When Rain Hurts by Mary Evelyn Greene

January 31, 2010

Racing Jitters (Sept. 2010)

January 31, 2010.  Peter sits next to me, engrossed in a Lego flyer, as we wait in the stands for Sophie’s first race of today’s swim meet.  It’s not quite 8:00 am, and 3 degrees outside, but already I’m damp from the moist heat of the indoor pool.  Before long my eyes will burn from the chlorine and my hair will frizz with alarming results.  At 7 ½ , Sophie has become engaged in the timeless rite of childhood activities.  This particular morning she dons pink goggles, a team swimsuit and cap, and a budding competitor’s fierce countenance.  Other days its equestrian gear and still others its soccer cleats and shin guards.  Looking down onto the pool deck, I watch Sophie and her friend as they share a bag of Goldfish only to be interrupted by a gaggle of dripping wet girls who run up with some sort of news and then scoot away in a flurry of bathing-capped giggles.  I smile nervously and then in earnest once I see that Sophie is smiling too, neither upset by the joke nor more importantly, the object of it.  She’s emotionally young, surely, and is still learning to navigate social situations that most girls her age mastered a year or two ago, but today she’s holding her own.  As the meet’s events unfold, freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, butterfly, and then finally relay, I hungrily snatch a few morsels of affection from Peter, who is still pouring over the same Lego flyer.  He tolerates the din of the meet well today, the chorus of shouts, encouragements, buzzers and announcements, the type of cacophony that usually sends him running, sometimes screaming, for the hills.  I wrap my arms around him and pin him to the red metal railing in front of us.  “You’re locked in jail,” I tease.  This is his way of allowing affection.  He even lets me rest my head against his back. In these moments I can palpably feel our connection growing, a connection that strengthens between us year after year but that too often goes unnoticed in our daily lives.  Pat recognizes this ritual dance between mother and son and smiles.  Then he signals to me that Sophie’s on deck and swimming next.  I look just in time to see her eyes meet mine, an instant of pure joy and love.  When the warning shout of “take your positions” breaks the spell, our second grader is suddenly all business.   She slides her goggles on, steps onto the starting block, and is off to the races.  Although she doesn’t place today, all the LoBruttos go home winners.


1 Comment »

  1. Great to read about Sophie and how she loves her friends and her swimming.

    And a lot of guys do allow affection this way. There are some cuddlebugs out there.

    Then it’s time to get serious.

    A lot of Sophie information is in “the missing middle” of When Rain Hurts.

    The current arrangement is good.

    Comment by Adelaide Dupont — February 1, 2010 @ 1:31 am | Reply

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