves MAJOR props. Not only did he never, not once, give up or whine, there was not a single boy on his team. I was a little disappointed, because I just knew that that would be the last time he got in the water as a sport. Boy was I wrong!! We got out to the car, and he was beaming. His smile was literally from ear to ear, and he talked my ears off nonstop all night about how much he loved it and how he couldn't wait to go back for another practice. I was SHOCKED. I thought, he can't be serious? He almost died out there! He was pathetic! Of course, I didn't tell him that and when he asked, "Momma, are you proud of me?", the tears started flowing and I told him I had never been more proud of him in his little life. I told him that I had never seen such determination in the face of inevitable failure. It was truly inspiring to me to watch him that pool, and then to hear him say that he wanted to do it again was just icing on the cake.
So yesterday was his second practice, and I didn't torture myself by staying to watch. When I went to pick him up, his coach said that he did 10 times better and she believes that he has the potential to be great. She said his kick in strong, and he knows the strokes, he just has to build up the physical endurance to swimming for long periods of time. She said that she's excited for the next couple of weeks, because she thinks he'll do great. I'm so excited!! Caiden and I had a long talk about the commitment, the financial aspect of it, and of how it can help him. I told him that it will teach him self discipline, help him burn off some energy, get him in shape, and show him how hard work and not giving up really does pay off. He came home and immediately got on youtube to look up Michael Phelps and videos on how to improve your techniques and times. He talked about it all evening, and it's the first thing he talked about when he got up this morning. He even said that he wanted to skip baseball practice tonight and go to swim practice instead (which he can't, because he's already made a commitment to baseball which I plan on making him stick to). He also told me last night that I was very smart because I gave him some pointers. (Hah! I'm smart...who'da thunk it??)
So...the reason I think this will be his turning point is because of everything I listed above. Self discipline, hard work, commitment and not giving up are values that Caiden struggles with, and I am hoping that this will help me instill them in him. I think our relationship will improve, because that lack of values is what causes all our arguments and all his punishments. Also, since he has decided that I'm smart now, I think we might have something in common to talk about!! ;)
Hopefully he will have his bathing suit and swim cap soon so I can post a picture of my little future olympian!