It’s been an adjustment, parenting an athlete. The Kid is a competitive swimmer, and she’s transitioning into being a really serious competitive swimmer. If things work out according to plan, she’ll be practicing 4-6 times per week this winter, and competing once or twice per month. 

I’ve been learning how to support my child in this environment. There’s a lot to learn–strokes, times, distances, events, different kinds of meets–but then there are judgment calls. What kind of team should she be on? Do we pay for private lessons? How many practices should she attend, when she doesn’t have to attend all of them? Do we make her participate in other activities, or is it OK for her to dedicate all her attention to this one? What do we do when she doesn’t feel like going to practice?

I keep saying that it’s hard to figure out because we don’t come from a family of athletes. And then it hit me: 

My Kid is a jock!

Of course, in this day and age, we just call them “sport nerds,” but it’s true. She’s strong. She loves her sport. She’d rather practice than stay at home. She wins ribbons and medals and trophies. She likes gym class, except during dance. She climbs up poles for no reason and she loves to teach people new games. She’s a jock. 

I’m not saying this means anything beyond the fact that she’s an athlete. She’s not mean. She loves books and school. She has good friends and she’s kind and helpful to most kids most of the time. And she loves Star Trek and Buffy and going to the Renaissance Faire. i’m not trying to reduce my Kid to a stereotype. I guess I’m just trying to deal with this epiphany. 

I’m also trying to be a good mom. Because there is a lot to learn about being a swim parent. I now know a lot about bathing suit sizing and goggles and how to put on a swim cap. I know the difference between a flip turn and a touch turn, and which events use which. I know my daughter’s best times in different strokes and I know a LOT about the local swim teams. 

It’s just…all very different from what my mom needed to know to parent me. And that’s okay. I wasn’t expecting the Kid to be my carbon copy. It’s even cool, because I would never have learned all this stuff if my Kid wasn’t into it, and I’m having a great time learning it all. It’s even more fun when she comes home with ribbons and medals, and we get to watch her do her best and win. 

But…you know, a jock: who would’ve thought?