Saturday, October 01, 2011

overcoming our fears

Huntleigh participated on the swim team this summer and surprised us all. Josh and I decided to sign her up for swim team because we know her incredible potential as an athlete, plus we think it's part of being a well-rounded person. Last summer, after initially overcoming her fear of having her head underwater, she taught herself to swim and she practically became a fish, so this summer we knew it was time for her to be more challenged in the sport. She did fine at practices until they had "time trials" and then she freaked out. There was no getting her to do time trials because, as my extrovert child told me, "I don't want all those people looking at me, mom." This presented a tiny little hurdle to jump over, seeing as time trials were just an informal introduction to what a swim meet was actually going to be like. So for days, she would go to practice, but would skip out on time trials at the end, which drove Josh and me crazy, but we pretended like it was no big deal.

Side note: since Josh and I are both firstborns, we really struggle to not have these high expectations of our firstborn. We sincerely just don't want her to turn out like us, in the sense that it took us both a long time in our lives to bloom and to overcome our fears of so many things. We want freedom from fear for Hunts while seeing her potential but yet not forcing her into commitments beyond her emotional capabilities.
It's a tricky balance, but we pray for wisdom to know how to manage our expectations and her (sometimes unwarranted) fears.

So, we didn't attend the first meet, because we didn't want to overwhelm her. Nor the second one, which was at a different club. Somehow, Hunts was finally ready by the time we had our third meet. She did one race and I had my camera ready and everything, but realized my battery was not in my camera, so there are no pictures of this major accomplishment. Oh well. I'll remember how I was crying because I was so proud of her for overcoming her fear, and how she was crying at the end because water filled up in her goggles the whole time, but how she won 4th place out of 6 swimmers and got her first ribbon at the end. After she got over the fact that she had water in her goggles the whole time, she couldn't stop thinking/talking about swimming in the next which she had swimmer's ear. Of course. So she couldn't swim in that meet and then the next meet was cancelled and her final meet we were all ready for....until we waited for 30 minutes for an imminent torrential downpour to begin (at which time it finally did) and our final meet was cancelled as we stood looking at an empty pool.

All this to say, Huntleigh swam in one meet this summer before our conference meet, which was so much bigger than I could have prepared her for. She was excited as we got there, but upon seeing a couple hundred people was again overwhelmed and so we had to patiently wait out her fear. This is where the team was really good for her. Her coaches encouraged her without pressure and her sweet 6th grade friends on the team encouraged her and finally, finally she participated in a backstroke heat, in which she won first place in her category. And then she went on to do a breaststroke relay in the 6-year olds category. This was complete victory to me and Josh. I love having that kind of pride and emotion for my child.
little barracuda

back stroke

At the end of the summer, just after school had begun, we attended a sports banquet for the summer sports participants. Huntleigh got her trophy for participating on the 2011 swim team and a plaque for participating in the conference meet but her third trophy is what took us by surprise. She won the best girl newcomer of the year award for "always making people smile and having a positive attitude at practice and with her team." I could not have been more proud. Talk about tears. I'm crying again even as I type this. That is success to me. I don't care if she never gets a blue ribbon again. Huntleigh is so proud of her trophies. She slept with them in her bed that night and they are now proudly displayed upon the shelves in her bedroom.

Josh and I always talk about how exercising courage does not mean we go and do something without fear. It really means that in spite of our fear we choose to do something anyway, which is especially difficult. But God often blesses the result. Here's to overcoming our fears. Great job, Huntleigh. We love you!
first trophy

one proud momma

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