This photo may look like anything but victorious, but if you look beyond the crocodile tears, you’ll notice something shiny {victorious}.

You may know, Piper is pretty shy til she gets to know you.  She’s my gentle old soul with the most soulful eyes I’ve ever seen.  Whatever Piper is feeling, you’ll see through her eyes.

Happy, sad, angry, scared, excited, tired, sick, apprehensive ... or as you see in this photo ... brave.

Here’s the story ... Piper made swim team back in June, but because of the vacations we’ve taken, she’s not made many of the practices or had a chance to build any camaraderie with her teammates.  She had a swim meet a couple of weeks ago ... it was her first and she froze up at the gate and refused to swim.

For a while now, she’s been wanting to have her ears pierced ... so I did what any good mother would do ... I bribed her!  Swim in your next meet {this past Tuesday} and I’ll take you to get your ears pierced.  She agreed.

But man!!  She did not want to swim.  She kept asking what would happen if she didn’t do it.  Would she still get them pierced and when ... on and on.  Curt talked to her, I talked to her, Taylor talked to her, her coach talked to her, and her teammates talked to her.

She finally decided to do it.  She had two events ... freestyle & breaststroke, and she’d be in the clear.

To see this humble little peanut of a girl, up at the starting block, waiting for the horn to blow, knowing her insides were dancing all over kingdom come ... I wanted to jump up and grab her and tell her she didn’t have to do it and we’d be off to her piercing anyway.  Of course I didn’t ... because I also wanted to see this little peanut come out of her shell and make it across that pool.  She’s good ... she can do this.  She’s the youngest member of the team and chosen because she was good enough!

The horn blew and off she went ... I promise you, the fastest freestyle you’ve ever seen out of a 6 year old!  She swam with all her might as I fought the crowds to get to the end of the pool to take a photo finish.  But as I got to the end of the pool, just as she was getting to the end of her lane and finishing, she stopped.  Hmm, note to self ... “make sure you tell Piper she needs to touch the wall when she gets to the end of her lane.”

I was SO proud of her.  I was puffed up with pride {sorry God ... it was only a moment}.  That’s my baby and she did it.

Now for her next event, the breaststroke.  “Which stroke is that again?” she wanted to know.  And her coach explained it to her.  So once again, she’s at the starting block.  The horn blows and off she goes ... she dives in, she’s underwater ... why isn’t she surfacing?  Wait!  Is she doing the breaststroke underwater?  That would be a big ol’ affirmative!  She came up for air and then right back under.  The best underwater freestyle you’ve ever seen ... and she came in second place!

It was awesome to see her blossom that day.  And off we went to the mall to get her ears pierced.  She was so excited.  That is until the first one went in {yes!  they did them one at a time!}.  Her eyes welled with tears, but she didn’t break down and let them finish what she came to have done!  I’m so proud of her, and I hope she’s proud of herself ... it was quite a day.

And for the record ... that was her last swim meet.  She had one today, but refused to swim in it.  I couldn’t very well offer a second piercing ... and she declined the tattoo offer too.  :)

Click here for more photos from the day.

On another subject, thank you to everyone who helped me choose a photo to enter {I haven’t officially entered yet ... I’m not quite sure why I’m procrastinating, the deadline is tomorrow.}  I think I’ll be submitting the photo shortly.  I think it’s just that I want it to be perfect ... okay, bad aspiration, I know ... but I can’t help it.  It’s just that I’m sending it to a professional photographer and most of the other submissions seem to be sent from professionals ... or at least, very good amateurs {that should be professionals}!  I’ve noticed that a few people have sent in a series of photos ... so here are the ones I’m planning to send in.  Actually, I’m only going to send a handful of them ... but these are my top picks.  And I realize the post-processing I’ve done may kill my chances, but it’s something that I’m trying to learn more of.  Okay, enough rambling ... click here to view them.

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