17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.
 

Monday, August 21, 2006

From the Tales Inbox: Cheering Her On

Yesterday at the pool, my six year old daughter, Madilyn, came running up to me, her eyes brimming with tears. "The lifeguard won't let me go down the big slide anymore. She says I'm not tall enough." It turns out that Madilyn, indeed, was one inch too short to go down the big slide. However, yesterday was the first time any of the lifeguards had actually measured her. So although she'd been going down the slide for the last week, if she wanted to go down the big slide again, she either had to grow an inch or pass the infamous "SWIM TEST."

Madilyn and I walked down to the lap pool with the lifeguard (who ominously grabbed a life preserver on the way). As we approached the pool the lifeguard explained, "She needs to swim the length of the pool without touching the sides. She can tread water for a while if she needs a break. But she cannot touch the sides." I have to confess the pool length has never looked longer, and I was worried that Madilyn would not be able to do it. But I gathered as much positive energy as I could, said a silent prayer, and knelt down in front of Madilyn. Her brown eyes widened as she stared at the length of the pool. "Mommy?" She pleaded, her voice revealing her fear. "You can do this!" I encouraged. "Don't forget to come up for air. You can do this!"

Madilyn jumped in the water and started swimming. She has definitely progressed beyond the doggy-paddle. She kicked hard and her arms did baby free strokes. I walked along the pool's edge cheering her on. Behind me, my friend from church, Shannon, and her daughter appeared (they were at the pool and realized Madilyn was doing a swim test). They started cheering Madilyn on with me. About 2/3 of the way, as Madilyn came up for a breath, I saw the fear in her eyes. Madilyn looked to her left and saw a ladder. I could tell she was considering it as an option. I jumped into the pool at the far end, and reached my arm out to her. "You're doing it! You're doing it! Don't stop now!" I yelled. She took a deep breath and kept swimming She swam the last fifteen feet and grabbed my outstretched hand. She climbed out of the pool and everyone cheered, even the lifeguard. I hugged her and hugged her. She whispered, "I didn't think I could do it. That was a REALLY long way." She watched proudly as the lifeguard wrote her name with a permanent marker in the offical swim test book. The lifeguard then wrote her initials on Madilyn's hand, and Madilyn was free to go down the big slide again.

So much of my parenting life, I've done most everything for my children. I've fed them, clothed them, bathed them, read to them, and cared for them. But I realized as I watched Madilyn swim that as a parent, my real job isn't doing things for my children - it's helping my children do things for themselves. I couldn't swim the length of the pool for Madilyn - eventhough I wanted to. All I could do was believe in her, cheer her on, and celebrate with her. So while Madilyn's best part of the day was getting to go on the big slide again, the best part of my day was cheering her on.

By Tales Reader Holly


13 Comments:

  • Holly,

    Thanks for that great post. It's nice to be reminded that even though it may take more time and effort, we should give our kids the chance to do things on their own.
    posted by Anonymous Jinjer at 8/21/2006 08:38:00 AM  



  • What a great post! Thanks Holly.
    posted by Anonymous tracy m at 8/21/2006 09:06:00 AM  



  • I read this on a day when I was not excited about cheering my children on, and of course I was doing the "ugly cry" Thanks H.
    posted by Blogger Kage at 8/21/2006 11:12:00 AM  



  • Thank you so much...you brought tears to my eyes...
    posted by Blogger Cheryl at 8/21/2006 01:19:00 PM  



  • ugh! I am still crying. what a sweet and strengthening post. I know too many parents that would have told their child to wait till they grew taller. Madilyn knows her mom will stand by her no matter what. Great swimming Madilyn!!!
    posted by Blogger ksl at 8/21/2006 02:50:00 PM  



  • What I love is that you got INTO the pool and cheered her on through the last leg of the challenge that way. Reaching you was her goal and reward. What a beautiful image for teaching and encouraging our children to grow up on their own.

    I cried too reading your post. Thanks.
    posted by Blogger sunny at 8/21/2006 04:33:00 PM  



  • Thanks Holly, I'm crying now :)

    I too love that you jumped into the pool, hands outstretched to help bring her on in. What a great parenting moment.

    Great post - thank you
    posted by Blogger chloe at 8/21/2006 04:37:00 PM  



  • Holly, for a second I pictured you jumping in fully clothed, and then rewound and figured you might be in your swimming trunks as well....but in the made-for-tv movie version of this post, you TOTALLY jump in the pull with all your clothes on....
    posted by Blogger Kage at 8/21/2006 05:06:00 PM  



  • We should have put a warning on this one so people could have some Kleenex good and ready. I cried when I read it in the Inbox and I am crying again reading it now. What a beautiful moment and a great reminder of our parental responsibilities.

    Thanks for the post.
    posted by Blogger TftCarrie at 8/21/2006 05:12:00 PM  



  • What a sweet story. I hope I can be a great cheerleader for my kids too.
    I also pictured you jumping in fully clothed at first too...then figured you were in your swimsuit.

    Great job Madilyn! Congrats!
    posted by Blogger Melissa at 8/21/2006 09:00:00 PM  



  • Wonderful post. Thanks for sharing.
    posted by Blogger Stacy at 8/22/2006 07:08:00 AM  



  • I remember when my daughter spent 3/4 of a pool party trying to swim accross the pool (or whining about it) so that she could go down the slide. She didn't manage to do it.
    But, the next time she did it--easy.
    It really is hard to realize that you can't do things for your children. In this day and age parents are supposed to "help" their children with all sorts of advantages that we get into the habit. I recently read an article saying that we are raising a nation of wimps because children don't learn to accomplish things on their own. Definitely something to think about. Sometimes, a sink or swim type of attitude is better and the child builds confidence to handle life's challenges. If we are always there to hold their hand, they won't. Definitely a fine line!
    posted by Anonymous JKS at 8/22/2006 01:16:00 PM  



  • I remember when my daughter spent 3/4 of a pool party trying to swim accross the pool (or whining about it) so that she could go down the slide. She didn't manage to do it.
    But, the next time she did it--easy.
    It really is hard to realize that you can't do things for your children. In this day and age parents are supposed to "help" their children with all sorts of advantages that we get into the habit. I recently read an article saying that we are raising a nation of wimps because children don't learn to accomplish things on their own. Definitely something to think about. Sometimes, a sink or swim type of attitude is better and the child builds confidence to handle life's challenges. If we are always there to hold their hand, they won't. Definitely a fine line!
    posted by Anonymous JKS at 8/22/2006 01:17:00 PM  



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