Yesterday, my son, who is almost three, leapt into the pool for the first time from the diving board and went head under water. He swam around with his personal flotation device with a huge smile of pride on his face. He kicked and put his face in the water repeatedly. He asked to be thrown in the water from ever greater heights. It was such a great day to watch him spread his water wings.
Today we went to the beach and it was a different story entirely. The waves were incredibly loud, there was seaweed on the sand, and the water was much, much colder. But, it was hard to watch all the same. He had to be picked up and carried to the water, but refused to put his feet in it (though he did ask for a surfboard – we tried to explain the incongruity, but not-yet-three-year-olds aren’t concerned with practicality). He screamed, “No! No! No!” when the waves crashed. In my head, I kept thinking that he should want to dive in (though I was grateful that he didn’t), that he should want to swim out as far as he could for as long as he could. I suppose I was taking the trip to the beach a little too metaphorically.
But, I do want him to have courage and inspiration, not just in his backyard, but in new situations, too. I want him to run towards life instead of run from it. Baby steps for now, though.