Melancholy memories

women's swimming meet poster
My daughter on a Utah Utes women’s swim meet poster

Every morning my husband and I get ready for our walk around 5 a.m. to avoid the heat. We don’t make it out the door for at least 30 minutes, needing clothes, clean teeth and coffee!

Consistently, we see one other couple out early. We say “Good morning!” “What a beautiful day,” and usually walk on.

During the weekend, my husband stopped to ask about their granddaughters who are swimmers. They told us their oldest signed with Northwestern and their youngest is getting calls across the country at top colleges. They talked about how they did at CIF (California Interscholastic Federation) where swimmers compete for their high school teams and how they were top finalists.

“Our daughter was a multiple CIF Champion,” my husband mentioned. Yes, she was. That’s a memory I’ll look back on with pride.

Our neighbors talked about a meet they just returned from in Northern California, the George Haines International Swim Meet. Yes, we’ve been to that meet, too. It’s filled with top swimmers including Olympians from the USA, Europe and Mexico.

Here’s a video I took of warm up from the George Haines International meet in 2017:

The conversation with our neighbors brought back so many memories from the days our kids swam. Busy days traveling to meets, staying in hotels, sitting with favorite parents on the stands. Each morning we wondered what the day would bring.

I felt a little sad and melancholy after talking to our neighbors. I’m glad we were a swim family. But there’s no going back to those days. On a sad note, the team our kids swam with from kindergarten through high school folded a few weeks ago after more than 50 years. I couldn’t count the hours we spent volunteering and supporting our team.

My daughter celebrating with her relay team at the end of a swim meet.

What memories from days past do you think about in a happy or melancholy way?

61 thoughts on “Melancholy memories

  1. Love the photos! Time moves so quickly the older I become…slowing down to remember phases that were joyful is such a wonderful way to keep the feelings close, but I hear you. It’s hard not to be wistful sometimes, in the ‘looking back’.

  2. There are multiple music related memories for me. I was a band parent and experienced all the things you write about EA, only in musical form! I sometimes wonder how the kids feel about those times now as adults and if they would have changed things looking back now as adults.

    • We had both kids in swim and in piano lessons. My son gravitated to music and took lessons until his senior year of high school, formed a band and wrote music, while my daughter totally focused on swimming. I do wonder what my kids think about those days, too. Do they wish they’d tried other things? Do they miss those days? It’s worth a conversation.

      • My son has been the only one to continue to focus on music post college, and he was the composition major. The youngest dropped band after 9th grade and the older daughter let everyone convince her that her path was music ed- until she realized 2 years into an expensive degree that no- not her path. They all appreciate varied genres now and the girls still dabble in various instruments as hobbies… I think music taught them all a lot in different ways.

      • That’s wonderful that they all enjoy music in their own way today. My son broke his hand in a bicycle accident his freshman year of college. He was a double major (music one of them which he had to drop.) He still enjoys music and the DIL family of seven siblings played string instruments, two are professional musicians. I also think my kids learned a lot from swimming, too. Good sportsmanship, physical fitness, teamwork and hard work (both in music and swimming) ๐Ÿ˜Š

  3. You must miss those days. As for me, the growing up stage of my three kids is a blurr! Perhaps I was too busy or because of my un-diagnosed hypothyroidism at the time.

    • I’m sure that would have a huge impact on those years. My DIL was diagnosed with hypothyroidism two years ago. Her college years and years after were a blur to her, too. It was hard for her to stay awake.

  4. What fun we had, that is why Jan and I still officiate swim meets the athletes and their families are the reason. We miss seeing all of the friends that we have met along the way.

      • Paul was awesome at every meet, along with his wife Jan. When my daughter swam a few years at National Open Waters in FL, I’d get a few texts and photos from him. We were in CA, so it was a treat!

  5. Our son played golf and since I was working from home I was the team mom driver to the different courses but I never really got that close to the kids and he didn’t keep in contact with many of them either. There were no big championship games or anything like that.

  6. I remember the first time meeting my stepchildren so many years ago, all the growth, changed, maturity, past troubles, new successes and now grandkids. It went so quickly. I often think of my stepson visiting Florida from Oklahoma and saying, “wow, it is so busy here, so much development.” I shrugged and said, “Yeah” and he responded, “That is great! That means growth and jobs?” And he never stopped!

  7. We were a soccer and lacrosse family. Our daughter provides the most memories. I recall a time when I was working the snack table and 2 mothers were commenting about playing the team with that GIRL and how bad it was. You see she had a reputation. She was not a girlie girl and her thoughts on sports were simple, if she didn’t draw blood it was not a good match. Didn’t matter whose blood it was (usually hers). I justy smiled.

    • Our town of Palm Springs changed demographically to what is commonly called “Gays and Grays.” Not a lot of kids. Then other teams popped up, one in Palm Desert where all the families with children live. There isn’t the population in the desert area to support three or more teams. And ours, which was the longest running team in Southern California went by the wayside, mostly because of location downtown Palm Springs. Thanks for the reminder of being grateful that it happened.

  8. I miss all the sporting events too when the kids where young and always on the go but I’m also enjoying today, the ability to slow down and smell the roses if you will. I agree with Brian, I’m enormously grateful that it happened. Much love, C

    • Thanks, Cheryl ๐Ÿ˜Š I do appreciate the days we had as swim parents as I know you did as a sports parent, too. Today, hubby and I swam laps together. It’s a new way to enjoy swimming, but wow, it’s hard!

  9. Iโ€™ve enjoyed so many wonderful hikes and outdoor experiences since I moved to Colorado. Itโ€™s tough to do that now, so Iโ€™m a little wistful. Also for my days as a field biologist and going back to school to get that biology degree in my 40s. But now is just as wonderful – but different.

  10. So many happy memories can make me sad as well. My two daughters both played soccer, and my husband and ex-husband both coached them. So we were very involved, and I do miss those times now and then. ๐Ÿ’•

  11. Not sure if I can answer your question. I am at that point where memories are embellished and I cannot separate fact from fiction. I mean in my memory, I kicked GI Joe’s butt, laid waste to Sgt. Rock, and dated Barbie. Not sure how much of that is true anymore.

  12. I think the melancholy is a sign that we absolutely loved and were enmeshed in a stage. I was at my daughter’s preschool the other daughter and we were looking into the classroom I think with the same sense of wistfulness that you describe. It’s a unique feeling, isn’t it?

    You did such a great job as extreme swim mom, Elizabeth! You’ve earned your incredible position as a great mom and cheerleader and I think some melancholy comes with it!

    • Thank you for your kind words. The swim world was our focus for so many years along with cheering for our kids, volunteering and my writing. I talked with my daughter about it yesterday and she brought up some not great memories and things to be relieved Iโ€™m not experiencing now ๐Ÿ˜€

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