Last night the kids had their first swim meet–first of the season, first ever.
I wasn’t worried about the boys.
They’ve grown up around water and we’ve spent every summer since they were born, around and in water.
But Amalia–I had my concerns. She loves swimming, but she’s only five.
Since last summer she has insisted on swimming without help, without a flotation device. As adorable as her determination is, it doesn’t make up for the fact that when she swims it’s a quasi-doggy paddle. It looks like she’s about to sink and never come up again.
As a mother, it’s one of those, “Oh my goodness, she is going to drown,” moments, while at the same time thinking, “Look how happy & proud of herself she is!”
So last night, before Amalia’s first heat, my heart was racing.
Sure, she’d been attending swim practice for a few weeks, but she’s always had one on one help from one of the assistant coaches. I told the volunteer who was helping get Amalia ready for her heat (in hushed tones), “I’m not sure she can make it. She can barely swim.”
I was worried that she’d get halfway down the lane and just stop and sink.
Another mom who was there said: “Don’t worry, she’ll make it. She’ll be fine.”
So I took a deep breath and reassured myself that surely no child would be allowed to drown amongst hundreds of onlooking adults.
I got myself in position across the pool. Amalia was poised at the edge of the pool, crouched on the starting block.
The whistle blew.
Amalia leapt off her starting block. Looking something like an airman jumping from a plane, she plopped into the water, her legs & arms kicking furiously as soon as her body made contact.
And off she went.
She was fast.
She didn’t stop, she didn’t pause, she didn’t slow down. She just kept kicking and moving her little arms until she reached the other end.
She pulled herself out the pool, face beaming.
Lately I’ve been thinking about why we do hard things.
And about how I know I can do hard things.
And about how I know my kids can do hard things.
And about how I know that hard things are a part of the good life.
Is getting out of debt hard? Yes.
Is losing weight hard? Yes.
Is being a kind & attentive parent hard? A lot of times, yes.
Is choosing to live a purpose-driven, productive, and compassionate life hard? Well…it’s not always easy.
But like my little Mali-may, who flew off the starting block, arms & legs spread like a flying squirrel plopping into the water with no trepidation, with confidence that she’d make it across that long, long pool–we can do hard things.
We can do things that scare us, things that we’re not sure if we’re quite up to the task. Things that push us out of our comfort zones & cause us to stretch & grow in ways that we would otherwise not choose to experience.
We can do hard things.
You can do hard things.
I can do hard things.