And now she’s 11.


My Kate turns 11 today.

I’m having trouble with that, to be honest.

It feels like we’re on the precipice of an entirely new stage of parenting and our relationship with her, and I’m not sure I’m equipped to deal with it.

I really don’t want to screw her up.

Also, eleven. That’s like 61 percent to adulthood, yet she’s still very much a kid.

Even her birthday presents reflect this weird in-between stage. A board game and a movie… a comforter and a pair of shoes. All at her request.

I really don’t know how to do this. Just thinking about it makes my heart pound.

But, I’ll do my best to figure it out. And, as she navigates the bumpy road of adolescence, I’ll do my best to show her the grace she’s always shown us as we’ve fumbled our way through this parenting thing.

I love you, Kate. Thanks for being you.

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Wait and See. And Worry.

Because you can't go directly to school after an early morning doctor's appointment.
Because you can’t go directly to school after an early morning doctor’s appointment.

Kate and I trucked down I75 again this morning to Cincinnati Children’s for a follow up with her GI doctor. The last time I wrote about this, we knew she had high levels of eosinophils (a certain kind of white blood cell) in her esophagus, intestines, and blood, but we didn’t know why.

Unfortunately, we still don’t know why, and it looks like we probably won’t know why.

Fortunately, though, we do know a few other things – we know she hasn’t been sick since May and the tests that were run for lupus and rheumatoid arthritis and all kinds of other hideous things came back negative. We also know that her blood eosinophil count continually declined over the summer, and has held steady at a slightly elevated but not ridiculously high level since August. We don’t know if they are still present in her GI tract, and the only way to find out is to have another endoscopy/colonoscopy. This morning the doctor gave us the option to go that route or to wait and see, and we chose the latter. She’s feeling good, not having any symptoms, and was pretty adamant that she did not want to have another scope. The doctor felt comfortable with that approach, and so did I… until I dropped her off at school and had some time for my brain to jump into overdrive on my way to work.

I really, really don’t want to do another scope unless it is necessary, but at the same time, I hate the thought that something could be going on with her that we don’t know about.

I had hoped to walk away from this morning’s appointment with peace of mind, and that’s not really what happened.

I guess the only thing to do is to take it a day at a time, and to remember that she’s happier and feels much better than she did a year ago, and there’s no indication that that’s going to change any time soon.

But I am fairly sure I’m going to still be worried about this when she’s 40.

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Swim Team Win

I’ve written before about our adventures with the kids’ swim team – how Kate’s first year we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into, then how we’d grown to love it, and eventually how we’d become a total swim team family.

Today I want to tell you about a swim team moment that will stay in my heart forever.

So, as background, last year Sam was not such a fan of swimming.

Here’s how he spent most of the season.


This year? He loves it. He wants to be at the pool all. the. time.

Last Saturday, Kate and Sam swam in a local invitational (Jenny, “invitational” means there were lots of teams competing against each other). It was an optional meet for our team, and our two were among five kids from the Gators. All season, Sam has been swimming in the “assisted swim” events, which means that he has had a coach-in-training in the pool with him. As the season has progressed, he’s needed less and less assistance and had gotten to the point that the helper really wasn’t even touching him as he swam. None of the coaches-in-training had made it to the invitational, but we were all sure that this time, he could do it on his own.

Before his first event – the 25 meter freestyle – he was pumped and ready to go. Does he not exude confidence?

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(Self-appointed) Coach Kate gave him some tips…

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And he was off.

swim Collage

He did great. He put his face in the water, he kicked, he did “big arms.”

For the first 30-ish meters.

Then he needed a breather, so he swam over to the lane line to hang on. At that point, the other kids (who all had helpers propelling them forward) were nearly to the end of the pool, and Sam was just a little more than halfway there. He looked around and saw that he was in the middle of the pool all alone, and he flipped out.

He clung to the lane line, looked at me and Andy and screamed “I can’t do it! I can’t do it!”

We both tried to reassure him, while at the same time motioned frantically to Kate to jump in the pool. It was probably 10 seconds, but felt like forever.

She had been standing by at the ready, and when we gave her the high sign she dove in and was by his side within seconds. When she reached him, I heard her say “Hi buddy, need some help?”

With Kate there, Sam decided to give it a go. As he swam – the only kid in the pool – all the parents, coaches, and other swimmers encouraged him. When he finally reached the end of the pool, the entire place broke into cheers and applause.

I was in tears.

Days later, I still can’t talk about it (or, evidently even write about it) without getting choked up.

I don’t know what it was, exactly, that made it such an emotional experience for me. I guess it was just the combination of things – seeing Sam in distress, watching Kate respond so quickly and assuredly, and witnessing so many people – complete strangers – support and hearten my little boy… it about did me in.

It’s something I will never, ever forget.

And when Sam’s backstroke event came around, Kate wasn’t taking any chances. She was right beside him, just in case.

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That’s really all I want for them. To know the other is there, just in case.

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