Yesterday I came home from my early morning walk to find my three girls already in their swimsuits.
"We're ready, Mom!"
"Oh my ... you do realize that swim lessons don't start for another ... uh, three hours. Right?"
"Yep! We're just so excited!"
So I can see ...
In spite of our three hour pre-swim lesson prep-time, we were still just a mere five minutes early to the pool. I am quite certain that there is a time vortex located somewhere in the vicinity of the door leading out to the garage. Without fail, I am regularly proactive about leaving with 10 minutes to spare only to find myself backing out of the garage 15 minutes behind schedule! How does that happen?!?
Anyway, as we walked across the pool deck, shucking shoes off as we went along, retrieving said shoes when Mommy asked, "Where are your shoes?" and high-fiving cousins, I had a few mini-flashbacks to previous swim lessons ...
Mom and Tot classes with Aaron when he was just a year old. Lumbering out in my maternity swimsuit with my little tyke propped on my hip/belly. He was happy to be in the water, motor-boating around. I was happy to be in the water with front row seats to watching my little guy learning to blow bubbles. My hips were happy to be in the water for the sheer relief of 30 minutes of weightlessness.
Little shivering Norah in her first independent swim lesson. Sorta independent. I remember shaking my head as I watched my tiny land lubber sit on the side of the pool and attach herself to her teacher's hip. She was still dry from the waist up after every class. I don't remember paying extra for the sherpa-version swim lesson, but I probably should have tipped the teacher.
Tiny Ashley tippy-toeing her way across the pool. She was diligently making "ice cream scoops" with her hands. As she climbed up on the side of the pool, I could tell from across the way that she was freezing. Her little body was shaking violently, shivering from the top of her little pony-tail down to her itty-bitty pinky toe. I was tempted to rescue her early, wrapping her up in a warm, dry towel. I'm glad I didn't ... her radiant, "did you see me??" smile warmed her up as she walked along the deck at the end of class.
And now, here we are again. Another year, another teacher, another splash. The difference this year is that there are four Kellum kids suited up. Even little Lydia is sunscreened, suited and ready to swim!
As my purple-suited little mermaid tiptoed her way to the water, I admit to being a little worried.
Would she get in the pool on her own?
Would she listen to the teacher?
Would she follow the other kids in the activities?
Would she have fun?
Yes, yes, yes and YES!
Thanks to cousin Mallory, Lydia had someone to hold her hand as she walked down the steps to the pool. She stayed close to the teacher and participated in all the activities: laying on her back, kicking her legs, bobbing up and down and doing her "ice cream scoops". And the smile on her face as she sat on the side of the pool and kicked huge splashes with her pudgy little feet was proof that she was having a great time!
While I was happy to see my little fish so thrilled to be in her lesson, it was a little bittersweet. A little poignant, perhaps. We have been participating in swim lessons since each of our little people were babies. But there is something about the baby starting her lessons. Does that make sense?
She's the last one. The last one in her first swim lesson. The last one to wonder, "How will she do?" The last one to discover the wonder of blowing bubbles in the water. The last one to celebrate her first front float. The last one to explore the wonder of being underwater.
It's yet another season of change for my baby. Isn't there something in Ecclesiastes 3 about that ... a time for everything under the sun, a time to cautiously tickle your toes in the shallow end, a time to jump with great gusto into the deep? No ... maybe not. But that passage is chock full of other seasons of change and growth, so I'm sure it could fit in there! :)
To all the other kids, swim lessons yesterday were a bit "old hat". Aaron is a Barracuda and he swam the length of the pool three times and learned the basics of treading water. Norah is an Angelfish and she excitedly told me of her adventures of doing eight cannonballs and bobbing forty times. Ashley is a Jellyfish and smiled radiantly, again, as she informed me that they, "spent the WHOLE time in the super deep water!"
And Lydia, my little Guppie, is well on her way to being a fish like her siblings. I just hope she doesn't feel the need to jump off into the deep end too quickly. I need my little fishy to stay little just a bit longer. Preferably in the shallow pool. :)
Of course, with all the kids participating in the lessons, this meant I had 40 minutes to enjoy kid-free ... I could certainly get used to that! Just so long as they all decide to swim back to me when they're done. :)