I am sitting on our deck in Hawaii only because it is raining today, otherwise we would be at the ocean which is my favourite place in the world to be. Later we will head to the pool rain or not because my kids are Canadian and a little rain is not going to stop them from swimming. Haven-Kate who is our baby but isn’t a baby because we’ve already soaked up three and a half years of her would spend all day there, were it solely up to her.
I’m thinking about how she’s learning how to swim, but frankly, she’s already swimming. Two days ago Aaron posted an instagram of her in the pool swimming about half its width stopping to tread water part way through and now with forty-eight hours more experience she’s clearing the width of the pool all by herself.
She has always loved the water, she was the baby who at the beach while still crawling would crawl into the water with zero regard for her personal safety, fall under the water and laugh as you brought her up to the surface. During a summer camping trip we were at an outdoor pool, swimming several days in a row. This pool had a small outdoor slide and each time she went to the top Haven would seek clarity. ‘Okay mom (or dad) don’t catch me. Don’t catch me mom. Don’t catch me I can to do it by myself.’ She wouldn’t leave the top till we’d agreed that we wouldn’t catch her. We’d watch her slip down the slide and splash under the water (heaven forbid we caught her). She would kick herself back up to the surface, a giant smile on her face, at which point we would catch her least she drown herself. Again we’d be told, ‘No don’t help me’ and she’d half dogpaddle, half have us ‘not help’ her to the edge of the pool. Determination and joy.
Yesterday morning she jumped from the edge over and over and over, swam as far as she was able. One of us would hold her for a few seconds and she’d flip around and swim back to the edge. She was interspersing her jumps with calls of ‘yahoo’ or ‘cannonball’ and I couldn’t help be inspired.
Not on her swimming ability (although that is pretty fun too!) but at her joy and zest and drive. Her confidence and her (from my perspective) calculated risk taking. Her fearlessness and the security that must be there to buoy that up. Her effortless ability to be present to the feel of the air rushing around her and the water washing over her and the work of moving her body in a new medium. Her repeated work over and over on something that could be seen as challenging but she only sees as pleasure. Her momentary freedom from anything else going on anywhere.
Thanks for teaching me Haven-Kate.