Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What the Mama has to Say

Jordan, 18 months
For me, the little girl in this picture is who will be swimming in that big, big bay on Monday. This little girl who is, at one, so clearly comfortable and happy in the water. Who is independent, strong, and brave. And nine.
Jordan. Now. 
I'm not sure how she's nine, because it really doesn't seem that long ago that I held her while she kicked in the cold waters of the South Fork American, pushed her towards her dad in the gym pool, and watched her launch off the blocks at age four in her first year on the Dry Diggins Dolphins swim team.
Wow, that's me back there. With a baby. Sigh.
Water has always been Jordan's passion, and her peace. From playing mermaids endlessly in her preschool and kindergarten years, to her evolution into finding her competitive self and her team self, to simple days on the river and in pool after pool, Jordan is never more Jordan than when she is in water. I've always sworn she has gills.

Watching Jordan train is inspirational.  She never complains, never balks, never slows, never whines. She sees water as a privilege and a refuge.

When Jordan and her dad first began to set things in motion for this swim, I wanted to really sit back and let it be their thing. And then, Tom hit a tree while snowboarding and while my first thoughts were of course for his well-being, immediately followed this thought: I'd better start swimming.

Thanks, friends. My idea of the Bay.

I love swimming. I've never been on a swim team, don't remember lessons. But I love water, too, and dreamed myself a mermaid as a child. I know her peace, and share the joy of feeling your body move sleekly though water. These last years at the gym, I never felt I had enough time to change and shower and still get in enough of a workout for the hours allotted the kids in the gym playroom, but I've been thrilled to prove myself wrong. Swimming again this last month has been a huge gift. I am sooo much slower than Jordan, and I know without a doubt that Tom is the one comfortable in the cold waters of the Pacific, but for my girl I'd do anything. I tracked down a wetsuit with a fabulous pedigree (xoxo Steph and Deanna), hit the pool, and am dedicated to supporting her in whatever way she needs me.

I look a little more like this now. But a lot less cute.
It was a big wake-up call in another way: Tom and I have always been athletic, and have prioritized health and fitness. But in the last year, the spaces between my workouts were longer than they'd ever been, and my body was becoming unrecognizable to me. When I realized I might be swimming with Jordan, I realized also that I hadn't been living as the example I wanted to set for my children, It's a huge struggle as a mom of three with a couple of businesses to find time for everything, but excuses are just excuses. I'm back on the path, and I love that right now the path is leading me through water.

Tom's knee has been holding up well in training swims with Jordan and he swears he's going to be by her side. His training has been great as well - the two of them head off on weekends to Folsom Lake and swim for ninety minutes. Then they come home and eat, and Jordan heads off to swim team practice. Did I mention she's never complained? Once? Tom is a man of his word, and he's thrilled to be doing this with his daughter. But heads-up, honey - I get next.

Think great thoughts for my girl on Monday. I know her greatest challenge is going to be getting on that boat that takes them out to Alcatraz - and then jumping off of it into the big, huge ocean. Once she's in, it's cake - she is so well trained, so ready to make the swim, so at home in the water that my worry will end.

She has a lot to swim for - I am humbled by the friends and family that have supported her in her fundraising efforts. She has been witness to a lot of illness, especially cancer, in her life. She could've chosen a charity supporting cancer research, But Nothing But Nets is so tangible, and makes huge sense: $10 buys and distributes one life-saving mosquito net. She's not counting the dollars she raises but the nets those dollars buy. Thank you, each and every one of you who have given her that extra inspiration.

And thank you to the many of you who have supported her with words and with promises to show up and with hugs and cheers. She's made the longest part of the journey in my mind, that's the finish line right there up ahead. Already, I couldn't be more proud.
Thanks for the great shot, Vintage Photography!


  1. Go Jordan!! You are such an inspiration to me and I can't wait to hear how great your swim goes!! Cerys and I are thinking of you and we talk about your swim almost every day! Good luck, amazing girl! Thanks for a beautiful post, Heather!

  2. Jordon~! You are inspiring me to get back in the pool. I was on the Sierra Marlin's Swim Team growing up and I love to swim. So swim dear, swim! I am so excited for you and can't wait to hear about your day in the bay. Good luck to you. Julie

  3. You guys are such an AMAZING family! You ALL inspire me! Heather, this is so beautifully, and honestly written! We will be there in spirit...CHEERING HER ON! No matter what happens, her passion alone is something to be revered! GOOD LUCK! LOTS OF COLOMA-LOTUS LOVE!
    GO JORDAN!!!!!

  4. Such a sweet blog. I'm so inspired on many levels. So glad to know about this journey that Jordan is on. Thanks so much for sharing, Heather. :-)

  5. Welcome back, writing Heather! I love to read what you and now your daughter write. I love you both so much!