We are guilty of many errors and many faults,
but our worst crime is abandoning the children,
neglecting the fountain of life.
Many things can wait. Children cannot.
Right now their bones are being formed,
their blood is being made,
and their senses are being developed.
To them we cannot answer, "Tomorrow."
Their name is today.
Their Name Is Today is a book that encourages parents to reclaim childhood, to build margins into family life, to give children unstructured down time. Beautiful, poignant, true -- and seemingly out of step on a day when the six Dolins are headed in five directions, in a week that sees swim team wrap up in a flurry of activities that includes a final dual meet, a divisional meet, an all star meet, and a team party.
Meanwhile Tim headed off to Atlanta to visit a friend at Georgia Tech.
With Dave, Tim, and Kolbe gone, I headed into the final leg of swim team solo. So you can go ahead and queue the ominous music already.
Saturday was the divisional meet. Let's capitalize that. If an average meet is epic, The Divisional Meet is epic on steroids with a side of Monster.
The night before, I fully intended to get everyone bedded down at a reasonable hour, and I mostly succeeded. I was awakened around 5:30 to odd noises coming from downstairs. I ambled into the family room to find John watching Home Alone 3 . John is not an early riser. In point of fact, I'm 0 and 4 for early risers among these offspring of mine. My friend across the street routinely deals with disappointed boys who pop by our house at 9:20 to nab John only to hear he's still sawing logs. How do you do this, Sarah has frequently texted me. That's just the way it is -- except the morning of The Divisional Swim Meet.
As we packed up, John began saying he felt funny. Nerves, I said. As we pulled into a remarkably awesome parking space, I glanced at John in the rear view mirror. Not nerves, I thought. I put my hand on his forehead and detected warmth.
Readers of this blog will remember John and his fevers. John has run sky-high fevers regularly for years and years and years. Nearly eight years. Come this Friday John would have been 365 days fever free. They suddenly stopped -- until the morning of The Divisional Swim Meet.
I pulled out some Advil and got him to swallow one and chew (ugh!) the other. And he was good. Cheerful. Energetic. Goofing off with his buddies.
(And not contagious! I always feel horribly judged about John and his fevers. He has an auto-immune problem that -- unlike Lice and Chicken Pox and Flu -- doesn't travel from kid to kid. He's fine. He's miserable. He's fine again. We've learned to live with this.)
Sultry, muggy, dank --words fail to capture it adequately.
I passed the time closely examining which women had hair that frizzed and which women didn't and wondering how the non-frizzy women pulled this off in the sauna that was the aquatics center.
And then John who had been cheerful and energetic suddenly was neither. He was wrapped in a towel and trying to go to sleep. I zipped across the street to buy liquid Tylenol and chocolate milk. Pain relief and comfort.
My shepherding duties were winding down. John had three more races, including the Ten and Under IM. He's eight. A demanding race against older swimmers and he was feeling horrible. I decided to give the Tylenol fifteen minutes before throwing in the sweaty towel and heading home early.
John rallied. In a move that shocked both me and Coach Ian, my girl Ainsley competed in backstroke and made it across the pool unassisted. Different kids, different goals -- one of the things I love about swimming is that you can celebrate all of it.
We drove home and collapsed, Ainsley and I figuratively, John literally. He woke up in the middle of the night scorching hot and vomiting. As John got older, his fevers were lower (102 instead of 104.5) but invariably he would vomit off and on for hours. He dealt with this every three weeks throughout second grade. It was terrible. Unpredictable for us, misery for him. When they appeared to cease a year ago, we were so happy for John.
Today he's fine with nothing but circles under his eyes to show for his troubles. Ainsley, meanwhile, sounds croupy. Isn't Croup a winter problem?
All Stars tonight.