I don't really have any memories of the Olympics when I was little. I am not sure if we didn't watch them, or if just nothing stood out in my mind until 1996 in Atlanta. I was 16 when the Olympics were there, which is just a few hours south of where I live. But as life would have it, we were on the other side of the country during the games. All the way in Hawaii for a family vacation of a lifetime. Our internal clocks were a mess, so we found ourselves up insane hours according to Hawaii, but very logical hours for Atlanta. So we watched. And watch and watched and watched.
I mostly remember the gymnastics. The vault of all vaults on the broken foot. And I remember the love of the games growing, sitting there with my family in the middle of the Hawaiian night. It's one of my favorite Olympic memories, not the vault, but the time together as a family.
Last night as I got Henry dressed for bed he asked if he could watch the Olympics in Mama and Papa's bed. It felt like a great idea to me. Bedtimes are flexible, if my boy wants to watch the games with his Mama every four years I am 100% okay with ignoring the clock.
We get into bed and are watching some swimming races. At first he is laying down and I think he might fall right to sleep, but then he sits up and starts to watch a little closer. It's the Michael Phelps semifinals for the 200 butterfly. Not even a medal race. But he is watching as they dive in, watching as they make their first turn, then the second.
"Mama... are they swimming fast?"
"Yes baby! They are swimming very fast!"
"MAMA! They are fast! FAST LIKE LIGHTNING MCQUEEN!"
"That's right Henry! Are they like Nemo?"
"No Mama. They Fast like MCQUEEN! "
a few seconds later I cheer as Phelps touches the wall first, making it to the finals tomorrow night. Henry shouts "HE WON!! HE WON MAMA!! DID HE WIN? HE WON!!!!!!!!" He grabs my arm, all smiles, "DID HE WIN, MAMA? HE WON!!"
It might not be his first Olympic memory, twenty years from now he will say he was too little to remember the London games. But from now until forever it will be one of my favorites. Watching my boy cheer for an American swimming legend, in a small, uneventful semifinal swim. Watching him just starting to love the games. Sharing a moment with him, sharing something with him I love.
It was a great Olympic Memory. Right up there with the one in Hawaii sixteen years ago. Not the swim, but the memory of me and him, laying there watching it together.