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Friday night, we were at Kate’s very first ballet recital and Saturday, we all went out to support Evelyn in her very first swimming competition. When she expressed an interest in taking swim lessons, she was very clear that she did not want to compete but after a few weeks of swimming and running as part of the training, and doing well at it, she decided to give it a go. So, we signed her up for the first meet at her own pool and went out to support her.

Go, Evelyn! 🥇

As a newbie swim family, we weren’t really sure how it would all play out. We knew it sort of ran like track and field, with one event at a time, so Jack took her to warm-ups, while I stayed at home, waiting for him to give us the green light to come. In the meanwhile, the kids napped, we made a sign for her, I did some farm chores, baked some brownies, did some laundry, took a nap, wrote, and three hours later, he sent a text that she was up in the next half hour. Probably. Maybe. We might want to think about coming soonish so we didn’t possibly miss her first race.


The place was packed and HOT. I’m pretty sure we were breaking some fire codes, but we found Jack and squeezed our way into the teensy-tiny bleachers. They’re the same ones we’ve been sitting in for practice but with other people in them, we had our knees in the backs of the people in front of us and were sitting on the feet of the people behind us. Fun times. It didn’t matter though. Jack had timed it all perfectly. We got settled in and soon saw Evelyn standing in line for her very first race, gnawing on her fingernails in her telltale sign of absolute nervousness. We waved and held up our sign as a sign of our support.


She saw us and stopped chewing her nails long enough to give a teensy tiny smirk to acknowledge that she appreciated the gesture.

She’s so nervous but managed a smile! 😁

And just like that, it was her turn. Her first race was a 100m backstroke against other first-timers. It was so fun to cheer her on and see her do something that she loved while scared out of her wits. I think it’s good for everyone to push themselves and confront their fears once in a while. Evelyn did just that.

She was visibly relieved when she finished and pulled herself out of the pool to go hang out in the waiting area. It was about half an hour between her races, but by the time she was back by the blocks again, she was trying to chew off any new nail growth since her last race. If it was possible, having done one race, she knew what was coming and was more nervous.

Gotta hand it to her. She went and faced her fears for the second time that day. Though she’s tried all the strokes of swimming during practice, she’s pretty sure the freestyle is her favorite. She’s still learning how to dive in (but again, props for continuing to swim even after bellyflopping her way into the water), and how to turn, but she powers through the water. Evelyn gave it her all, until she was barely able to swim another stroke by the end.

When she was done, I took the rest of the siblings home (I’m sure people were glad we vacated such a large slice of bench seating), and Jack stayed while she got changed. At home, she was all ear-to-ear smile–none of the sheepish simpering–and couldn’t stop talking about how much fun she had. I think she’s found her “thing,” and her excitement is palpable. We can’t wait to see how she grows as a swimmer and look forward to cheering her on.

Marked up with her race number, distance, heat, and lane, so she didn’t forget!


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True stories of raising children, remodeling, braving the elements and plotting out life, all while living on a humble acreage in central Indiana.

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