My daughter had her first swim meet this past Saturday. I couldn’t have been more proud and my eyes were brimming with tears as she swam the second length of the freestyle back towards me. It was a freestyle relay with four swimmers. The swimmers on her team are younger and all beginners and as Sophie was the last leg she was the only one swimming in the pool. Everyone else was done by a great length. But all the parents for both teams were rooting her on to the end. She never gave up, she never wavered. She heard everyone cheering for her and I saw her give one last burst of energy at the end and her little body shot forward and she touched the end. As she got out she was beaming from ear to ear. She came over and hugged me and said, “Did you see me mama??!!” I did it! And I was so tired, but I tried so hard at the end!” I could not have been prouder. She never even noticed that she was the last one out of the pool. She only heard the cheering and the congratulations.
On the way to the meet we were driving and she was very quiet. I asked if she was ok. She said, “Well, yes, but I have so many butterflies in my tummy.” I told her that buttterflies were a very good thing. Butterflies mean we are trying something new that we don’t know how it will turn out. And a lifetime without butterflies would mean a lifetime of not challenging ourself and always knowing the outcome. Butterflies mean fear and fear means stretching ourselves, having adventures. Maybe we try way too hard to avoid fear because it makes us feel uncomfortable. Maybe if we use fear more as an indicator that we are actually living life we wouldn’t try so hard to feel safe and avoid differnt things. Because life is abut living and trying, not just feeling comfortable. Sophie thought this all sounded pretty good. “I’ll try to like my butterflies mama, even if they are making me want to throw up.”