As I jumped out of the car I heard the announcement, “Can all the freestyle swimmers make their way to the pool.”…….I started to run.
I found a seat, my eyes already scanning the gaggle of kids assembled at the end of the pool.
Our school wears bright yellow swim caps and identifying my daughter in the sea of yellow was a bit tricky. Finally I recognised her bathers, standing just a few kids back in line.
I relaxed now knowing Miss 9s race was at least 4th of 5th on the program.
As the second race began, the proud Mum beside me pointed out it was her daughter now representing our school, (I will refer to her as Jess).
I focussed in on Jess, those yellow caps do make it easy, and began to cheer her on. Go Jess! Go Knox! Go Jess! The race was close and for a brief moment we thought Jess had won, she came a very close and incredible second.
Okay, now where was my little poppet? I checked back to the end of the pool and yes those familiar bathers were still in line.
A couple more races were won and lost, when suddenly I saw a child coming back from the pool, wrapped in a very familiar towel and walking toward me. As the yellow cap turned around I knew those big brown gorgeous eyes.
Here she was, and she was wet!
How could this happen?
How did she get wet?
How did she get over here?
How did I miss her race?
How do I not show her the anxiety I feel right now?
What did she come?
What just happened?
I could not breathe……
Okay, okay pull it together.
Has anyone else realised I just missed my own daughters race?
Still not breathing…..
She looked directly at me and I wasn’t sure if I should be crazy happy or not, because I did not know what she came.
Do I say congratulations?
Yes of course I do, the place doesn’t matter.
What if she came first, shouldn’t I mention that?
Holding breath again……
“Well done sweetie,” the words tumbling out of my mouth as I simultaneously notice the red ribbon for 2nd in her hand.
“Second wow, that is amazing,” I now say as I hug her wet body.
I returned to my seat and that wonderful lady now says, “Oh wow Jess is about to swim. Can you believe she has the same bathers as your daughter and I got them confused before?”
“Me too,” I manage to gasp as I feel myself sink very slowly into the gigantic pit that has opened in my tummy.
Panic, turned to despair and finally drifted toward sadness as the full realisation hit, I had missed her race.
But I hadn’t missed it, I had watched the race, I had cheered her on. I had thought she was another swimmer in our team.
I replayed the race again and again in my mind.
Wondering, as a Mummy brain does, what difference I could have made if only I had known it was my own daughter swimming.
Wondering how much I had let her down.
I had cheered her on as a spectator and not as a Mum. I had not thrust every ounce of emotion I possessed into the moment when she touched second.
Miss 9 raced two more times today and I saw every stroke and every kick as I stood and I cheered, my arms flapping in the air.
As I returned to my car I sat immersed in the realisation that we don’t ever just watch the kids we love perform.
When we show up to see our kids on the field, in the pool and on the stage it is with a dedication and enthusiasm like no other. We embrace their moments with everything we have, we are passionate and devoted to their glory, to their happiness and to their achievements. Nothing is left behind or in the tank. We are wholeheartedly there for them.
It took this moment for me to realise what a great gift I offer my kids just by being their cheerleading Mum.