This is going to sound sad, but I've never taken the girls to the public pool to cool off. Sure, we've done swimming lessons there a couple times, but when it comes to taking a break from life to go for a swim, we're usually in search of a lake with a sandy beach. But today, I really had no interest to dig sand out of everything and everywhere, so I opted for the cement "beach" at the pool.
Earlier this week, we were there for swimming lessons and it got me thinking about the day Sam is old enough to start swimming lessons. Will he be able to swim on his own someday, or will he always use a lifejacket? I guess it wouldn't really matter either way, as long as he was having fun in the water. As I watch the lifeguards teaching the lessons, I wonder if they'll have the patience to work with Sam each summer, or if I've involuntarily signed up to be his pool pal.
Today, the girls really enjoyed themselves. After MUCH hesitation, they even all jumped off the diving board! Our oldest, who no longer uses a lifejacket, must have walked back and forth from the diving board to where I was sitting on the opposite side of the pool about fifty times to say "I'm not sure if I want to do it. I'm scared." I just kept saying "do it, do it once and I bet you'll do it a hundred more times before we leave." She gives me this 'yeah whatever mom' look, crosses her arms and marches herself away. Not much time passes and she's back, giving me that 'I'm just not sure of myself' look. So I say to her: "Do you see those lifeguards? (I point to both of them) If you go under the water and they think you need help, they'll jump in and save you. They won't even climb down the ladder, they won't even think about it, they'll jump right into the pool and pull you to safety."
I sat back and watched her walk all the way to the other side of the pool, hesitate at the base of the diving board for seriously five minutes, step up onto it, slowly walk to the end, and perform the most beautiful cannon ball I've ever seen. My eyes instantly sprung with tears. I know it sounds silly, but I was proud. It wasn't so much that I was proud of the fact that she could jump off the diving board, because that's really not that big of a deal. I was proud of the fact that she faced her fear and dove in anyway, literally.
Oh how I wish I had the courage to face my fears. I have some silly fears, like bats. Don't even get me started on bats. Kevin just doesn't understand why I'm scared of them, and I don't really know myself what I'm afraid of, but I'm deathly afraid of those little buggers. I fear they'll fly into my hair and get tangled up, or land on my back and bite me, or land in bed with my kids while they sleep, or in bed with me while I sleep. We've had just a few funny (or not) stories about bats around here, I could go on all day...but that's not what this is about. It's about fear. Insignificant or not, a fear is a fear is a fear, and I believe everyone has a right to have fear and a right to refuse to overcome their fear. Period.
I've developed more fear in the last three months than I knew possible. It's just fear of the unknown. You know all these things they say could happen to kids with Downs, well it's not known that they'll happen to Sam, but I fear them anyway.
|Look where Nala decided to take her nap.|
I fear for his health and for his safety. I fear for his sisters, who will undoubtedly always be on the lookout for Sam and how hard it might be for them. I fear what people think about my wild emotions and the judgement that surrounds us these days. I fear I won't do enough to give Sam the life he deserves. I fear we'll lose friends who don't understand what we deal with on a day to day basis and that they won't accept Sam. I fear the day everyone believes we're "ok" and they stop asking how we are. I fear for Sam's future, life beyond high school and the teenage years. I fear that I won't have the courage to step back, let go of these fears and just live for today.
|The girls wanted in on the cat nap too!|
Oh my do I fear. So what should I do with my fear? For one, I know I need to stop fearing tomorrow - it's not here yet. The best quote I've heard is "Don't let the worries of tomorrow take away the joy of today." So, for today, I'll enjoy the kids, the sunshine and the pool, and pray for a lifeguard to save me too. After all, I never took swimming lessons.