Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Long-Distant Reassurance


Being a mom far away from the happenings doesn't remove the stress.
6:16 a.m. Earl texts: "Grace is up and getting ready. Seems OK."
I reply to him then message her:
6:18 a.m. "You can do this. It's what you are good at. Your talent. Well -- one of your talents."
That's a take off of a David Sedaris story that always makes us laugh. He and his mother overheard someone talking about their house being on the garden tour, "Well, one of our houses," the woman laughed. And he was amazed at the insouciant manner that she could throw in the extra house. I knew it would make Grace lighten up.
6:59 a.m. Grace replies: "Haha! Thanks mom i love you.
6:59 a.m. I text: "I love u too."
7:47 a.m. Grace texts: "Issue...difficult to get my warmup suit on. What am I going to do with my fast one? Im scared and tired and need you."
That fast swim suit is a bitch to get on. It takes careful tugging and pulling, like trying to stretch delicate faberge eggs over your entire body. It is worse than the smallest pantyhose or girdle. Luckily, they have been made illegal as of Dec. 1, so only a few more months to wear it.
Each time Grace has worn it, I've stood outside the bathroom stall and sometimes inside the stall, helping her tug it into place. Not this time. She's on her own.
7:50 a.m. I reply: "Pull it up high on your calves to start. Borrow plastic bags for your feet."
The plastic bags help the foot slide through the tight opening.
7:54 a.m. "Ugh. Maman im scared and tired. Im so nervous. i wish you were here.
7:55 a.m. I tell Grace: "You can do this. It's just a swim meet."
7:57 a.m. "A big swim meet. I miss you. Need a hug. Can't go upstairs."
7:57 a.m. I reply: "Just do it. GO"
8:01 a.m. Grace texts: "Hmmm! I love you
8:03 a.m. I reassure her: "YOU ARE THE BEST"
8:04 a.m. "Ok"
9:02 a.m. Grace texts: "Got my suit on. Going up to see dad."
9:05 a.m. "Yea!"
What a relief. When she put that suit on at championships, it was so hot in the bathroom I thought we were both going to pass out. She got blisters on her fingers from pulling it up. I knew things would be better once she was dressed.
9:50 a.m. Grace texts: "They're streaming live from swimnetwork.com if you can/want to listen to us..."
9:50 a.m. as I'm walking toward the class I have to teach: "Awesome. What time?"
She tells me 11:50 and asks whether I'll be in class.
9:52 a.m. "Not at 11:50. I will watch."
9:54 a.m. She replies from the pool deck:"Yay!"
So I let class out a little early and zoom home. I call ahead and ask Tucker to find the website. They're running about a half hour behind, so I have time to call my parents and help them figure out where to watch for her.
12:12 p.m. The stress is rising again for Grace: "Are you home?"
12:13 p.m "Yep. Watching. How many events before you?"
She told me there were two more events so I sat in front of the computer screen. Spencer pulled up a chair and I stayed on the phone with my parents. My mother was getting ready to run to the hair salon. She brushed her teeth, hurrying back to the computer just before Grace's relay.
I saw the backstroker jump in the water with her little flourish, pulling her knees up high. And they were off, at the top of the screen. They were first or second the whole way in backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly, and then Grace dived in the pool. I watched her long arms, a blur on the computer screen, spin in the water. I couldn't see her face or tell if she turned her head to breath. And from the angle of the camera I couldn't see if she finished first or second, but she had done it. She had swum at the national meet.
12:49 p.m. I texted: "Great job. I watched u the whole way. Nena and Gran watched too."
1:17 p.m. "Aw really! Thank you i love you guys. It felt awesome. And of course now that its too late, i swam the cut for the 50."
1:18 p.m. I replied: "Nice. This fall"
1:25 p.m. "Oh yeah"
She called later and told me that their time was fast enough to qualify for winter nationals next year in Ft. Lauderdale and summer nationals next year. This time, I'm definitely going. Handling the mom thing is so much easier in person than by text message.

4 comments:

Sheila said...

holy crap that swim suite sounds viscous! Great job Grace, you're awesome! I think you handles everything great but you should definitely be there in the future.

Linda said...

Go Grace! How cool. Thank God for technology.

Anonymous said...

Big Congrats and thanks for letting me tune in !

Stephanie said...

So exciting! I felt as though I were there!

I had the privilege a year ago to sit at a computer screen with another friend, who also couldn't be at Nationals, to watch her son swim. It was so exciting and moving. We were both in tears at the finish.

Proud of you Grace!

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