It doesn’t matter that this week in August is barely warm and slightly breezy. Seems summer came in late and is leaving early. School starts a week from this Wednesday and we have only a few days left to squeeze out all that’s left of it. Almost everyday for the past week we have been at the pool. I dread taking off my cover up but my girls run in without a thought or hesitation of the way they look. Only thing on their mind is having fun in the water. I hang mostly with the 2-year-old on drowning patrol but the 7 & 9-year-old frolic from the lazy river to the slides and then to the deep end and back again. Just in the last week they have ventured to the diving boards. I was nervous watching them and more than once thought it took a couple of seconds to long before a head would pop up from under the deep water.
My middle gets tired as she nears the edge and will turn on her back and gently kick the rest of the way to safety. Neither girl has had swim lessons, they just play and floated and one day over the past summers and visits to hotels picked up the kicking, paddling and strokes necessary to swim.
It amazes me to see such different personalities in sisters. It shouldn’t because my sisters and I are so different. Somehow I figured if they came from the same batter shouldn’t the cakes be the same flavor?
My middle is fearless and bold and went for the high dive. She plugs her nose and runs off. My oldest is contemplative, cautious and worried. She climbs the ladder slowly and creeps back down backwards in shame after numerous failed attempts. I’m guilty of cheering from the side – “you can do it, just jump” and when she approaches me I ask her why she doesn’t just trust and jump in, it’ll all be ok? She asks me not to say anything out loud if she tries it again. I feel bad.
My middle begs me to jump off the high dive and releaved I ask her, “who will watch the baby?” The oldest marches over to me and says, “I will!” I know I have to take the advice I had been dishing out and I slowly head for the board. I ask the life guard if it will snap under my weight and he laughs and then says, “no”. The ladder has small steps and I pity the person’s view behind me.
It’s high up here and my stomach hurts. I feel dizzy and I don’t want to let go of the railing that only extends half way out the plank. It’s also springy and I can’t stand still. Time has stopped. Do I try to dive even though I don’t know how? Will I break my neck and need a wheelchair and a tube to blow into to transport myself after I emerge? Do I jump off and break both ankles when I hit the water? What if my tankini comes off? What if? What if? “JUMP” my girls scream. I take one last look around. I’m on top of the world. I pray that Jesus spares my life and limb and I jump. I’m not sure how I looked or what I did but I hit the water with my lower back and suppose I half flipped. Seems I’m going down so far and I instinctively swim back to the surface in what to me takes to long. I gasp for a breath and then I hear it. My girls jumping up and down, laughing and clapping for me. I love it.
My oldest doesn’t decide to do it this day but she did the next. I don’t think she did it because I did, I think she did it when she was ready. Not to get all Andy Rooney on you but the whole high dive thing is a lot like scary, new life experiences.
You have to do it yourself. When you’re ready. It’s a slow process. There is waiting and praying involved. People are always watching. Sometimes they cheer and sometimes you want people not to say anything to you. You have to be brave. You have to let go. Sometimes its fun, sometimes its not. You don’t know how it will turn out. You might get hurt. There is a life guard waiting to save you.