I sit on a strappy poolside chair that I know is going to be ridiculously hard to get out of in forty-five minutes. The smell of the chlorine mingles with the perfume of sunscreen. It is a hypnotic combination that immediately brings to mind memories of my own childhood spent in various pools across the Midwest.
My youngest child is sitting on the edge of the pool, listening to her instructor the best she can. But being a five year old on her first day of swimming lessons has rendered her (and the rest of the class) fidgety beyond belief.
Finally the instructor lets them all into the water with their kick-boards. For the next five minutes chaos rules supreme amid splashing, shouting, jumping, and a few tears among the more timid. My daughter’s instructor remains calm, however, in the middle of this aquatic bedlam. It’s obvious this isn’t his first time to the rodeo.
Things quiet down eventually and everyone gets down to the serious business of learning to float.
My daughter lies on her back, clutching her kick-board to her chest, while cautiously lifting her legs off the pool floor. As she realizes she is floating, her face breaks out into the most beautiful expression of joy. ”I’M DOING IT!” she boasts gleefully.
Three seconds later she sinks beneath the water, carried down by the weight of her own confidence. She stands up straight with water dripping down her face and sputters, “Well….almost.”
My heart immediately recognizes this scenario. It is one I feel constantly as I mother three children who constantly change and grow. There are times when I think to myself, “I’ve got this maternal gig DOWN, yo!” only to find myself underwater in some new parenting conundrum shortly thereafter.
My five year old tries to float again.
At the end of the lesson she runs over to the chairs as I struggle to get to my feet. ”I was almost doing it Mom! Almost doing it!” she sings to me. ”I can’t wait to try it again tomorrow!”
Me too, baby girl, me too.