"I am scared Mommy," my daughter whispers.
She wraps her wet arms around my leg and soaks the fabric of my bathing suit cover up. We are at my friend's country club with a few other moms and their kids. After an hour in the shallow, inviting kiddie pool, our group has moved over to the main pool. My daughter remains paralyzed on the concrete.
The quiet atmosphere is pierced by the giggles coming from the other 2-year-olds who are all jumping into the pool without fear. My daughter watches them in awe, looking up every time she hears a splash in the blue water.
My brave toddler, who swam daily last summer, wants nothing to do with water this summer. She is more aware of the world now and the perceived dangers that fill it. The pool must look vast and unstable from her viewpoint. In June, I managed to coax her into a kiddie pool and by Fourth of July, she went under a sprinkler. Her progress has been slow.
I am anxious to re-join my friends who are chest deep in the pool; these other moms are my lifelines during my long days. But my daughter is insistent on staying on the concrete. I sense that she wants to play with the other kids, but fear is holding her back.
In the deep end, I notice a teenage girl preparing to jump off the diving board. I point her out to my daughter, who is watching with interest. "She is going to dive into the pool," I say and then she does gracefully, her blond ponytail disappearing into the blue water behind her. My daughter's eyes open wide with amazement. She lets go of my leg to clap for the diver's performance.
My daughter announces that she wants to try again. She grabs my hand and leads me to the shallow end of the pool. We walk down the steps together, one at a time. The water reaches her knees, then her torso and then her chest as we descend into the pool.
At every step she turns to me and exclaims, "Mommy, I am in so deep!" When the water reaches her chest, she asks me to carry her. Her little legs wrap tightly around my waist.
A moment later we are in the pool. The cool water feels refreshing after a hot morning in the sticky air of summer. My daughter is smiling and holding onto me with her arms and legs. I whisper to her that I am proud of her for being brave.
Every day that I spend with my daughter is full of lessons and this morning is no different. She reminds me to jump in, to listen to my heart and to be proud of my accomplishments, even if they seem small. Sometimes, being brave means taking our time to ease into a new situation. Sometimes, it means trying something new. Sometimes it means simply asking for what we want, out loud, and then diving right in to get it.
This post initially appeared on Becky's Blog.
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