Tag Archives: swimming

Believing, Knowing, and Feeling

Like many parents, I’ve believed my daughter would be heading to college since before she was born.  She accepted an admissions offer months ago, so you could say that since then we’ve known not only THAT she would be going, but WHERE.  But it became real on a different level one night in August.watermarked-14494879_10210688146509269_3666155225609929744_n

We had just gotten back from vacation, and while we were away at the beach her year-round swim club had held the final practice of what had been her final season with the team.  I was having a routine evening when all of a sudden she volunteered:

“I texted Coach to ask if I could practice with the team when I’m home on breaks.  He said they would love to have me there.”

And that’s when I felt it.  A deep sense of quiet.

I’m happy for her and a little envious of the adventure she’s heading into.  I loved college, and I hope she does, too.  But that’s when it became real.

She’s only going one state north, maybe 2 hours or so away, and since she’ll be swimming for the school I’ll have easy excuses to drive up to visit once in a while.  So we’ll see her.  But…

In one of the books I used to read her when she was tiny–I can’t remember which one, but if it rings a bell, please help me out with a comment–one of the very young characters “got kind of quiet” for a few minutes when a situation became unexpectedly real.

I’m there.

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Filed under Activities & Sports, College, School, Transitions, Uncategorized

College Search–Round 2

Now that Big Sister is well through her second semester of her freshman year, we’re gearing up for our next college search.  But this one’s different.

Big Sister KNEW with absolute certainty that she wanted to go to a big school–until she realized, fairly late in the game, that she wanted the sense of community that comes with a small school.  Little Sister, who is now in her junior year of high school, KNOWS she wants a fairly small school, believing she’ll feel more comfortable and secure.

Big Sister spent years playing club and high school volleyball, but heading off to school last August she was clear that she did not plan to play in college as a freshman; she thought she might walk on as a sophomore–which seemed reasonable at her new, small (Division III) home.  Plans change:  Less than 2 weeks later, she was on the school team.  Little Sister is a swimmer.  In fact, she is never happier
than when she is in the pool.  Missing practice makes her cranky.  She knows she wants to swim in college.

She also knows that while with her current times she could get picked up by a Division I team, she would be near the bottom of the team roster and might not be included on the travel team for every meet.  But her times would place her firmly in the top half of quite a few Division II teams the day she arrives on campus.  (She also knows several Division I schools have dropped swimming in the last few years to save money….which is another worry.)

It is worth mentioning that Little Sister has learned from 2 local swimmers that the Division I vs. Division II choice is important–and personal.  She knows an exceptional swimmer who went to the most competitive Division I school (s)he could, and who was completely happy to be included on the roster for only some of the travel meets.  On the other hand, she knows another talented swimmer who chose the Division II route, also completely happy, starting a college career solidly in the middle of the roster this year as a freshman, participating every time the team is in the pool.  Little Sister knows that to her, swimming trumps status (Division I, big conference school, etc.), so she wants to find a school where she will be guaranteed the opportunity to swim full-time for her entire 4 years if she chooses.  She has created a long list of mostly D-II schools.

So–at least for now, knowing that the search could change as we go–we are looking for a school where 1) she will feel safe  2) she will get a good education, and 3) she can compete in the pool.

I am looking forward to going with her on this ride.

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Changing Seasons

May….a month of sun, flowers, renewal…and one or two other things:


Club volleyball tournament–The end of an era.

Our 17 year old daughter’s volleyball season, and her club career, ended with a family trip to the annual Memorial Day Weekend tournament at Penn State, a 4 hour drive from our house.

Soccer season ended for her 10 year old brother with an all-day tournament last Saturday, a much easier 40 minute drive from home.


We ran around a lot this spring.

Chorus concert.  Strings concert.  Project & activity showcase.  All three were nice May evenings at the elementary school.

Field day.  End of the year scout events.

Projects.  Presentations.  Studying.  Post-PSAT college mail continuing to arrive most days, often waiting in a stack, unopened.

High school final exams…wrapped up today by our freshman and are coming up next week for her sister, the rising senior–their schedules out of sync because they chose to attend different high schools.

For me, dozens of hours devoted to coordinating statewide tests in the school where I work led to materials inventoried, distributed, used, re-inventoried, and shipped out on a truck last week–while still trying to do my regular work at the same time.

For my wife, lots of juggling to get everyone where they needed to be, including morning and afternoon carpools for the daughter who opted for a school 35 minutes from home….carpools that made possible, as it turns out, for that daughter to have the most successful school experience of her life over the past 10 months….but taxing, nevertheless, for a work-from-home mom with 2 other kids (and me).

In broad strokes, that was May 2013 in the DadKnowsBetter household.

So this may be most welcome summer we have had as a family.


My first book of summer.

There will still be logistics and driving.  And there will be appointments and accomplishments to sort out–doctors to see, a driving test for 17, a summer camp here and there…


But there will also be time to catch our breath.  And more time to read books that no one assigned.  And time to sift through that stack of college brochures–and to visit a few schools in person.  Time to relax by the pool during 10 and 14’s swim team practice.  And to travel a little.  And to write more.

I’m open to suggestions of summer-only….or summer-mainly…ways to unwind.  Any thoughts?


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