Yesterday evening Kennedy and I went swimming with Sally. The sun was shining bright in Texas, but some how it still felt comfortable. There was a south east breeze, and it was only 95 degrees. When being outside at 5:00 feels like this, I don't want it to end.
We all got in the water quickly. It was incredibly warm; it almost felt like a bath. Sally and I encouraged Kennedy to "relax, trust us, let go and swim."
"Mommy, I'm not having any fun." This was all I needed to hear to remember that there is nothing fun about people telling you what to do and how to do it. So we stopped interfering with Kennedy's pace of doing things and took it easy.
Kennedy took her time getting comfortable in the water. She "swam" along the edge of the pool with one arm on the pool's edge and one arm out front. I whispered to her that if she wanted to, she could jump in and I would catch her.
Success! And then even ore progress; she jumped in and swam two strokes to me. She jumped to me nearly 30 times and with each jump, her confidence grew. I knew that she had an image of herself jumping off a 20 foot board and coming up effortlessly.
One time after a horse riding lesson, her teacher told me "Kennedy was pretty timid, but she stayed on the whole time." On the way home from that lesson, Kennedy's story was quite different. She told me that her horse saved her from another aggressive horse and that they jumped over a barrel. It's ok with me, if her imagination helps her self confidence as she grows.
We were impatiently waiting to eat when Sally invited Kennedy to go down the slide. Kennedy sat on Sally's lap for the first ride and immediately realized riding was not for her. She could do this on her own! She did, and with each time she asked Sally to move further and further away and not catch her.
"Kennedy, I'm proud of you for being so brave." I wanted to encourage her for letting go of that anxiety that she and I know so well.
"I'm proud of myself." There is something magical about seeing my kids proud of themselves. It fills me up with peace.
On our drive home, Kennedy called each of her grandparents to describe her adventures to them and invite them back the next day to watch. "I went down the slide by myself with no one catching me. You can come tomorrow and see me. I'll be there at 12:00. OK?"
I listened to their conversations on the phone as I was driving, and I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude that I have two parents and two in-laws that are with us, and that we are able to share these moments with them. The feeling literally took my breath away.
In my gratitude journal tonight is:
- My loving and committed husband
- My wonderful son and daughter
- My sisters who share so much of life with me
- My loving and devoted parents
- My generous and kind in-laws
- My precious niece and adventurous nephews
- My sweet sister in-law
- All of our family.