Sunday, June 5, 2011

Settling In

In just the few short weeks since returning to Arizona, we have settled in to our new house and right back to our old life. It honestly feels as if we had never left. I sometimes find myself asking, "was I really in Africa for 10 months?" Thank goodness for the pictures, as I have proof it was not a dream! I was watching Jack Hanna's Animal Adventure yesterday and it was surreal to see him on a boat headed out to Dyer Island, off the coast of Gansbaii, to swim with the great white sharks and to know I have actually been in that exact spot doing that exact thing! It is not until now as I am back in the "real world" that I can actually see how incredible our adventure was and appreciate the once in a lifetime moments we experienced on a daily basis.

I was afraid that I would be in a depression after leaving the foreign place where I felt so strangely at home, but instead I am content in my surroundings and truly comfortable. I love our new house and being back in my old neighborhood. The kids have a ton of friends and it is a beautiful thing that they can safely ride their bikes around the block to go and play. Anna has definitely found her better half in a little girl named Natalie. She is calm and sweet and patient and a perfect compliment to my sassy, bossy daughter! They get along so well and it makes our life with Anna a bit easier as she is only happy when she is surrounded by friends. I have decided that there is nothing better than having a basement! I have no idea what it looks like down there and I can have the whole neighborhood over without much bother!

Aiden jumped back into a typical summer by starting swim team this past week. We decided to do it at the Mesa Country Club so that he could also play golf and be with his cousin Brody. I was reluctant to sign him up at the club as it has been 2 summer's since he last participated on a swim team and he hasn't had any formal lessons in years. While I am always preaching to him that winning doesn't matter and all you can do is your very best I must admit in the back of my mind I was fearful that he would be laps behind the other swimmers and that he may be devastated if he always lost. I think he was a bit worried to because it took some convincing to get him to do it and he only agreed as long as he didn't have to do the swim meets. I was so relieved when he came home after the first session and loved every minute of it! He was so excited about it that he actually said he was going to swim in the meet just 2 days later! On the way to the meet his nerves kicked in and I think he began to second guess himself. I too was worried and got caught up in my own insecurities about competition. As I watched him dive into the pool as the first swimmer on his relay team (swimming backstroke of all the strokes) I was literally holding my breath. I couldn't believe my eyes, while his stroke wasn't perfect, he was a pretty decent swimmer! He surprised me so much and I couldn't have been prouder. His team finished 3rd out of 3 groups, but he was so excited to get a 3rd place ribbon he could have cared less that they lost! In his next race, he swam freestyle and came in 2nd! He was beaming ear to ear and it was a great moment! I learned a lot during that meet. There were some amazing swimmers and then there were some that weren't so great. Some of my favorite swimmers were the ones who struggled so much I honestly didn't know if they would make it, finally reach the finish! You really have no choice in that situation but to keep on swimming! And while I am sure it would be more rewarding for the coaches to have a team full of champs, they shouted encouragement to their swimmers urging them across! Another great moment was when one little guy won first place, solely because he was the only swimmer in that heat! He was so thrilled with himself and his first place ribbon the fact that there was no competition was meaningless! And most importantly I watched Aiden prove to me that he can do anything he sets his mind too! That was the best moment of all!

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