the first mile
(This blog tells my family's story. To see more, click "blog" at the top of this webpage.)
Beth’s third swimming summer began with a task she could put off no longer. She called and talked to the GTAC coach about her decision to change teams. Stressful, despite our gratitude for Beth's first club team and the practicality of swimming with a hometown coach. Peggy coached her individually during one-on-one sessions in addition to regular Seneca Aquatic Klub practices.
Beth swam with familiar faces from the high school team and formed new friendships with Peggy’s daughters, both college swimmers who helped with the club team.
The close-knit, small-town swim team celebrated with a thrilled Beth after she swam her first mile in one practice: 1,760 yards, over 70 lengths of the 25-yard pool.
I watched her finish the feat, marveling at what she accomplished with no leg function. In intensive care after the accident, none of us—not even Beth—imagined her in a pool by herself. Or floating. Or swimming actual strokes. Or competing. Or achieving her first mile in one practice, the first of many.
On a beautiful day in mid-June, family and friends gathered at our home. John and I hosted a party for Ben and Beth, both graduating with honors. Ben earned two degrees, in English and physics, from Ohio State. I set out Beth’s summer scrapbook and other memorabilia. A plain binder held many awards and scholarship letters, including one for $5,000 from the ChairScholars Foundation, renewable for four years.
A reference letter from a high school staff favorite, Mrs. Roberts, summed up the four years since Beth's spinal cord injury.
“The mild-mannered, quiet, bright little girl we met as an incoming freshman has grown into an assertive yet humble young woman. Beth is in a wheelchair but is by no means wheelchair bound."
12/7/2017 08:17:15 am
I love reading these stories about Beth's inspiring recovery! And yours!
12/10/2017 10:28:56 am
Hi Michelle! My struggle with depression and guilt felt unimportant early on. Beth's physical disability overwhelmed me, but since then I've learned to respect the real challenges of my own mental health. #whatyoudontsee #hopewins
12/7/2017 09:16:10 am
I look forward to reading each of these - thank you for sharing!
12/10/2017 10:31:26 am
Thanks, Jill! I appreciate your support!
12/7/2017 09:34:20 am
I really enjoy these inspirational stories. Although I have known your family for a long time, I enjoy hearing the "inside" story! Keep writing!
12/10/2017 10:43:42 am
Marsha, comments like yours keep me going! We are grateful for our hometown friends in Tiffin!
12/7/2017 10:04:27 am
I really enjoy each installment of this story. It’s inspiring and humbling.
12/10/2017 10:56:48 am
Thanks for commenting, Peg! Beth's story inspires and humbles me, too. She doesn't like the word inspire, but I choose to think of it as simply positive motivation. Something many of us need--me included!
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