Bay (Bayley), our a little girl, turned eleven this year. It was my wife's idea to capture footage of her where we honeymooned in Grand Cayman...while she's still a kid, still prone to dancing spontaneously, painting her face randon bright colors, playing with dolls.
We shot the footage in late July. Bay just entered middle school. By Thanksgiving I fear the carefree, child-like side may slip away.
The video's long. We shot it for Bay, for her to watch when she's older, and for her grandparents. I orignally cut it with exceptionally long swimming scenes, minutes of her diving and twirling about. I love seeing my her swim, underwater, smiling. The feeling I get, it's close to how I felt when she was so tiny and brand new, her foot the size of my pinky finger.
I love my wife, but the emotion's raw and pure when I see her splashing around in the ocean with Bay. It brings back memories, eleven years of compressed files in my head, a jumble of picture icons; baby Bay in the kitchen sink, slipping off the steps into the pool, riding on my stomach like she's on a boat, wearing an absurdly big swimcap, flip-turning in breaststroke, belly flopping off the blocks.
I don't know if Bay will swim competitively through her teen years. I hope so, but it's really up to her. I've asked a lot of friends, seasoned swim-parents, how we can keep her motivated to stay in the sport. The advice has been helpful; don't miss the swimming parties, praise the smallest improvements, shrug-off and hug-out the mistakes. I think Tif and I have done well so far.
I've met the families, thousands of them across the country, who makeup the sport of swimming. They're dedicated, good people. The sport rests on their shoulders. I know my parents were a part of that foundation. I know the support they invested... If Bay keeps it up, I hope Tif and I can make the same level of commitment.
One person, a coach I love and respect, told me years and years ago, "A family that swims together stays together." He wasn't talking divorce or breakup. His point was that swimming families stay close, because they have to stay so engaged in their kids' lives. And...I know he was right.
Now that you've seen a dreamy sweet family moment. Here's a moment when we weren't so idealic: BAYLEY'S FLIPTURN IN BREASTSTROKE.