Thursday, April 16, 2015

her final goldfish swim, otherwise known as tough parental decisions

today at our swim school, a difficult decision was made real.  a decision that we don't want to make as parents, when you and your child disagree on something, and you have to decide what the right path is.  whether or not you're right, or your child is right.  whether ending something is actually the right thing to do, whether it means it's truly the end or the beginning of something else.  today, harper ended swim lessons.

she officially ended lessons with maggie back in september, and moved up to rec team.  she was excited, but also tired and done.  she rarely complained, but there were a few tears here and there.  there were some nerves.  there were also smiles and laughs.  after 6 months of thursday night 7:30 pm hour-long practices, when we wouldn't get home until close to 9 pm and she'd fall into bed, already exhausted from a busy week at school, we moved her back to private lessons with maggie.  we thought it might help re-strengthen her strokes and get her endurance up and her focus back.

after almost 2 months of individual lessons though, maggie told us she's got the strokes, she has the skills, she needs the endurance of rec team.  but harper wasn't having it.  she just asked for a break.  she wanted to stop swimming.  she wants to just play in the water and be a kid.  as parents, we talked.  we rationalized.  we weighed pros and cons.  we gathered opinions.  but honestly, how can you argue with your child when she just doesn't have the heart anymore?

deep down, i want her to keep swimming.  she's really, really good.  i can see her eventually swimming for a local team or her school.  but what my heart hears is harper telling me she wants to stop.  and as a parent, these are tough decisions.  but ultimately, it's not my life that she's living.  it's hers.  and if we push her too much now, we could run the risk of her hating the sport later on and harboring ill feelings towards something we forced her to do.  and i would hate that even more.

maggie thinks she'll be back, that she'll miss it and want to swim again.  i hope so, but if it never happens, then at least we've accomplished well more than we set out to do.  she's safe in the water.  she's a strong swimmer, her best strokes are back and breast.  she has a wonderful swimming role model to help guide her should she come back to it.  and she's happy.  she's happy to have learned to swim and she's happy to be taking a break. 

and ultimately, that's the only thing we truly wish for as parents, that our children are happy.  that the choices they make and the ones we make for them lead to a lifetime of happiness.  and just for today at least, we accomplished that for harper.

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