Julie is

Julie is
as am I. In Julie’s case it is swimming lessons. Swimming
lessons here on the west central coast of Florida aren’t an option they
are a requirement. We are literally surrounded by water and about every
third house has a pool. We are surrounded by houses that have pools.

When we first started swimming lessons we were instructed by the teacher
to try and stay out of sight of the girls. That would help prevent them
from wanting to keep coming back out of the pool to mommy and daddy. I
seem to remember sitting in an upper deck seating area at the local YMCA
pool. It worked. The girls got over the separation very quickly and
were able to focus on the instructor and not on mommy and daddy. As the
lessons went on they would realize where we were and look to us for
encouragement for their accomplishments and we would proudly cheer them on.

We went on to take ballet lessons, and music lessons and of course
skating lessons. Now I am faced with driving lessons and more recently
having to let my oldest take her place out on the roads by herself.
Without me riding along side there in plain sight waiting in case she
needs her daddy. This too is a case where there comes a time where I
have to be out of sight for her to allow her to focus on her task and to
become proficient at driving, just like she did with swimming and skating.

Julie describes the fear of being a parent:

“As the classes continue, large clock ticking on the wall, waves
splash over the edge. I watch the water flow in and out and I realize
how difficult it is for me to learn to swim as a mom. I struggle,
sinking in anxiety. If only I could float. If only I could be flexible
and fluid. If only I could be like liquid. Like love.

Floating is not fighting. I remember learning how to swim, my teacher’s
gentle voice encouraging me to relax and look up as I paddled around the
pool on my back, hands like fish fins at my sides. To survive in this
environment, I must become aquatic. I want to be one with the water,
allowing it to move me, not resisting its flow. With silent prayers and
visible tears, I release the weights and worries. I release my children
and myself. This will be difficult. I’ll have to make new muscles and
new movements. I will struggle and fail. Slowly I will learn to swim. I
will float with my face to the sky.”

It is difficult. Especially so for us. As I do my best to learn how to
swim as the parent for my girls, I too, will and have struggled, and I
too, will and have failed. But I am learning to swim, and I float with
my face to the sky and smile hoping that she is smiling down on us.

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