On Mothers

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Mothers.  We all have one – that’s how we got here, after all.  And, for the most part, they seem to have been fairly successful.  Mine managed to raise my brother, my sister, and me essentially on her own.  We all seem to have turned out pretty well.  It sure can be hard to listen to them when it comes to our own kids, though.  Am I right?

Last year, the small one developed a paralyzing fear of the water.  He refused to go in a big pool – anything over 1.5 feet was strictly off limits.  Earlier in the summer, he slipped off the bottom step of the pool and went under for a few seconds.  Swim lessons were a real treat after that…  He refused to even sit on the steps of the pool for most of class.

As summer approached, my mom asked several times about swim lessons for the boys.  I know they need to be strong swimmers, but even the mention of swimming in a big pool resulted in the total meltdown of the small one.  I thought maybe I could get him used to the water, especially now that he’s tall enough to actually stand in the shallow end.

Last week, Mom called me about swim lessons.  Again.  And I knew she was right.  She signed both boys up, and I had the pleasure of letting them know.  It did not go over well. The small one cried.  Sobbed,  Completely melted down.  The big one informed me that he already knew how to swim and didn’t need lessons.

I did what any good mother would do in this situation – I bribed them.  Kind of.  The small one had been asking to go to Build-a-Bear.  The big one had mentioned wanting a board game earlier in the day.  We discussed using swim lessons as a means to earn these things.  They had to be active and willing participants in their lessons – every day.  Plus, the big one is a Cub Scout.  He kind of liked the idea of being a strong enough swimmer to help someone in need.

The small one started swim lessons last Thursday – today he finished his third one.  This is a child who clung to me in the pool last Tuesday, begging me to please take him back to the small pool.  He leapt into the pool before his teacher was ready – and survived.  He had his first tea party on the bottom of the pool because, you know, “It’s really fun under the water, Mom!”  He swam to the rope with the noodle on his belly and his back without the teacher holding the noodle.  My heart was most full when he swam to his teacher.  On.  His.  Own.

The small one did it!  He came so far in only three lessons.  He tells me how much he loves swimming – it’s all he wants to do.  He practiced for hours this past weekend.  And you know what, if I hadn’t listened to my mom, none of that would have happened.  Sometimes, Mother really does know best.

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