As parents there are certain things that we want for our children when they are growing up. We want them to be happy with themselves and have good friends. We want them to be smart and get good grades. We want them to be talented and excel in everything they do. We don’t ask much, do we?
My oldest daughter, Wendy, will turn 30 this year. She was always a good student. I believe that growing up watching Mom and Dad go to college together and study their butts off influenced her study habits and showed her the benefits of education. She went on to finish her high school career in the top 10 of ~ 350. After attending the University of Rochester for 3 years in pre-med she decided to go the Physicians Assistant route and transferred to Daemen College for two more years. Again she graduated at the top! She is now a surgical PA working at Rochester General Hospital, married to a great guy, and is living in a nice suburban house that she and her husband, Jeff, had built. I couldn’t be more proud of her than I am. Sometimes I think that she doesn’t know that. Father/daughter relationships can be tough. I love her with all my heart and I would do anything for her!
My youngest daughter, Shannon, will be 18 in September. Yes that’s right, 12 years between them! Wendy made a great built-in babysitter! 🙂 Shannon grew up in a country setting. We built a house in Brockport on some land where, unfortunately, we were far from other kids her age. She went to The Schoolhouse of Brockport, a wonderful daycare run by a wonderful staff. We brought her there before school and then picked her up on the way home from work. Shannon made some great friends at The Schoolhouse and they have remained close through the years.
Shannon started swimming competitively for Sharks and Eagles Aquatic Sports, SEAS, when she was 9. Her mom and I knew that she loved to swim (Wendy was also a water bug!), but we didn’t really have an inkling of how much she loved it! The time commitment alone is daunting to many kids and their parents, too. It started with two or three nights a week. It blossomed into 6 nights a week with many nights of double practices when Shannon went onto the school swim team!
Any parent of an athlete will tell you that their children learned to budget their time wisely so that they get their school work done. Shannon excels at this. Sometimes she would procrastinate and leave her homework for after practice, making for some late nights, but for the most part she did a much better job getting all of her stuff done than I ever did!
Over the years of going to swim practice every night she made a bunch of new friends and so did her mom and I. We both have served on the SEAS Board at times and helped out at every meet. I have taken thousands of images that I have shared with the team!
Suffice it to say that swimming has been a constant lifestyle for a lot of years now!
In September Shannon will be going off to college at Dennison University after finishing her high school career at the top while taking college classes at SUNY Brockport half time, too! And swimming 6 nights a week! Once again I couldn’t be more proud or love her any more than I do!
This last year or more has been hard on both of my girls. Their mom and I divorced and I have moved away to be with Kris, my new found love, and her boys, Tyler (17), Shane(15), and Dakota and Eric, 13 year old twins. I have been blessed to expand my family to include Kris and the boys! We are all enjoying the challenges that come with learning about each other!
It’s been hard on all of us, being an hour away. I put a lot of miles on my car this year driving up 390 to Rochester! Kris and I seem to spend more time in the car than home sometimes! We have made a huge effort to get to Shannon’s swim meets and visit with the girls and my family every chance we get. Kris has been wonderfully understanding about all of this and I love her dearly.
So, to get back on point, last Sunday Kris and I and Shannon’s mom, Anne, attended Shannon’s last Annual SEAS Banquet. Such a bittersweet afternoon. We’re all so proud of Shannon’s accomplishments in and out of the pool and, as she is going to swim at Dennison, we’ll have more traveling to do yet to see her continue her career. But we leave the SEAS family that has been such a large part of all of our lives.
As I looked around the room there were so many new faces, new families. But also some old ones… the Briggs’, the Champagne’s, the Amthor’s, the Tobey’s, the Schultheis’, and many more. The coaches, Doug Tobey, Dave Hilfiker, Ella Schultheis, Brian Bartalo,
all of whom had some impact on Shannon, in and out of the pool. We’re going to miss seeing them all. I’m sure that we’ll make some trips to practice and see everyone. I hope to be shooting team portraits next year again, too! But it won’t be the same.
So we say goodbye to our SEAS family, wishing each of our senior swimmers, Shannon, Brittney Champagne, Sarah Briggs, and Kevin Sullivan the best of luck and success in everything they do!