Swimming lessons are over for another year. Only another mother can appreciate the accomplishment this implies. No more standing in the scorching sun hiding the baby beneath his blanket. No more daily morning ritual of lining the kids up and slathering them with sunscreen. No more sandy wet towels in the van.
On Thursday, the 3 week swimming program ended with a Water Carnival featuring tie-dye craft projects, sand castle contests, and relay races.
My favorite relay race was one where the kids took turns running to the lake with a cup, filling it with water, and then racing back up the beach to dump it into a waiting bucket. There were two teams and two buckets. The first team to fill its bucket to overflowing won.
When the Recreation Director split up the teams into boys and girls, my first inclination was to cry foul. So many of the girls were dainty little things sporting frilly, flowered bathing suits. They wore pink barrettes. They giggled and squealed. The boys were a rough and tumble bunch with lean and muscular bodies. They joked and jostled. They pushed and shoved. This is going to be a slaughter, I thought.
But then the girls won. Twice.
The difference was in the boys’ and girls’ different approaches to the contest. Boys would grab the cup, run to fill it with water, and then dash back to the bucket sloshing water in all directions. They would toss the water recklessly toward the bucket and get only some of it in before passing the cup to the next runner.
The girls, however, were deliberate. They were not as fast as the boys were, but with each trip to the lake they filled the cup completely and lost not a drop of water before getting to the bucket and painstakingly pouring out its contents.
Slow but steady wins the race. Twice.
As I stood on the beach and watched the girls dump yet another victory bucket of water on the boys’ heads, I considered this: It’s a lovely thing that God made boys and girls so different. There is a place for masculine speed, strength, and brute force just as there is a place for feminine fastidiousness, determination, and attention to detail. It is a joy to watch young boys and girls being exactly what God made them to be.