Dear Lord, if I have but one day to live, please take me to a swim meet because they last freakin’ forever!
If your kids are on a summer swim team, then you’ve been hunting down the month of July like it’s your job! Swim team brings out the best of everybody’s complaining – parents are mad because it’s the 4th meet in the pouring rain, swimmers are whining “I don’t want to” “I’m tired” “I’m cold” “I’m wet” and non-swimmer siblings are
O-V-E-R it. Way. There’s enough water in the pool already so everybody quit crying and swim, right?
The heart and soul of our swim program is the legendary Sandra Sneden. She’s building a tradition one stroke at a time and I marvel at her truly amazing spirit.
She’s at every practice and every meet – way before the start to the bitter bitter end. She ALWAYS wears a smile and what brings out the worst in the rest of us does not get Sandra down. She’s still smiling in the pouring rain. She’s still positive at 10PM when we’ve been at it for 5 hours and aren’t even halfway through the events. She is the model of patience when we are all breaking down and whining and crying. (and by “we” I mean the parents) Her passion and dedication are truly inspirational.
Smarty Charlotte, I bow down to Sandra and am so very thankful for her contribution and leadership. All hail the Queen of Foxcroft East Swim!
Smarty Mom Fast Facts:
Married to: Will Sneden for 16 years
Mom to: Gina Spinale (24), Julia Sneden (15), Adam Sneden (12)
Job: Library Circulation Assistant, Providence Day School
Neighborhood: Robinson Woods
Hometown: Born and raised in San Francisco
1. How long have you been leading swim at Foxcroft East and why do you love it? This is my third season as swim team rep and I carry on in a long line of wonderful, caring swim reps–the ones I learned from. My kids have been swimming for Foxcroft East for the past 10 years. Why do I love it? I kind of LOVE watching kids swim–fast kids, slow kids, your kids, my kids. I equally love watching the little ones flop in at the start of a race and witnessing the older ones flying off the blocks. I am energized by the spirit of competitive fun that is summer rec swimming. As a kid I learned the basics of swimming for survival; it was required for graduation in California at that time–something about San Francisco breaking off from an earthquake and floating in the Pacific–we all had to learn how to swim. And in our family swim lessons meant hopping a bus and a street car to get to the best indoor city pool that gave Red Cross lessons. That’s where we learned the “crawl”, sidestroke and how to tread water–survival, nothing competitive. Today, I am watching these amazing little creatures do beastly flip turns and massive butterflies and race with all their heart. I am in awe of them all. When I’m feeling down or cranky, they energize me and lift me up.
2. What is something that most people don’t know about you? Growing up each Sunday we had what my mother called “Music Appreciation Hour”, which seemed like the plural. We all sat in the living room and my mom put on the LPs of her favorite operas. We would hear the operas over and over, each Sunday getting through two or three acts. Well it was sort of boring for us so my sister and I began to read the librettos and follow the singing in the original language and then in translation. My brother would put his transistor radio under his pillow and lie on the floor tuned to “KYA radio 1260. San-Fran-Cis-Co.” Short of the story is I am rabid about opera and have every note of La Boheme, Carmen, La Traviata and Madame Butterfly etched in my soul. I can sing some of the major arias, too, but I’d rather people not know about that. The moral of that story is that sometimes you are forced to do something that becomes a great love of your life.
3. Now for the important stuff … who is your celebrity crush? Sean Connery and Roger Federer for starters.
4. What is the last meal you cooked? Turkey burgers on the grill. I’m usually pretty good with coals or propane but I ruined this meal. Will and the kids gave me a hard time about it but then they respectfully gobbled them up.
5. If you wrote a parenting manual, the title would be… Yoga Parenting: Ten Lessons in Flexibility and Freedom. When I grew up most parents were fairly rigid in their parenting style. Today, I believe we have overcorrected. Also, underparenting in the past has been replaced with overparenting. So yea, yoga comes to mind because finding a balance in these areas takes a lot of core strength and can put you in some unnatural positions. Maybe each lesson or chapter could relate to a pose–like the Warrior or the Downward Dog. I’ve been both.
6. Household chore you despise the most? Changing the bedsheets. With the variety of mattress choices–firm, pillow top, ultra pillow top–the sheets these days are either too small or too big. It’s impossible to find a Goldilocks sheet! You have to really work to tuck it tight like my mom did, so I really don’t like changing the bedsheets.
7. Behavioral trait you hope your children don’t inherit from you? Nail biting. It’s just ugly. I don’t remember how I started but I cannot stop.
8. The phrase you’ve said to the kids more than any other at home is… There’s “You’re lucky I love you…” and then there’s “Help me obi wan kenobi, you’re my only hope.” Both probably said to inspire guilt.
9. Household appliance you couldn’t live without? Is a corkscrew an appliance? I can do dishes and wash clothes and even sweep carpet but it’s hard to crack open a bottle without breaking it.
10. Funniest thing your children have ever said to you? On a grocery run with my youngest, who was helping me remember the important things I needed to buy: We got to a certain isle and he said, “Do you need any Mommy Juice?” Well, it was funny at the time.
11. Guilty pleasure? The Turtleman. How guilty is that?!?!