Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Facing Fears

I just plunked my non-swimming 9 year old in the pool and walked away.

Okay, so it wasn't quite that dramatic.  When Graham was 3 he started to have serious recurrent ear infections.  Ear infections make swimming lessons really difficult.   Ear plugs, ear drops, pink medicine three times a day... not worth the drama.  Last November he had his final (we hope!) surgery, rendering his "bad ear" excuse powerless in the never ending "I can't swim" battle.

So he's in swimming lessons right now.  And I walked away.  If I had stayed, his little blue eyes would have begged and pleaded with me.  "Let me leave," those baby blues would plead.  Tears would well up.  "Why do you hate me so much?  You're ruining my life.  I can't do this."

I left before it even started.  I was honest with him.  There would be jumping in the deep end involved.  There would be water in his face.  He would have to wipe his eyes occasionally.

But mostly, I stressed that he. Would.  Live.  And I'd see him in 30 minutes.

(2 hours later)

He lived.  I was right.  He was grinning from ear to ear when I walked back into the pool area with 4 minutes to go.  I want to think it was mostly pride beaming from that toothy smile, but I'm guessing there was a bit of relief mixed in.  They didn't have to jump in the deep end.  He took his newfound independence home with us and made his own dinner:  A Cub Scout camp inspired mountain pie grilled cheese.  He didn't burn himself.  He cleaned up (most of) the mess.  And he ate the whole thing.

Score one for my battle against the helicopter!

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