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On Being A Beginner

On her very first day of swim team Anna jumped right in and swam four laps, barely stopping. 

I'm not sure when the last time you swam four laps without a lot of rest, but it's truly not easy, especially if you don't have your side-breathing down quite yet. 

"Swim Team is hard." she whispered to me as she sat on my lap after getting out of the pool shivering. 

We all start as beginners. Every single one of us. And often it's hard and scary and uncertain. We all have to start somewhere - whether that's in the pool, on the page, in a classroom, introducing yourself to a new friend, etc. 

But man it can be so fun and so rewarding and so life-affirming when we let ourselves be in that spot. Unsure, nervous, uncomfortable - and we do it anyway.  

I loved that she jumped right in and I love that she got out when she needed some support.

And so we sat. I hugged her tight all wrapped up in her towel while we watched the other kids swim down and back and down and back. I had no problem just watching and letting her acclimate and asking her if she'd like to try again tomorrow and watching her nod and knowing that she would try it again tomorrow because she's that kind of kid. 

Report from Day Two

Last night as I was tucking her in Anna told me, "Tomorrow I'm going to get in the pool and stay in for the whole practice." 

She did exactly that and loved it. 

And the weather cooperated with beautiful sunny skies. 

I won't lie - I kinda hope I have shots like this for many years to come. 

And I hope she keeps wanting to be a beginniner. 

I hope that for myself. And for you. 

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26 thoughts

  1. Laura_Steingiser says…
    07/21/2015

    You are a very thoughtful mom, just what children need. Anna will love swim team because you and the coaches allowed her to go at her own pace. Congrats to Anna for being brave, trying and being willing to continue. I have a soft spot for these photos as all three of my kids were swimmers, two becoming lifeguards and instructors themselves. Love it.

    Reply 0 Replies
  2. lkfisher says…
    07/21/2015

    Looove your message today. And yay for Anna and for you for just letting things happen at their own pace. So smart.

    Reply 0 Replies
  3. hgauvin says…
    07/21/2015

    I hope that for myself....and for you as well. What a great story! Thank you.

    Reply 0 Replies
  4. Afink26 says…
    07/21/2015

    Such a great way to tell a story! Thank you for sharing this excellent reminder! GO ANNA GO.

    Reply 0 Replies
  5. ScrappinMyHeartOut says…
    07/21/2015

    Anna's gusto and your words, and the beauty of it all went straight to my heart. Tears of joy brimming over. Thank you

    Reply 0 Replies
  6. mtercha says…
    07/21/2015

    I wish that for you. Thank you for sharing your inspiring story. Man, those words.

    Reply 0 Replies
  7. simplyautumn says…
    07/21/2015

    Love these words, Ali.

    Reply 0 Replies
  8. carriecolbert says…
    07/21/2015

    Life lessons in the every day stuff. Love it.

    Reply 0 Replies
  9. Jennymeyerson says…
    07/21/2015

    I won't lie- I hope she continues, too. For both of you. Such a gift to share with them, especially in the middle school and high school years.
    Loved this, Ali.

    Reply 0 Replies
  10. PamV says…
    07/21/2015

    Ali, I admire your STYLE...your mommy style (every child deserves/needs a mom like you), your strong woman style, and your creative style...you inspire me!

    Reply 0 Replies
  11. papergoddess says…
    07/21/2015

    Awesome story. Great shots.
    I remember swim team being so hard I would actually cry sometimes while swimming! But it was so fun and it definitely keeps you in shape. My nephew is a fish and I would love to see him get into competitive swimming too.

    Reply 0 Replies
  12. libbimoore says…
    07/21/2015

    this is so amazing! go anna! go! i have a 10 year old who has high functioning autism and she hates the water. (even washing her face and hair is a struggle. she has to put a wash cloth over her face to protect it) i've tried swim lessons, i've tried private swim lessons, i've tried motivational reward tactics but nothing has worked. she'll get in the water but refuses to get her face wet. i was so stressed back then but today, i've learned to just let it go and to let her do her own thing that she feels comfortable with.

    Reply 0 Replies
  13. ximena says…
    07/21/2015

    Totally reminded me of the FIRSTS Story Kit! It's true, we're always doing something for the first time.
    Great photos!

    Reply 0 Replies
  14. patowle says…
    07/21/2015

    Precious experience for you both. We had an experience in the last week with our 4 year old daughter, who would not jump off the diving board with the rest of her class. I knew she could do it, but didn't want to traumatize her by forcing her before she was ready. Every day before her class, we would watch the other kids jump and talk about how fun it looked, and how the teacher caught the kids every time. I encouraged her but never forced her. Last night, without hesitation or a single tear, she decided she was ready and did it twice! (One of the teachers basically dropped her off the board, but that's of little consequence to me.) Thank you for sharing your story.

    Reply 0 Replies
  15. nightmer says…
    07/21/2015

    All of our kids swam competitively and yes they were all beginners at one time. When they got the first ribbon in their hands they were hooked! Go Anna!

    Reply 0 Replies
  16. jennie says…
    07/21/2015

    Yay! Anna. I'm so impressed that you went back to swim team and tried again. You are dynamite.

    Reply 0 Replies
  17. JenHart says…
    07/21/2015

    Beautiful words and sentiment Ali, thanks.

    Reply 0 Replies
  18. Roxanne24 says…
    07/21/2015

    Goodness!!! She is getting tall!

    Beginning / starting over IS hard. In everything in life it's a challenge at times. Are you OK, Ali?

    Reply 2 Replies
    1. AliEdwards says…
      07/21/2015

      I'm awesome!

    2. Roxanne24 says…
      07/22/2015

      Yes!!! YES you are!!! Much love friend!

  19. Northrigg says…
    07/21/2015

    Thanks ali. Lovely story

    Reply 0 Replies
  20. NatashaP says…
    07/21/2015

    #goannago Great to hear about a motivational Mum who isn't screaming at her kids to try harder in sports. Lovely story Ali - very inspiring.

    Reply 0 Replies
  21. Tjones45 says…
    07/21/2015

    Ali, so love this! She's amazing and I so enjoy how you capture your thoughts, her feelings with an awareness that is so real. Thank you for sharing!

    Reply 0 Replies
  22. Mrs_Cheshire says…
    07/22/2015

    Love Anna's attitude and your ability to inspire :)

    Reply 0 Replies
  23. brooke1 says…
    07/22/2015

    Your words are magic! I was sitting reading my phone yesterday and my 4 year old wanted to see what I was reading. I read your post to him, my 7 year old was listening from another room (beginning is a real struggle for him). They both had many questions - is that a real person?, etc. Thanks for teaching them too and reminding me that we all take time.

    Reply 0 Replies
  24. ChrisyC says…
    07/26/2015

    She's growing into an amazing kid. Might take after her mother ;)
    Lovely post Ali. xx

    Reply 0 Replies

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