Did I say that out loud?

Thoughts and musings of a mom

My Tenacious Starfish

on July 15, 2014

I took my girls swimming yesterday at our local pool. Because I was not planning on swimming with them, I had to sit in the upper deck to keep a watchful eye on them from there. I had brought a book with me, with the intentions of completing it before the library staff came to my door, demanding it back. In between paragraphs, I turned my eyes back down towards the pool to observe the action below me.

As a mother, I could probably give you an extensive list of the differences between my two children. Knowing full well that neither one of them was switched at birth, it is amazing to experience the differences between them as they grow and mature. The pool is where the playing field is levelled, for my youngest, the daredevil of dry land, would rather “play” in the smaller, shallow pool. Although perhaps, it’s just showing her real age there. While my oldest, who is normally more reserved, keeps to herself, ventures out on a limb, so to speak.

I watched as she, the quiet, almost ten year old, noticed the rope hanging there at the deep end. In sheer determination, she walked to the rope, but because it was strung too far from the edge of the pool, she needed some assistance to get the rope over to her so that she could hang from it and drop into the pool while she flew through the air. There were three or four boys there as well, clearly that many years older than her. They obliged and assisted her in reaching the rope that was just out of her reach. This went on for quite a while, probably a good twenty minutes or more.

She stayed there. She kept leaping from the rope, swimming quickly back over to the side of the pool, joining the boys in a quasi line up, and repeating the same ritual over and over again.

And I watched from the deck.

I was in amazement of this little girl of mine. I wished I could see my almost ten year old self doing the same thing, but I was fairly certain I wouldn’t have. I pictured myself as being intimidated by these boys, their whoops and hollers, their comradery. I didn’t see the self-confidence and tenacity that my daughter so clearly demonstrated.

After a while, more children joined them, and it became too crowded for my daughter, so she walked to the other end of the pool, and climbed up onto a big green piece of foam to float. There she laid out on it, on her back, face up, arms and legs like a starfish, happy as a clam. Peaceful. Restful. Perhaps more like I could picture myself.

As we left the pool afterwards, I didn’t mention anything to her about her adventures out on the rope. I don’t think she needs to know that boys, older children, or anybody for that matter, could be given the ability some day to intimidate her because she’s a girl, smaller or younger. May she always have that confidence, the head strong knowledge, to do what she wants to do. To jump in the water over one’s head, eyes wide open, breath held, arms reaching up, happiness enveloping her.

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