I had to go the the basement last night after The Walking Dead to throw Ainsley's school clothes into the dryer. This is a common thing. I always forget about the load of completely-essential-to-life clothes I start after dinner on Sunday night until after I've watched the scariest show on television (besides Celebrity Apprentice--All Stars), and then I have to trek down to our creepy basement alone whilst imagining there's an un-dead corpse camped out behind the water heater. It's a great time to be an easily-startled person who loves suspenseful television.
As Jason went upstairs to bed and I went downstairs to hang with the laundry ghouls, I tried to garner some pity.
"I bet there are walkers down here. I'll try not to get eaten."
"I'm sure you will."
Thanks for the support, dear. I hope there's a walker in our closet that you find and have to stab in the eye with a plastic hanger. (I hoard the metal hangers down in the laundry room just in case.)
To put Ainsley's clothes into the dryer, I had to first fold the humongous load of swim towels that I discovered forgotten in the dryer. Motherlover. Many minutes later, a zombie did emerge from our basement. She had my hair and was wearing my pajamas but was moaning and stumbling. She was not hungry for brains. She was hungry for sleep. And a massage. Maybe a date night.
For the current swim season is almost at an end. And until next weekend, when it is finally over, every day I'm shuffling. (And spending way too much time listening to LMFAO on pop radio stations, apparently.)
A colleague was down in the library last week, and we had been talking light-heartedly and laughing while her class was working. Then she mentioned that she might get her young son involved in swimming, and things turned serious.
I felt the need to tow the party line here and sing the praises of competitive swimming, but what I really wanted to do was to tell her to run away. Far away. And never look back. To maybe have her child pick a sport less time-consuming and stressful for parents, like professional baseball or extreme knife-fighting.
The whole time I was talking to her, I wanted to tell her how wonderful swimming is. But at the same time hold up hidden pieces of poster board with editorial comments. You know, like Juliet did to Jack when he was locked up at the Hydra station by Ben and being spied on with hidden cameras. (Sorry! Lost will never really be over for me.)
If someone asks me about swimming, here's what I would say. Because THEY might be listening. In parentheses is what I would discreetly write on cue cards to show what I'm really thinking.
"Oh, you will love being a swim family!"
(It beats being a zombie family. Marginally.)
"It's a life-long sport."
(Because each swim meet feels like it lasts a lifetime.)
"You become really close with the other swim parents."
(In that same way that survivors of military campaigns are close. Misery be the tie that binds.)
"Your kid will be in such great shape."
(Oh, the food you will buy to fill that sculpted stomach, that skinny torso capable of digesting inhuman amounts of carbohydrates.)
"The travel meets are the best; the parents always have a big party in the hotel lobby."
(Because the veteran parents have sadly learned that heavy drinking is the only way to survive.)
"It keeps your family busy and your kid out of trouble."
(And slowly takes over every aspect of your life until you are just a well-humidified shell of your former self.)
I may have scared my colleague off. I hope not; this is just end-of-season burn-out talking. And Jason and I are the only ones burned out at my house. Our swimmer is still fired up, loving every minute, looking forward to her first major championship meet. I suppose that's what's important.
This time next week, I will occasionally be able to take afternoon naps as needed to fend off migraines and/or fatigue-induced nervous breakdowns. I can run errands after school. I have my weekends back to stay caught up on household repairs and cleaning and, maybe, doing something just for fun. Crazy! I will have time to finish one of the five books I've started this season and tried to read in the loud, hot, distracting environment of the meet pool, only to give up and check Facebook for the 50th time that hour instead.
And then, come April, we start over. Unless the zombie apocalypse has happened by then, and that walker behind the water heater finally makes me her late-night snack. Will I fight her off or welcome her chomping? It all depends on how behind I am on laundry that day.
So, friends, here's my bottom line on youth competitive swimming, and probably any other youth sport. It's terrific for the kids. It's fun to watch them grow in the sport and work hard and be successful. It's great to meet new people and have something that gets the whole family out of the house and active. It teaches skills for life--time management, prioritization, teamwork, self-esteem, healthy exercise and eating habits. 95% of the time that we are involved in this sport, I endorse it with my whole heart and think it's the best thing we've ever let our child do.
But the 5% at the end of the season makes Mama a little nuts. And yearning for some sort of an apocalypse.