Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The Diving Board

My son has come a long way in two years. Two summers ago Thursday afternoons were spent listening to my 2.5 year old scream in terror as he took his first swim lessons. We lasted 12 lessons (and $300) before I finally decided to stop torturing him. Shit... it took three years before we could get through baths without screams. The kid hated water anywhere near his face. Last summer I went the cheap route and enrolled him in the swim program through the parks department. The lessons were every day and he slowly got used to the idea of getting a few drops of water on his sweet face.
On our recent vacation there was a pool in the hotel and my little boy has come so far from even last summer. Husband was throwing him across the pool and he was loving it! He put his face in the water to blow bubbles. Yippee!

Yesterday was the first lesson in the parks dept. summer swim class. He's graduated to the next level and is in the big pool. He did awesome in class -- one eye was watching my 2.5 year old in the kiddie pool and the other eye was proudly watching son dog-paddle out to his instructor.
Towards the end of the session son's class got out of the water and I wondered what was up. Then I saw the tiny swimmers heading toward the diving board! I immediately felt the fear I had when I was a new swimmer and my teacher would lead us the the board. I was petrified. As I watched my son, there was a pit in my stomach and I kept saying to myself, "please jump. Don't let the fear get to you, kid!" His three classmates all jumped before him. They all walked slowly to the edge, pondered their options and then bravely jumped into their teacher's arms. I watched son go up the ladder and walk out to the edge. For a second I thought he was going to do it. I thought... "the kid is going to do it, you were wrong to project your fears onto him." But he made a mistake... he thought about it. It was over. He looked down at his instructor, looked at the pool, and turned around and climbed back down the ladder.
Damn! Son is usually quite brave with things like this. He'll jump from very high places at the playground and he goes on any roller coaster that he is tall enough for.

Our goal is to do the jump before the end of this swim session in two weeks. I just don't want him to end up with the same fears that I had -- fears that stopped me from doing things that I should have been able to do. I know he'll do it, though. Look how far he's come in 2 years. And if he doesn't? Well, he's got a very understanding mom.

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