Am I Really That Inspiring?

My son, Bryan, has always been a swimmer.  When the Southdale YMCA opened in February of 1975, I took him for his first lessons at the age of 4 months.  Bryan joined the Southdale Beaver Swim Team at the age of 6 and swam competitively on various teams until he graduated from St. Olaf College.  He rediscovered his swimming spirit about 6 years ago, training with Master’s programs in Rochester.  He says that I have inspired him to set the goal to swim the English Channel.  Am I really that inspirational?

In August, Bryan, 35 years old, will make his first attempt to swim 19 nautical miles (about 22 miles), crossing the English Channel  from Shakespeare Beach in Dover, England, to Cap Gris Nez, the headland between Calais and Boulogne, France.  Bryan will be swimming across a very busy section of the channel.  There are more than 600 commercial ship movements each day in the middle of the Channel and 80-100 ferry crossings between Dover and Calais.  This certainly strikes fear in a mother’s heart!  But I am a woman of faith.

Bryan has been practicing for the Channel attempt since September 2007, averaging 8,000-10,000 yards per day, six days a week. In December 2009, he completed a 12-hour swim for charity at the Rochester Recreation Center, not only training for the upcoming swim, but also raising $3,000 for the Masonic Cancer Center University of Minnesota for research in soft-tissue sarcoma, a tribute to my survivorship.  It was quite an accomplishment.

When asked how I feel about being part of the inspiration for this amazing and challenging goal my son has set for himself, my response is overwhelmingly positive.  I am grateful and more than happy and willing to be an inspiration to anyone who knows me or hears my story; but that is not my intention.  I am living life.  And so is Bryan.  Bryan’s goal setting, and the work and effort that he has put into achieving this goal is all his.   There are many people who have given him support in this effort, his family chief among them, but there are so many others for and to whom I would express my gratitude.  I am pleased and eager to be able to support and celebrate Bryan’s goal with him because it exemplifies what I encourage everyone to do – discover and use your talents, face what life brings you, choose you attitude and live life.

In the last 2 weeks Bryan has faced two significant health challenges that would cause some to postpone their goal and wait for some future time when it might be easier to achieve it.  He is definitely experiencing a narrow spot or two!!!  However, Bryan has chosen his attitude and is working toward his goal, seeing these challenges as “training opportunities” rather than obstacles.  Bryan is a hero.

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