Oh, what a difference a week makes.
Last night, our mantra was ‘BIG AND BRAVE!’ as we set out for the Y. We chanted this through Family Fitness class, through a quick change to a swim suit, and while Auntie Cindy showed Zoey the stash of Curious George fruit snacks she had brought to the Y, and which would be Zoey’s for the taking, if she could be BIG AND BRAVE! at swim lessons.
Zoey grabbed my hand, as usual, as we walked down the hallway toward the pool. Swinging our hands, I would remind Zoey that tonight she was going to be BIG AND BRAVE!
Me: BIG AND BRAVE, Zo! It’s going to be your night!
Zoey: Big and brave and sad!
Me: You can be all three at the same time! That’s okay!
I was determined to speak only in exclamation points until the child got in the pool. We scooted out on the pool deck just as her class was ready to hit the showers. This turned out to be perfect. Zoey, like a reflex, tightened her grip on my arm…but then her friend Hiromi said hi to her and Coach Michael told her she could put her towel in the bin and then there was a brief second where she let go…and I seized my opportunity. A quick kiss. A tightening of the loose goggle strap around her dark blonde head. A big smile and a ‘have a great swim lesson, bug! I love you!’
And I was gone.
I was not going to stand for another half hour on the pool deck. Judge if you must. But after eight hours on my feet at work, and dragging my butt through Family Fitness class, the bones in my feet were screaming at me. I love my child. I do. But she was fine, and I was determined to treat this like any other swim lesson–or, the lessons we had pre-Coach-Michael, when my kid would skip happily off in to the chlorine-scented sunset with her beloved instructor.
She did great.
I settled in to my chair (ahhhh!) next to Auntie Cindy and we watched as Zoey swam, kick-boarded, jumped and bobbed along with her classmates. There were no mournful looks thrown my way, clearly asking to be rescued. Crisis averted.
And fruit snacks taste extra good when tinged with the sweet flavor of success. Or so I’m told.