I don’t know the 17-year-old swimming phenom Missy Franklin from Adam, but I cried when she won that gold medal as if I were her mother.

Tears. Lots of them. Why-is-mommy-crying kind of racking sobs.

Maybe it was that heart-warming piece about Missy NBC skillfully orchestrated to air right before her race, maybe it was my female hormones getting the best of me, or maybe it was because I had just spent the past three days entertaining five small children in the blazing hot sun at a three-day event swim meet, cheering our oldest on as he swam in our own junior state finals.

Do you know how long swim meets can last? Do you know how long you have to wait in between your swimmer’s events? I’ll tell you it’s a lot longer than a commercial break. And it feels a load longer when you bring all your kids with you and you run out of lollipops.

As much as I was happy for young Missy, I was really, really happy for her mother. That mother was a dream maker.

When Missy touched that wall-I couldn’t help it. The floodgates opened. All those endless swim meets I’ve had to nurse babies through, all those 7 a.m. practices I’ve had to drag everybody to, (the little ones…literally), not to mention the volunteer hours, the money, and the frustration we pour into the sport…At that moment, I felt validated.

I don’t mean to say my budding athletes will have to make it to the Olympic games in order to validate my efforts made on their behalf. Far from it. Missy’s big win just reminded me in a big way of all our little wins that make the practices, the driving, the laundry, the games, the meets and the recitals all worth it.

I thought my heart would burst when my swimmer came in third in his best event because it was his personal best. I tingled with motherly pride when my novice ballerina performed in her first big recital and didn’t fall down. I couldn’t help but squeal with joy when my pee-wee soccer player scored a goal on a grassy field the size of our two-car garage. It’s these moments that make me sign up for another season of soccer, that make me set my alarm for those dawn patrol practices, that motivate me to work out yet another carpool schedule.

After watching Usain Bolt win gold, my little ones are now lined up along the driveway taking turns sprinting to the neighbor’s mailbox and back, each confident that 2020 will be their year to shine, just you wait. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to get this on video. You never know, NBC might ask for it one day.

But if they never do, it will won’t take away from the fact they are shining right now. And when they glow, I glow, ya know?


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