As I have shared before, Lily has been afraid of water since she was a tiny infant. The first night she didn't scream in the bathtub was the night Hannah died. It was such an odd thing to happen I'm still searching for an explanation.
Because she was afraid of water, Lil was exhausting to take to the pool or Water Country where she would cling to the nearest (known) adult like a limpet and in some cases try to drown them (okay, not really, but I'm sure you know what I mean). She would simply cling and not let go. If you were in the water and you took Bitty in with you, you could guarantee she'd use all four limbs to latch onto you in an effort to keep herself above water. It had nothing to do with not trusting you and everything to do with not trusting the water.
Folks had told us repeatedly we needed to get Lily into swimming lessons. I knew this, but I also knew she simply wasn't ready. I had visions and fears of putting her in lessons and her screaming and shrieking and in general being miserable. I wanted water to be fun for Lil, not terrifying.
I waited (much to the chagrin of many family members, I'm certain) until I felt Lil was ready to face those fears and possibly conquer them. We got a year of kindergarten under her belt with her ending the year feeling like a HUGE success. We found a swim team her friends were on, and I knew it was time. I knew an entire summer of daily lessons would be more beneficial than one week of lessons or one lesson a week for a month.
During her first lesson, Lil was desperate to be brave, but still afraid of the water, clinging to Alex and trying to relax. I've watched my girl grow more confident as the days and lessons pass. I've tried to prod where needed, but for the most part have left it up to the coaches and assistants. We had a meltdown two weeks ago where Lil refused to go in the lane without an adult there with her. I had to have a chat with Coach J about Hannah. The next day (or the day after, I can't remember), I witnessed this:
I couldn't believe it. I was utterly gobsmacked and so overwhelmed with pride in that moment.
And, it wasn't a fluke, for a few minutes later she was swimming back:
My girl has grown more and more confident in herself and her abilities. My goal is not to have her competing, it's simply to have her become more confident and comfortable in the water, and to be able to swim. That's it. I do believe those goals are being more than met for today there was this:
At the end of lessons today she came up to me and said, "I'm going off the diving board, okay, Mom?" I think my jaw must have hit the deck. Sure, she jumped off the starting block into the lane yesterday, but this? This is so much bigger. It's the diving board into the really deep water. And, she didn't hesitate. She just did it and had FUN. Hooray!!!
I'm bursting at the seams with pride for my baby. She was so utterly terrified of the water and now, she's not. One of the best parts of parenting this little girl has been being witness to her overcoming that debilitating fear. There is such joy in her now as she's proud of herself and her accomplishments (which is even more important than what anyone else thinks). This was definitely the year to start. :o)
***ETA 9:42 pm 7/3/12***
I just posted a recipe for "Lemonade Cake" over on FYB. If you are looking for a quick, easy, refreshing dessert for your picnic tomorrow, check it out. :o)
Aaaaand, I found two fun summer songs and posted those as well. :o)