“You’ll go way under, like when dad plunged you the other day. Then you’ll have to pop up and swim to the ladder quickly.” This usually deters him. Not yesterday.
He went off and it was one of those moments of triumph for both of us. His face went through quick stages of shock, joy and finally pride. I nearly wept.
The Girl decided she was not to be left behind. She got up there. Marched to the front. Took one look down. Turned around and marched right back down. Classic. I recognized that fear response.
I first told her she didn’t have to jump. Then I told her she was probably never going to have a first time where she wasn’t scared. Whenever she decided to try, she would just have to close her eyes and take the leap. Much to my surprise, she got right back up and went for it. Her reaction was the same except that after a few jumps she came walking toward me and burst into tears exclaiming, “I have no idea why I’m crying.” I recognized this burst of emotion that I am afraid I passed on to her. I am not a big cryer, but I have been known to inexplicably shed a tear or two when I get so overwhelmed I’m not sure how I can hold anything in anymore. Coming from an adult woman it’s pretty funny, from a little girl-adorable.
Tears or not, I was one proud mama on the pool deck. What a high it is to see your kids tackle a challenge. I instantly ran (ok walked, I know the pool rules!) and texted the proud papa the news. He is as invested, if not more, in their swimming as I am. He’s logged in more than a few hours teaching all three and unlike me he has refused to give up hope that he’ll be timing at a swim meet before long.
He was thrilled and also sad that he missed it. I felt terrible. I have to admit when The Middle One first asked the question my thought was to stave him off until the weekend so The Husband could be there. Alas, I could not and his dad missed this big moment. I am sure they both would have preferred it another way.
I give The Husband a hard time (mostly in my own head) about not being around much. I forget that even if sometimes I think he has it better, going to a “real” job in the city every day, he actually feels the loss when he misses things here. I need to acknowledge that more. I need to thank him for leaving every day to work so hard for us. Of course he gets personal benefits from his job, but he also works for us. He, like most men, inherently wants to provide-not just financially but as a role model of hard work and success. No matter how little they see him, my kids know their dad has them first in his mind all the time. They feel his love and the desire he has to make their lives better. My husband is my kids’ hero. I could learn a thing or two from them.
I need to be less, I am woman hear me roar and more thanks for your help and support honey. We need you.
Yesterday, after The Big Dive, my heart hurt for him. I told him so via text messages. The following exchange (every word of it) is why I adore him so.
Husband: These are the times when I really hate work. Please keep them up. My train is late but I should be home by 8:15.
Me: Of course I will
Husband: Thanks (then, in another text as if he had time to reflect and this is what he came up with)
Husband: Congrats to you too for nuturing this. You are amazing with them and a role model for me.
I mean c’mon who doesn’t dream of having their husband tell them that? It makes all the hours of frustration and Playdoh under my nails totally worth it. But wait-that’s not all.
Husband: Nurturing, not NUTuring. That’s probably something entirely different.:)
Me: Although possibly more accurate of what I do.
Husband: Moms Nuts
AAH yes, there he is. Back from the brink of kind and gentle and returning to his silly self. That is more like it.
We are some lucky divers to have that man as our Life Guard.
P.S. Looking for more parenting guidance and tips for self-care? Check out From Chaos to Calm a guided training to help you feel better in this tough season.