No more floaties.
I peer down through the water and see her looking through her goggles at my submerged hands beckoning her to go just a little further, just a couple more strokes, before she reaches her goal and I lift her up above my head to watch her smile from ear to ear.
‘I can swim!’ she shouts.
I’m having a proud daddy moment.
(As I type this, I can hear her telling her neighborhood friends all about it around our backyard swing).
I don’t know why it was such a big deal to me to teach my daughter how to swim. There were plenty of classes available. Maybe I equate a summer afternoon at the pool with one of the few happy memories I have of my childhood.
I can still vividly see the sunlight shimmering as I would push off the wall with both feet and zoom through the water. I can still feel the smooth bottom of the pool on my belly was I would skim over it wishing I could hold my breath for hours, wishing I was a dolphin. I was even on the school’s swim team and actually did pretty well.
So for the past two years, G and I have gone to the YMCA or to the neighborhood pool to have some fun while I tried to show her the ropes. Fortunately, she loved the water and learned while playing. She was a good ‘student’ (fearless) and tried new things. But it’s always been with floaties or life vests.
Yesterday, it happened. We had been swimming for about an hour. It was almost time to go. I asked if she wanted to try some swimming without any help.
In the shallow end, standing on the second step down, she jumped towards me and started dog paddling. We’d tread water before so this was good progress. But then she put her head under the water and within two breaststrokes was in my arms. (Amazement)
“Let’s do that again!” she yelled.
Again and again, further and further she swam until she was able to swim from the steps to the rope that separated the shallow from the deep end. (Pride)
Watching her struggle so hard just to keep her nose above water ,sometimes swallow and cough, and the realization that she may someday want to try this on her own led to the (Terror). We had “the talk” about always having a grownup to swim with if she wanted to try it again – which she does. Right now.
We’re off to the pool.
But last night at bedtime…
G: “Why did you keep calling me your little guppy?”
“Because guppies are little fish that can swim really well like you.”
G: “But I’m still your baby boo, right?”
“Forever, baby boo. Forever.”