I am starting this blog as I sit here in the car, in the parking lot of where the CIF Championships are being held. I’ve sat here many times, but this year is different. This is Trenton’s final CIF! I cannot believe it. For those that know me well, you know that while it means a tremendous amount to me, that I am not overly sentimental about life’s milestones. So it’s not that at all, but what a strange feeling to have the “lasts” start to come towards us before Trenton heads off to start that next path of his journey. In the end it comes down to just being happy and feeling blessed to be here to see it.
My greatest joy (okay, you can scratch what I said about not being emotional as my eyes tear up now 😉 right now is the man I see him become. I want so badly through all he has battled this year for him to just crush it, but what makes me most proud is I know he’s going to be just fine. He’ll have his feelings without a doubt, but he understands the journey and process better than I ever did. Injuries that kept him out of the water for longer than he had to train and of course an illness that kept him out of school early in the week are hurdles he acknowledges but doesn’t let stand in his way and I am so very proud of how he has handled it all. So, I guess it’s time to go watch and see what happens…
As the local newspaper put it, Trenton had a bittersweet ending to his high school career. He stood up in the 200 IM and won in commanding fashion, even posting a best time by a second and a half. Once again though, the record wasn’t meant to be, as he missed the CIF record by .4 seconds. Then he came back in the fly and posted what I believe is his second fastest time ever (just .3 off his best), which is a fantastic swim for where he is right now. The only bummer for him was that he ended up second and won’t get the record he had missed by .3 seconds the year before.
As I told him yesterday, I could not be more proud of my son. As his dad and one of his coaches, the swims were great, but what he does to make those possible, even in the face of challenges, is what makes me the most proud. It also makes me that much more sure of the exciting times he has ahead. I’m not quite sure Cal truly understands what they have coming in with Trenton yet, but that’s part of what Trenton is excited about overall. He knows he’s going in with work to do and spots to earn, and again, I love seeing the drive and belief that not only is it possible, it will happen.
I love you buddy and in case I don’t say it enough, I am very proud of you and the man you have become.
As for my health, all is good. I believe it’s been about 8 weeks now since being off of treatments and what a crazy 8 weeks it has been. Slowing down is not exactly how I would explain it at all, but it’s been an exciting time overall.
So let’s see a quick recap. Immediately after my last doctors visit I had my first time back in deck at NCAA’s in 20 years, and that was a blast. The men stood up and competed all meet long and fought hard for a 6th place finish after a couple unfortunate bumps along the road (.04 too fast on a relay exchange and .05 out of finals in the one relay that didn’t make top 8, .09 and the meet is entirely different). They showed what it means to be Trojans and I hope they are ready to build off of that for next season.
One day back home and then it was off to China for me. I had an opportunity to go back to a club team that K and I had done a clinic for back when I had back pains but no idea what it was at that point. K didn’t feel like it was the best time for both of us to be gone, so I made this journey on my own. It was a great trip and clinic, and so great to see and meet new friends along my journey. Now they’ve already invited us back to do a “traveling clinic” up to a resort town in the mountains. That sounds pretty good to me. 🙂
During that trip we launched our swim-a-thon at Rose Bowl, and if you know much about that for us, K and I lead it as our one fundraiser of the year, and this becomes a very busy time. We wrapped that up a week ago with an incredible event, and always means so much to me to see all of our families come together. Straight from that to the SCS Banquet to celebrate our national top 10 and SCS/NAG record breakers, which happened to be Trenton’s first invite. If I haven’t mentioned before and you aren’t aware, there is this thing called “Trenton time” and it has this amazing ability to slow down any process, but then, seemingly like he flipped a switch it (Enter almost anything from eating dinner, to doing chores, to focusing on his swimming, to being potty trained) and not only does something start building, he just gets it done. His swimming has very much followed Trenton time, but since it’s his journey to take, we were okay with that.
Then straight down to a college coaches conference with the SC staff and that was a great experience as well. We did this behavioral test called DISC and it really amazed me and seemed to hit me pretty much spot on. For anyone that has done it, I am an S as my top one and C in a close second. Yes, both on the introverted side of things, and both covering points I like and things see as the potential negatives of my behaviors. If we do the long version, I’m sure I’ll be talking about this more, but it really hit me both in terms of learning about myself and how to best interact with others. Then it was back home for a night and then straight out to watch the CIF meets.
Yes, it’s been pretty busy I would say, and because of that has left me largely unfocused on battle I am fighting otherwise. It’s not surprising for me at all though, as I have a pretty good ability of putting things out of my mind completely. That is when I don’t have anything that needs to be done for it, but that time is running out now. It’s time for a doctors visit just to follow up and my first scan since coming off treatment. You can probably guess that you’ll see some blog posts that week. As good as I may be at times at letting things go, I am going to need some help getting through that week or so of scanxiety and feeling every little twinge like it was all coming back.
But that’s for another time, as we aren’t there yet and I’m not ready to start worrying. I want to live life, learn along the way what exactly I want and what means most to me, and in the end, just love being here. Recently in the swimming world we are learning much too often that no one is guaranteed tomorrow. While some of us are told how much time we have left (incorrect as they may have been), all of us need to remember to enjoy this life that is given to us each and every day. If I can offer some advice, if you ever go through a day without stopping to appreciate your life or at least some tiny piece of it, then you are missing the point. Remember to “stop and smell the roses” along your path to success. There are still roses along the path of the most ambitious, and you can recognize them without taking anything away from your drive. Just be aware and have fun. And if anyone is reading this and truly can’t find those happy moments in any given day, find someone to help you (I’m happy to do it if you need someone), decide what it is that is missing, and start moving towards that vision. Even taking that first step gives you something to be happy about, in fact making any step (forward or backwards) in an effort to reach that vision should be something that makes you smile. That vision and knowing you are on the journey towards it will give you those moments in your day to treasure, if you keep your eyes open for them.
I can’t believe that I wasn’t supposed to be here for all of this, but I am so thankful to God and everyone who played a part of getting me to where I am now. It’s surreal to think about like that, but then it all hits me when I get to see Trenton become this incredible person, Kristine be in a better place than in years and only getting started, and our family being closer and tighter than ever. Even in the pain of losing our family dog, I can see so much more clear just how amazing life can be. One of the best things to remember is to cherish life. It’s easy to get caught up in things, so on this Mother’s Day, take time to not only recognize Mom, but to take a moment, recognize just how much you have, and enjoy your life.