I’ve been at this mom gig for 18 months now. Certainly not very long, and certainly not long enough to not still get hit with these overwhelmingly powerful moments of realization of where my life is right now.
I am a mother.
What I used to be was an athlete, a swimmer, to be more specific. During the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, I made a scrapbook that included daily newspaper articles and pictures of my favorite swimmers and how they did. I was 12. At that time, the Olympics were something that still seemed like a possibility.
I got older and distracted and never fully realized my athletic potential. I look back and wish I had dedicated a year or two to pursuing this sport that I had spent so much of my time participating and competing in without letting the distractions of college get to me, but you can’t change the past. I used to watch commercials for the Olympics and feel a pang of longing…maybe that couldn’t have been me winning a gold medal, but it sure felt good just beating a heat of fast girls at a conference championship, and I missed it.
I would really miss swimming and my identification as an athlete. As a swimmer.
NBC has started to air commercials for the 2012 Summer Olympics coming up this summer in London. During those commercials, Michael Phelps is featured quite heavily, but rather than the clips of him competing, it is the quick shot of his mother’s reaction to one of his record-setting, by-a-fingernail gold medals that stopped me in my tracks this time around.
For the first time, I watched something related to swimming and, rather than thinking, “I can’t even fathom how good it would feel to personally be in his shoes, winning a gold medal for my country,” I instead thought, immediately, “I can’t even fathom how good it would feel to watch my son accomplish such a spectacular feat.”
I’ve noticed ways that being a mother has made me less selfish, but it’s moments like this that make me sit back and truly appreciate everything my son has done for me.
I may still “compete” with myself and complete half-marathons and, hopefully in the near future, some triathlons, too…but I trust my personal accomplishments will never compare to the feeling I’ll get when my kids start accomplishing great things.
Even if they aren’t gold medals and world records, if any accomplishment feels half as good as watching those first steps felt, then I have a lot of amazing moments to look forward to.Image source