We signed Murphy up for year round swimming this fall. He had a brief stint with gymnastics once a few years ago. And, of course, he's been on the summer swim team with our pool for the past few years. But, I think other than that, this is our first real commitment to an extra curricular activity. And I have to tell you, it's not easy.
When it comes to being the parent of a child with special needs, I got it. It's been eight years now, and I feel like I have a good handle on it. But, this carting around kids after school and getting to practice on time, like every time, weeks and months on end? And volunteering (aka making commitments in which other people are relying on me)? I'm not so sure about all that. Walking into NOVA for practice, I feel like a fish out of water.
Plus, that's not my community. Those aren't my people. They don't know me, us, or Harlie or what we have on our plates. I feel like I'm exposing myself. And it's really scary. But we are going to try this for a year, and see how it goes. I know we'll meet more people and Murphy will make some friends. It's just going to take a little time. Luckily, I do know a few people so that's good.
So, every Tuesday and Thursday, I put Harlie in the car and drive to school to pick up the boys from the car pool line. Murphy is in the 5th grade, and this is the first time I have ever used the car pool. We are walkers. Rain or shine. Every day. Well, except Tuesday and Thursday afternoons now. Dismissal for car riders is at 2:10 and practice starts at 2:30. It takes about 15 minutes to get there. So, by the time he actually gets in the car and changes into his swim suit, he's a few minutes late. But, they said they are fine with that for the 2:30 class, since they know it's a tight fit. I tried the 3:30 class the first week, and it is very crowded. Considering this is his first year, I thought he would get more attention and time in the water with a smaller class.
He is the tallest kid in his class (granted, it's a small class). But, after just a few days, Murphy came home and said that everyone was asking him why he's not with his age group. He is in a novice intro group vs. an age group. I feel so bad that it took us so long to be able to introduce him to something. But, it really was the best we could do. I know I could not have handled this kind of schedule last year or any year prior to that! So, I explained that to him and told him that it's up to him as to how fast he can move up to his age group. He has to earn it. Hopefully it will be a good experience for him.
Anyway, he had his first swim meet October 11th and 12th. He had two events on Saturday (50 Free and 50 Breast) and one event on Sunday (50 Back).
On Saturday, I had to run twenty miles for my marathon training. His session was in the afternoon, so Tom let me rest at home while he took him to warm ups. Warm ups were at 1:30 and he was scheduled to swim a few hours later. So, I just showed up in time for the events. He did great, I think. He wasn't scared, and he didn't DQ, so I considered that a success. And he already looks so much better in the water than he did this summer.
On Sunday, Harlie's nurse had to leave before Murphy's swim meet would've been over. So, Tom stayed home and I took Murphy to the meet. Warm ups were at 1:30 and he was scheduled to swim around 4:20. I took two chairs for us and he brought a book. We found a spot and I put my feet up in Murphy's chair to relax while we waited. It's pretty warm/hot in the building and I was sitting down, relaxing. And I fell asleep! In public! And I'm not even a napper! Please remember that I ran twenty miles the day before! I was SO tired. And we had all those appointments that week for Harlie's tooth. Plus, the We Haunt Harlie event. It had been such a busy week.
Anyway, the next thing I know Murphy says, "Oh, 134? That's my event!" Oh no. Murphy was in the first heat! There was no way he was going to make it if they were announcing the event already! I told him to run (through a crowded building) but he did not make it. There was no way. Ugh. I wanted to cry. I went over to that area, and he didn't return. I saw his coach doing a lot of talking with a few people. It looked like they were talking about him. So, I was crossing my fingers that they could work him into another heat. When she appeared to be alone for a sec, I went over to her and told her that I was Murphy's mom and that I was really sorry that he missed his event. She was very kind and understanding and said it happens. She said they were looking for a place to put him, but all the heats were full. I stood by the pool and waited while the meet continued, praying that they would work this out for him. To think we sat there for three hours - for nothing?! Ugh! And I knew Tom was never going to let me live this down. I am so irresponsible when it comes to time. I just can't seem to get it together! I felt absolutely horrible. And to make things worse - I didn't take one single photo of him at his first meet. After several events, she came over and told me he would be in the first lane, in the next event. Oh, thank you so, so much! What a relief!
So, the announcer said, "Event number so and so, 50 Breaststroke, and Lane 1 will be swimming 50 Backstroke." :-)
I must say, I was way more upset and worried about it than Murphy. He didn't seem to be at all bothered by it. He didn't even care that he was swimming a completely different stroke than everyone else. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not. One could speculate that he just doesn't care, period. But, I'm hoping that he's just a "go with the flow" kind of kid.
He had another meet this past weekend. This time he was swimming during the morning session. I had to run my last twenty-mile run (before the marathon) on Saturday. So, I missed it. Apparently, it wasn't a good session. He flip turned too early in one event and his goggles fell off in another. Tom took him again on Sunday, since they had to leave so early. I guess he didn't want to repeat what happened the last time I was in charge. :-) He swam his first 100 meter event, and it was 100 Breast. There were only three boys in the heat, but Murphy came in first. So, that's exciting!
And, thankfully, my twenty-mile run went really well. Despite the fact that I was LATE getting to the start. I know, that's shocking, isn't it?
I left early Saturday morning and thankfully was talking to my friend Niki on my way. She's clearly a really good friend because it was before 7am at the time! Anyway, she said something that made me realize I left my Garmin at home! ACK! Seriously, I cannot thank Niki enough for this! Luckily, I was right at an exit when I realized it, so I was able to take the quickest route back home. Grabbed my watch and hurried to try to make it. Since I am doing Galloway (run/walk combo), I need my Garmin to beep to tell me when it's time to walk/run. That day I was running for five minutes, walking for one.
Anyway, the group was starting in waves according to one's predicted marathon times. I was going to start at 7:20 or 7:23. Either wave would have been fine. I pulled into the parking lot at 7:27. There was one group left. I hurried to my team's meeting area to sign in (we sign in so they know everyone who started, finished). And that last group left.
I was literally the LAST person to leave the parking lot. Sometimes, I don't know how I survive.
Anyway, I had to work hard to keep my running under control for the first few miles. I didn't want to run faster because I felt rushed. I wanted to keep to my plan. Which, I did. And I am really proud of myself. I ended up catching up to my team! I couldn't believe it. And, as a bonus, I ran it seven minutes faster than my last twenty! I have had some great runs lately. So, after that last twenty, I feel really confident. And now we are officially in taper mode. Yay! So, my next long runs are twelve, eight and then the marathon - 26.2!
As difficult as the past few months have been, I can now say that I am truly excited about this marathon. I know that sounds weird. But, I'm almost there. It's almost over. And, I'm ready. And it feels really good to know that I'm ready to run 26.2 miles.
I wrote all the above on Monday night. Is now Thursday and I am finally getting around to finishing it. Since Monday night, I have come down with some illness. I am super tired, and coughing a lot. My lungs hurt. Awesome. So, I am not running for a few days, hoping that some extra rest will kick this thing out.
We got Harlie's new wheelchair yesterday. She just loves it. But, I will save that post for tomorrow. I'm going to finish up this one for now.
Thanks for reading!
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