Last night, I was getting ready for bed after a date night out with the hubby for Mexican food and good times.
I thought the whole house was asleep.
I went into the home office to shut down the computer.
My oldest daughter Maddie,15, came in.
She said, "Ma, I can't sleep. I feel anxious. I got this fire in my belly."
I said, "You know I get that from time to time. I'll make you some hot tea and that will help you feel better".
I fixed up the tea and brought it to her. I said "Are you okay? If so, I'm going to bed, wake me up if you need me but you should really try to get to sleep your last Swim Meet is tomorrow".
In the morning,
I woke up early.
I was in the kitchen.
After a while Maddie came down from upstairs
and said, "Ma, it's my stomach, I just don't feel well".
I said, "Oh boy, fire in the belly, let's get some Pep-to that will make you feel better".
BUT we didn't have any. Errrrr.
She was scheduled to be at the Archer's house for the swim team breakfast before the Freshman Sophomore Invitational swim meet . I was in charge of bringing a treat of which I still had to make. I was feeling pressure.
I figured we would get the treats made and then I would run to the store and get the Pep-to for her stomach.
We got to the Archers on time to deliver the treats. Maddie ate breakfast (she had eggs and toast and passed on the donuts lol!) and I jolted off to the store to get the Pep-to, 7-up and some water. I returned. She took down the medicine and I said goodbye and scurried off to my other daughter's soccer game.
I texted her after a bit and she said she was feeling better. Whew.
The next time I saw her was at the meet a few hours later. She had her racing suit on. The pool deck was filled with fans and swimmers. It was loud. She looked intense.
And I thought she looked confident, nervous and feeling better.
A race had just finished and the girls exited the pool.They were awarded special recognition starting with 6th place. Each girl singled out. Awarded a ribbon and cheers from the crowd.
It was right then I realized that perhaps Maddie's stomach issues were directly related to this important moment. THAT was the fire in her belly. This was a really big deal for her. Shame on me for not recognizing this fact sooner. Errrrr.
My hubby stood in the corner as he had volunteered to be the announcer. He nodded the look "she's up next".
And then the official in the white suit blew that whistle and Maddie and the girls stepped up to the block for the next race "the 100 yard Butterfly"... Maddie looked fierce, strong and ready to win. I felt so proud of her. She raced and she won! Her best time all season. 1:15
But that win was only in her heat (the girls are divided up based on their speed, and well, she was in the second fastest heat).
I watched her huff and puff and stand by the pool carefully watching the times of the swimmers in the fast heat.
And they finished.
Dad's voice then sounded as he started to announce the swimmer placement starting with 13th place...and he worked his way down. I held my breath hoping she get to stand proud on the block because I knew how badly she wanted that moment.
All that hard work all season.
Early morning practices without complaining and a true display of bravery,determination and dedication.
And he continued speaking... scaling down 10, 9, 8, and 7 he paused and said, "Maddie Frost, 7th place". She just missed it. I watched her. Graciously smiling and receiving a hug or two. Then she quietly dismissed herself into the restroom.
I looked under the bathroom stalls
and I found her sitting on the floor next to her locker.
"hey, good race!"
She huffed and puffed.
"Did you take a video? let me see it"
She and I watched it on my I-phone quietly.
She said "if I only would of...I would have made it to the blocks".
And with that, I tried really, really hard not to cry. She wasn't crying. I wasn't about to cry. I admired her for her strength. (And it's funny how she handles things differently than me.) So I said "hey, you're lucky number 7. You did your best. And you won your heat, it was great race and if you had been in the first heat it might not have been the same. You should be proud!"
She said, "Yeah, I know...whatever".
And then my SHAME crept in... Oh boy,
I blew it. I felt, I had this beautiful moment with my daughter and a memorable parenting motivational moment and that's all I could say??? Lucky number 7? I am so disappointed in myself.
Until I remembered what my friend Brene Brown said, she taught me to repeat these words to yourself "I am imperfect and I am enough". I did. And then I thought of my permission slip.
And Maddie unknowingly taught me something very important. You've got to listen to the fire in your belly. It may make you vulnerable and sick (oh no!) but when you put yourself out there fully exposed and try with all your might, you might just win. And even if you don't...that vulnerability makes life so much more FULL of meaning, feeling and love.
And...I believe Maddie was just happy to feel my love and presence as she went through that moment with me (and Dad) by her side, regardless of what I said.