Monday, July 29, 2019

You want to what?

We've never pushed our girls to be college athletes. We know a lot of parents who are sure their star athlete is going to get a full ride scholarship to play a college sport. We've always told the girls we'd rather them go for academic scholarships since what's in their heads is more valuable than their sport skills.

It was a surprise when the brunette twin said, "I want to ride on an equestrian team in college." Given how much she loves horses, I guess it shouldn't have been a surprise, but I was completely stunned for a minute.

It turned out that one of the golf camp sessions focused on how to join a college golf team. The brunette twin decided to take what she learned and apply it to horseback riding.

I told her we'd support whatever she decided to do, but she had to do the research. I just didn't have the bandwidth to add something to my list. And, if she really wanted to do it, she would do the work.

The brunette twin came back with all kinds of information. She researched programs, schools and scholarship opportunities. She knew which schools were within her reach and which were dream schools. We eliminated a few for different reasons and narrowed the list to six. 

I emailed the coaches to ask what she would need to present to be considered for the equestrian team. Each coach quickly responded with information.  

It was so strange to email college coaches to ask for information. We've talked about it with the girls, but in an abstract way. As I read the coaches' responses, the fact that they were going to college in three years became very real. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Dive right in

As soon as the blond twin decided to join the swim team, we scheduled lessons. She was a strong swimmer, but there's more to competing that swimming. She needed to learn diving off the blocks and doing the flip turns.

Her swim coach, Annie, was a high school swimmer. She was teaching lessons while attending college. We really, really were lucky that Annie became the blond twin's coach.

It didn't take long for the blond twin to learn the basics. Turned out that the blond twin was a pretty natural swimmer. She easily picked up all the tips and tricks Annie shared. 

She was able to show her newfound skills at the high school swim practices almost immediately. She really liked the team. New girls had a big sister to help them navigate the process. The coaches seemed genuinely happy to have her join.

It was such a contrast to her cheer experience. She loved being in the water from her first lesson. It was good for her body and her soul. We were so happy that she found her sport and her team. 

Monday, July 15, 2019

Rah, rah done

The blond twin went back and forth and back and forth about trying out for sophomore cheer leading. On the one hand, she liked the attention being a cheerleader brought. On the other hand, her coaches were not very connected with the girls. The team never quit bonded, even after so much time together. 

She decided to try out and made the team. At first she was thrilled, but as practices went on, she started complaining more and more. She felt like she really fell behind when she was recovering from her emergency appendectomy. Her core strength was not back to pre-surgery levels yet. It was keeping her from doing some of the tumbling as smoothly as she wanted.

One day we said, "Just quit. There's no need to keep going if it's going to make you miserable and cause so much stress." 

Normally we'd tell her that she made the commitment and she needed to stick with it. There was something about the way she talked about the cheer leading team and coaches that made us rethink that policy. 

We talked about how she should tell her coaches. The team only communicated by text, so we drafted a very nice text. She thanked them for the opportunity and told them she wanted to pursue another fall sport. I was very proud of the way she crafted her message. 

After she hit send, the coach replied with "k." I was stunned, although it fit with our experience, so I shouldn't have been. The coach didn't write a text wishing Abby well. She didn't thank her for all her hard work or say the team would miss her. She simply texted the letter k. 

I was relieved that the blond twin's cheer days were behind her. She quickly emailed the high school swim coach. She talked to girls on the team and was so excited to start practice. It was good to see her so excited about a team again.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Here and gone and here and gone

The brunette twin had a whirlwind June/July. The morning after the Shawn Mendez concert, we drove down to the University of Illinois so she could attend golf camp. She came back from golf camp and boarded a plane to Portland the next morning. Sixteen hours after she arrived home from Portland, she was in Tennessee for horseback riding camp.

It was a crazy, whirlwind time for her. It seemed crazy when we first talked about how it would all work, but now she home from all her adventures. She has great stories and fun photos. It was crazy, and she loved every minute of it. 

Monday, July 1, 2019

Don't lose it

The girls were packed and ready to leave long before our agreed upon departure time. They were headed to Portland to see Erin for the first time since she moved after Eighth Grade. They could hardly contain themselves.

We arrived at the airport with plenty of time. Since they were travelling by themselves for the first time, we wanted to leave time for any complications.

I could have asked the airline for a pass to get through security and walk them to the gate. They protested as soon as I brought up the idea. They really, really wanted to do everything themselves.

In reality, we had flown with the girls since they were toddlers. They had been in airports across the country multiple times a year. We had been preparing them to fly by themselves for years.

We went through the "to do" list one more time as we checked in their luggage at the self-service kiosk. When we finished, I turned to the airline representative standing near us and said, "On the way back, they will pay to check their luggage with cash. Do they have to go to the desk for this?"

The airline representative said, "They have to pay by credit card. If they only have cash, they cannot bring back their luggage."

I said, "Oh. Ok." I turned to the brunette twin, handed her a credit card and said, "Don't lose it."

They disappeared through TSA pre-check on their way to their first solo airplane flight. They texted a photo of them at the gate and with Erin in Portland. After a year, the birthday triplets were back together and so excited.