Friday, January 29, 2010

Litmus Test at the Y

Wednesday we took our sweet peas to the new Y just minutes from our house to go swimming. We have couple of free passes to try out their new facility and we plan to take full advantage of them to make sure membership is worth it. I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I was to go. I felt like a kid in a candy store all giddy and starry eyed. I even called Hubby at work to remind him.

So what’s the big deal? Well…I LOVE to swim. Since the first time my mom put me in the pool and signed me up for swimming lessons I have been in love with water. And guess what? I married a man who adores the water just as much as me! One really hot summer we spent most evenings at Lake Coeur d’Alene sometimes swimming until it was almost too dark to hike out from the trail. I love these memories and I can’t wait to make new ones with our kids.

I know this may sound strange but while we were waiting to bring our kids home, one of my worries was what if they don’t like water? What if they don’t like to swim? I know, I know of all the things to worry about you chose this? Yes I did. Sometimes it is helpful to worry about trivial things when it is too much to think about the really big things. At least for me it is.

When we were in Ethiopia our sweet peas were not too sure about their first couple of baths. This was all new to them. I believe they were washed and rinsed while standing in a shower area. I don’t believe they ever had a bath before.

But when we got them home, boy did their love for water blossom. In fact both of them have no problem dunking their head face first in the water. Isaac will even hold it there for a couple of seconds. And yes I had many small heart attacks the first few times he did this. To say the least, Hubby and I were thrilled to see them take to water like a duck. We have talked about membership at the Y ever since.

Like I have said before new experiences with our sweet peas can bring about a lot of unexpected things. We were pretty sure that Jocelyn would be fearless since she is our Pistol Princess while we expected Isaac to be more subdued. Can I just tell you how wrong we were? We were very wrong. Isaac was fearless in the water. I took him out in the deeper area of the water and he loved it. He couldn’t get enough of the pool. He completely trusted me.

Jocelyn’s experience was polar opposite. She was very unsure of the water and when I took her into the deeper water she began to cry. It was then that I realized that this was much bigger than just being in a swimming pool. This was a litmus test as to how well Isaac and Jocelyn have attached to us. Isaac’s willingness to go anywhere in the water while trusting that we would be there for him showed us how well he has attached to us (which we already knew but it doesn’t hurt to have a little affirmation). Jocelyn’s crying and unwillingness to trust me in the water proved to me (and Hubby too) that Jocelyn hasn’t completely attached yet.

Being somewhere new and needing help kept her from feeling in control and forced her to rely on us which was the last thing she wanted to do. She even cried to go to her Daddy which is rare when she is upset. Usually I am the only who can calm her. But being with me meant she had to face that she was not in control and that she needed to depend on me. It was more than she could deal with. I gave her over to her Daddy but soon after he brought her back and said “she needs you.” He knew she needed me even if she didn’t want me. I am so grateful to be married to a man who can recognize what our children need even if they unable to accept it.

I took Jocelyn back and she began crying again saying “bye bye.” I knew I couldn’t grant her request. I knew we needed to walk through this together so I grabbed one of our towels, wrapped her up tightly, waded out in to the shallow water and began to sing to her. I held her close and continued to sing as her tears quickly subsided. After a while we sat in the water with her still tightly wrapped in the towel. She began watching the kids and I could see her finally processing her surroundings in a calm manner. At one point she nodded with her head and said “tuck.” I asked her if she wanted to touch the water coming down out of the bucket above. She nodded yes. I unwrapped Jocelyn and threw away the towel while she wasn’t looking. She quickly came back after touching the water and sat on my lap looking for the towel. I told her she was ok and held her close while continuing to talk to her. She soon left the comfort of my arms to go touch the water again…then again… then again. Soon she was laughing and playing in the water with her brother. By the end of the night, she was walking around like she owned the place. Ah, there’s my Pistol Princess!

But the best moment came when she laid back in the water and allowed for me to hold her head while she floated. She then allowed me to pick her up and float her whole body. The whole time she was relaxed and willing to trust me to take care of her. It was priceless. It was precious. It was an emotional moment… one I will never forget. As we continue to form a family, these moments mean more to me than life itself. I never expected a simple night at the pool to have such significance or to be a litmus test of how well we are bonding but it was and our family is better for experiencing it.

1 comment:

  1. What a tender, honest, insightfully profound post. Thank you for sharing!


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