My family is a military family – Navy to be specific. I served for 5 years and my husband is coming up on his 12th year of active duty service. Typically being a military family means that every 2 or 3 years, you are uprooted and have to move. To say we got lucky is an understatement – we spent 9 years in one duty station in Jacksonville, Florida. All good things must come to an end right?
Two years ago this time my family was told we would be moving from Florida to Tennessee. It was right before Christmas, the busiest time of year and we were told that we’d have to report to the Memphis area by the end of January. We were not expecting Memphis – we thought we’d be somewhere more exotic. I was unreasonably distraught. Not only because Memphis was not high on my list of ‘Join the Navy See the World!‘ locations, but also because I’m a creature of habit and Jacksonville had become my home. Our kids were born there, we own a home there, I had a job I liked and friends I had made over a nearly a decade of living in one place.
This was all hard to think of leaving, but I’m almost embarrassed to say that one of my biggest worries was leaving my daughter’s swim team. Sure, she was only 8 – but she was part of an elite caliber team and I was worried we wouldn’t find something close in Memphis. It wasn’t that I thought she was some star athlete, it’s just that she loved the sport and I didn’t want the move to compromise that love. More selfishly, I had met a lot of other swim parents that had become my best friends and I didn’t want to leave.
We were only slated to stay in Memphis for about 15 months, but here we still are nearly 2 years later and all said and done we’ll have doubled that time. The reason? My swim family.
When you know you’re only moving to a place for a short time, it’s hard to make friends. I don’t work in an office here – so no lunch dates or happy hours. The only chance I had to make friends was at the pool with other swim parents, and I have never been so blown away by so many wonderful and welcoming people.
To all my swim friends in Memphis – thank you for taking me in like the stray I certainly felt like when I moved here. I know when I walk into the pool each day, there’s a whole village of parent support behind me, sharing the same exhaustion from being a swim taxi day in and day out. I’m thankful for our hotel lobby parties at travel meets. I’m thankful for the opportunity I was offered to start coaching here in Memphis. I’m thankful to the coaching staff for the emphasis on fun first for age group swimmers – my daughter now loves swimming so much that she begs to go to practice and I have to force her to take days off.
A swim family runs deep. This time in Memphis is just another chapter I get to add to a lifetime of connections I’ve made at the pool. I’m thankful that I still keep in touch with my best swim friends from college – and even still share workouts on occasion. When I started this blog, I was able to reconnect with some old teammates from my high school and age group teams. My parents and I have been able to reminisce about the old days – remembering stories and pulling out pictures we haven’t revisited in years. The wonderful thing about swimming is that it goes full circle – now my husband (fellow swimmer) and I get to watch our two girls enjoy our sport and make lifelong friends. I never thought I’d make new swimmer friends at my age, but Masters swimming has opened me up to a whole new network of great people.
When I moved I thought I’d lose everything, but all I did was gain. Somehow moving only immersed me deeper into the swimming world I’ve known and loved for so long. When we have to move again next year back to Florida, I’ll still have my swim family there and a whole new mid-south crew to come back and visit here. To all the friends new and old and family that have been positive and supportive of this blog over the past couple months – Happy Thanksgiving and THANK YOU 🏊♀️💕.