JulieLeung.com: a life told in tidepools

pictures and stories from the water’s edge

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September 14th, 2003 · No Comments

The next two posts are pieces I wrote about taking Abigail to the pool this summer…

At the end of swim lessons, the teacher gave Abigail a certificate with an evaluation. “Good Job” she wrote and “Practice going on your back”

So last weekend I took Abigail back to the pool to work on her back float. But all my daughter wanted to do was play. She wanted to goof around, simply walking in the water, taking a kick board or noodle along for the ride like a pet. Anxious to practice for her upcoming second set of swim lessons, I decided to try to put her on her back.

She didn’t want to do it. I told her that if she wanted to take more swim lessons we needed to practice. Relunctantly, she let me hold her on her back in the water. Her body was rigid, even bent, a “V” of sorts. I saw why the teacher wrote what she did. Water was getting in her ears, she cried. She struggled. She complained. She wanted out.

Relax, I told Abigail. I tried to convince her to loosen her muscles and lie flat. How to teach her to float? I wasn’t sure, but I knew I needed to help her at least be straight in the water, to relax and trust, not resist in fear. But she didn’t seem to understand what I was asking her to do.

Abigail wanted to play and do her own things in the pool. Every ten minutes I stopped and tried to help her practice being on her back. The second time she fought me more. She started to cry. Didn’t want to do it. I told her fine, no more swimming lessons then, if she didn’t want to try being on her back any more. She submitted – and to my surprise, she almost floated, her body straightening and softening into a line, bobbing near the surface. Abigail was calm and confident. Then she wanted to try it by herself – wearing her swim pack – and I was proud to watch her learning to float alone, letting the water sweep over her body.

Going to bed tonight I realize how tight my shoulders seem, the heaviness around my head. I carry too much – not just heavy things in my arms – but heavy things in my heart. As I tried to fall asleep in my bed I think about Abigail. I think of learning to float. Lying down, I let go in my shoulders. I try to relax and think about floating, letting go and letting God hold me up, getting wet in His waves washing over me. I confess and He carries me into my dreams.

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