When my little daughter was a baby, we’d bring her along to swim lessons with her older sister. We wanted for her to be unafraid. She loved it, and would float peacefully on her back while her sister dove and splashed all around her. When people would ask her how she was doing that day she’d say in her froggy baby voice, “swimming in the water”. That meant good. If you asked her what she wanted to do, the answer was always swimming the water. The pool was definitely on her favorite things list.
Years later, we put her in lessons of her own, so that she could learn to officially swim, and she was petrified. She’d stand at the side of the pool as though she’d never seen one before, let alone loved swimming in the water. And because life without a beach is just odd, and she gets further and further away from us each year, we kept her in lessons until she became comfortable again.
And that is me, these days. Staring at the pool, petrified. Things that used to be easy and peaceful are suddenly not going so swimmingly. Maybe I’ve been out of the pool for too long, and I’m old enough to know the dangers of the deep end.
I watched my baby from an upstairs observation deck the last time she took a swim test. I was calm when she started out but as she approach water that was well over her head and she started looking around the pool, my breath caught in my chest. It was a very long way to the other side, and we both knew it.
At 6 feet, my palms were a little sweaty. Why wasn’t the teacher next to her?
At 9 feet I thought, “Shouldn’t she have one of those float-y things?”
And I held my breath at the deepest of the deep end, waiting for her to touch the wall. I exhaled, no one drowned, and I watched her swim back until she could climb out on her own. She threw me thumbs up, and grinned. Maybe she could feel my worry through the glass. I was standing up – one hand pressed to it after all.
That’s what I remembered this week. When things get scary, start swimming. Looking around, considering how far I am from the end is not getting me there any faster. I know what I’m doing, in fact, it’s one of my favorite things!
I’d better go get back in the pool.