Jack and Will are taking swim lessons this week.
Jack is like a nut brown cork, bobbing, dipping,
slipping in and out of the water.
He was made for water.
Will, on the other hand, wants to change his shorts
if a droplet of water lands on him.
Last year, Will clung to the side of the pool with a vise like grip,
tears pouring from his eyes, his anguished cries piercing the air.
I made him stay in the pool.
It is good for him, I told myself,
as that hard thing formed in my throat,
letting me know my own tears were near the surface.
His teachers, who I think were very tan 14 year olds,
told me it was okay, they would keep working with him.
This went on for four days
despite bribery attempts and promises of candy.
Will would be thrust into the pool, weeping.
He would absolutely not put his head in the water.
I felt frantic, my thoughts see-sawing between,
"Swimming is a needed lifeskill" vs. "You are a terrible mom."
Other parents gazed on me with pity.
On day five, I made an executive decision.
I said,"You know what? We're done. Willie, come here."
I folded him in an enormous purple towel and
squeezed him like there was no tomorrow.
And Will stopped weeping.
And this Monday, at his first lesson, Will eased him self into the pool
and began to blow some bubbles.
I almost instantaneously combusted with pride.
On Tuesday, he held his nose and put his head all the way under.
All the way.
Each time he would come up for air,
he would beam and I gave him a thumbs up.
Yesterday, the class learned kicking.
But Will was all about putting his head under.
And I continued with my outpourings of praise and "thumbs ups".
Because with every head dunking,
we are celebrating that Will has conquered his fear.
And that is the stuff that makes life sweet.