It is December, the end of the year is coming like it or not. My kids’ teachers are counting down till the year end and I am dreading the juggle that comes with kids on holidays while my legal practice ramps up to end off the year. I am lucky to have the support of two sets of grandparents – unless they, in their retired states, do something inconvenient like travel to go spend their hard-earned money, or to leave town to spend time with other grandchildren.
The last two weeks have been full of school and extra-curricular attendance requirements. The dance class viewings, the school arts parade, the class Christmas performances. The list goes on! It was the week of swimming carnivals in late November.
I love watching kids of all abilities give it their best. My son Zigi who has Down Syndrome has a massive cheer squad get behind him. This year was the first year he swam most events almost independently with just a spotter beside him. The “Go Zigi” chants as he swam 25 meters at a painstakingly slow pace, brought tears to my eyes as his tribe got behind him.
At my daughter’s meet, the crowd roared as one girl in her year level kept smashing school record after school record, leaving others literally in her wake.
My daughter Teja, doesn’t enjoy that kind of encouragement. She isn’t at the upper or lower end of the spectrums that people see and get behind to encourage. But you know what? She doesn’t care. She is more concerned about earning points for her team. She just gets in and swims every single race, no matter whether it is her best stroke or her least favourite. Because it is not about the colour of the ribbon for her, it is about hearing that her team is at the top of the leader board at the end of the day. And it was (that day)! Go Laver!
She swam four races this year (even the “dreaded” butterfly), she came 4th three times and 5th once and earned her team just as many points as the kid who only swam twice and came second each time. Go Teja!
Reflecting on this made me think about the line from the Finding Nemo movie “just keep swimming”. Ellen DeGeneres who was the voice of Dory openly adopts that catch cry for her own life’s story. She had voiced the character years before the movie came out. Soon after, her name sake sit-com was cancelled and she felt lost. Just like the character she played, she says, she just kept swimming. She went back to what she knew the best – stand-up comedy – and not long after, launched her own talk show. The rest is history.
Plan as we might, we never know where life will lead us. We might have things blindside us along the way, or we might have opportunities arise that we never dreamed of. If we just keep swimming – keep contributing, keep doing the stuff we are good at, keep being part of our team, our tribe, our village – then everything we do has some meaning even if there are times in life where we are a little lost.
I find, particularly at this time of year, muttering the “just keep swimming” line to myself over and over, helps me get through some days! How about you?