Hey, look at that.
My first magazine entry, printed in the Thoreau Club's magazine, Inspired.
Not bad for only 250 words, which, I discovered, is not a lot.
Here is the 500 word version. It was originally called "Goggles". It includes Coach Hillary who has been instrumental in keeping Emlen healthy.
When I put my boot on this morning, I found a pair of swim goggles. I guess that is better than a mouse’s nest, but it is still disconcerting. Goggles are a big part of our life. They are lost. They are found. They break. They leak. Sometimes they just wear out. I seem to spend a lot of my time watching swim websites for goggle sales. It is ironic that something which comes in and out of our lives so fluidly represents something that is so permanent.
We are a Thoreau Club swim family. I should have one of those oval stickers on the back of the car that says “Swim Mom” or “Swim Taxi”, but I figure the smell of chlorine which wafts from the windows might be enough to clue in the world. I signed Henry up for group swimming lessons when he was four. My goals for him were water safety, muscle conditioning and learning a lifelong sport. With his first pair of goggles secured tightly on his face – so tightly that he had raccoon eyes for the rest of the day – he jumped in the water. He has not looked back at the pool deck since.
Emlen began taking lessons when he was two and a half. At that age he insisted on swimming by himself, already had a strong dolphin kick, and donned neon holographic goggles that looked like dinosaur eyes. I thought Emlen’s swimming goals would be the same as his brother’s, but for him swimming has become a necessity. At the age of three Emlen was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis*. Exercise is one of the key components of the cystic fibrosis medical regime. It helps to maintain lung function. Emlen now swims for his health.
Henry and Emlen are on the Thoreau Sharks Swim Team and the Thoreau Sharks Bay State Team. They love it. They have mastered a lifelong sport, have made great friends, and learned the value of sportsmanship. I expected all of this. But what I did not expect when I gave Henry his first pair of googles was to find an extension of our family and a valuable addition to Emlen’s medical team among the club’s instructors, coaches and other swim parents. Everyone looks out for each other.
As the boys get older and Henry heads off to swim for Concord Carlisle High School, I know the team will always have their backs. Whether it is for preparing for a big meet, receiving general life advice or shoring up Emlen's backstroke with Coach Hillary for the days when he does not have enough breath the swim the butterfly, the Thoreau Sharks will be there. At the first meet of the year, Henry’s goggles broke. Coach J yelled from across the pool, “I have a bunch of extras in my office. Go choose a pair that will work. And get ready to swim.”
*Gunnar, please take note: I did not capitalize cystic fibrosis in the 500 word piece. With 500 words, emphasizing cystic fibrosis was not needed. No artistic license taken.