Sunday, August 24, 2014

letter to my pool staff

dear "Shiverwoods" 2014,

I wouldn't trade this summer for anything. 

It's kinda funny, in hindsight, how blessings come in disguise and just how wrong first impressions can actually be, because the first day we met I was so terrified, frankly. And disappointed. 

I was afraid of making mistakes, my first summer as a lifeguard. I was scared my swimming classes wouldn't listen to me, or worse - that at such a small pool, we wouldn't get any kids at all. I watched all the bigger pools at training, how close some of the guards were already, and looked at my own four-guard staff, silently sitting in a circle...and I sighed. I thought the summer would be quiet and dull, full of second-guessing myself and unasked questions, polite small talk and long hours reading because everyone seemed so shy.

I was wrong so many times over, I kinda never want to have first impressions again. (I obviously suck at them.) This has been the most amazing summer in so many ways, for so many different reasons, but you guys are number one on every list. I told people we'd be like a family, because it was the only good thing I could think of to say about such a small staff, but I never thought it would actually be true, never thought that I could become so comfortable with people in just two months. 

You guys have literally been my big brothers and sisters. You've made me laugh until I cried, listened to me when my students were succeeding, and helped me know what to say when they failed. You've made me so angry I threw things, (and forgave me after when I apologized, so ashamed of myself), and looked out for me when patrons were being difficult. You taught me how to run a swim meet (and let me hog the microphone!!), you let me bug you for lesson plan ideas, were patient when I lost track of time and took more than my 15 minute break, and answered every single one of my questions (I know there were a lot.)

I think you know that you're a bunch of pretty special people. But what you don't know is that your impact on me this summer ran way deeper than just your actions. You meant a lot more to me than just afternoon rec swim at the pool, cleaning up the deck, and playing cards on the slow days...I just couldn't figure out how to tell you why.

I was scared this summer because lifeguarding is a new thing for me, but that's not the only thing I was afraid of. After coming out of my first year of high school, and feeling...out of place there, I was dealing with insecurities that I've never had to face before. There were a lot of days when I'd bounce into the pool, happy on the outside, but wondering on the inside if anyone actually really liked me. 

Being with you guys made those uneasy questions go away. I know it sounds weird, but being with you made me feel real, like the person I am on the inside showed on the outside, too, in a way that I'd never been able to achieve at school. I felt so accepted here. I asked you questions that I never would have dreamed of asking anyone else, questions that I hid from the people at school because I didn't want my "homeschool" to show. I kinda forgot that that's who I am. But with you, I didn't feel the need to hide. I was just me, just Olivia, just myself, and you made fun of me and laughed with me and liked me anyway, and it was good. 

I'm so glad we don't get "do-overs" in life, because I would have "re-done" this summer the second I stepped into training, and it would have been a. huge. mistake. You can't possibly know how much you've changed me. I totally don't believe it myself. 

I thought this day, our last day, was going to be hard. I thought I would be so upset, because I don't like goodbyes anyway, but leaving behind such a good thing? I thought for sure it would make me miserable. But you know what? I'm too happy to be sad. I've had too much of a good time to mess it up with tears now. 

I couldn't have asked for a better team, a better pool, a better summer. You guys are the. best! and I'm going to miss you. Thanks for being my family. 


1 comment:

  1. This is the sweetest thing. I'm so happy that you had such an amazing time working with these people. :)


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