Letter #27

Lily Leaving the Splash Park

Dear Lily,

You are one spunky, full-of-life little girl! Someone said you have moxie the other day! They were right. So, basically, you’re a joy to be around – and you can also really try our patience too!

One of the things I love so much about you is your fearlessness and love for adventure. You can imagine my surprise, then, when you were terrified at your first swim lesson a couple of weeks ago. Granted it had been about 8 months since you went swimming last, but last year we could barely hold you back! You were extremely quick to try to crawl or walk into the water. The Pacific Ocean, the Northern Sea, Loch Lomond, several frigid rivers, and many different pools – you’ve been in all of them and loved them. But last Saturday as we stepped into the YMCA pool for swimming lessons I encountered something I never have from you: fear. Terror is more like it. You spent 30 minutes crying and saying, “OUT!”

I will confess that I was pretty embarrassed. I had just been bragging about you to the life guard, and asking about advanced lessons. That was, of course, prior to getting into the water. I was embarrassed, but I was not ashamed. I was surprised by your fear, and I realized that loving you through that experience was the best thing I could do.

I decided to not let you out early, but to work tirelessly at helping you to have fun. We played with toys, and even poured water on my head. Eventually you calmed down, just as we were getting out. As we got into the car, I told you how proud I was of you for staying I the water. I gave you a sucker, and told you we’d go again later in the week, prior to our next lesson. On Friday we went again, prior to our Saturday lesson. You were still scared, but you only cried once. Eventually you grew so comfortable that you even giggled. I was so proud of you that day, Lily, for facing your fears. I told you that you were swimming like a guppy (Bubble Guppies is your favorite TV show) and you began singing the theme song as we swam around “saving” the various toys in the pool!

Then, the next day we went back for your lesson and your loved it. You didn’t cry once! In fact, the life guard used you to show everyone how to hold your breath under water. We’ve still got a bit of work to do on that but what a turn around! You actually put your face under 10 times during that lesson (I think you finally started closing your mouth and eyes!). Since then you went swimming with your mom once, and you won’t stop talking about going swimming! What a brave little girl you are.

Lily I love you. You are such a gift. I’m sorry that I was embarrassed by your fear, but I’m so glad you shared it with me. Even more than that, I’m proud of you for overcoming your fears and for sharing that process with me. I do a pretty good job of hiding this, but I have fears too. This week you reminded me of the importance of facing those fears, and about inviting others into the vulnerability that requires.

So . . . thanks! I can’t wait till our next swim lesson!

Love,

Your Father

June 13, 2013

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