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I arrive a few minutes late and the first event is underway. I search the water and pool deck for her. They all look alike in matching swim suits and swim caps, but Lauren’s not in the water. I know her stroke style and I know the shape of her body.

Also, I can hear her. She’s cheering. Always cheering. If she’s not in the water, she’s working the pool deck.

I spot her at the end of Lane 3, screaming encouragement at whoever is in the water, leading the heat. When that swimmer flips and turns, she moves to the next lane, shouting ear-piercing motivation to the next teammate.

I grin at my girl with the ever-moving mouth.

When she’s not swimming or cheering, she’s talking. Chatting up her teammates, high-fiving newly-made friends on the opposing team (yes, really), talking to the coach, charming the officials.

swim meet

She’s unfailingly supportive, primarily positive, and clearly having a great time down there.

Her actual swim times? She’s done better. She could probably do better.  Sometimes she gets down on herself about it. But, I couldn’t ask for much more than what I’m watching: A young woman who is all of the really important things I have ever wanted her to be — kind, friendly, encouraging, empathetic, compassionate, welcoming, happy.  She radiates joy and spreads sunshine on deck.

For about the thousandth time since she was a toddler, I observe her and think: Whatever she chooses to do with her life, she’s going to be fine. She may not have the greatest grades (paperwork is not her thing), she may not be a size 4, she may not take first place, she may not follow all the rules, but that is a girl who is going to float through a charmed life on Cs and charisma.

Sometimes she makes me crazy, but I’m so glad she’s mine.

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swim portrait


About Just Write: Just Write is my adaptation of free writing, a technique in which a person writes continuously and quickly without little regard for spelling, grammar, or topic. It helps writers overcome blocks of apathy and explore everything from meaningful topics to mundane observations with the same effort and without the pressure of crafting perfect prose. I just start writing.